This fantasy series installment maintains excitement through charming protagonists and ever evolving challenges.

FIFTH CHRONICLES OF ILLUMINATION

FRENEMIES

This YA fantasy sequel finds sweetheart protagonists solving an ancient puzzle, unaware that a friend intends to betray their magical library.

Recent high school graduates Johanna Charette and Jackson Roth are co-curators of the Library of Illumination. Theirs is one of a dozen libraries in the Illumini System that have magical properties, such as the contents of an open book literally springing to life. In their last epic adventure, the pair helped defeat interdimensional tyrant Nero 51. Now, Jackson is taking courses at Cranford University while Johanna teaches other members of the Roth clan how to run the library. Moving library fixtures one day, the curators find a wooden puzzle. With the help of Ryden Simmdry, Johanna’s father and overseer of the Libraries of Illumination, they open the puzzle and obtain a key. According to the oracle at the Library of Origination, the key unlocks the Re Transfigurator, “a device that transforms reality into something it is not.” Ryden then teaches Johanna a chant to focus her mind while telepathically scanning each dimension’s library for the device. And yet, perhaps these ancient artifacts have remained on separate worlds for a reason. Meanwhile, Jackson’s duplicitous friend Logan Elliott prepares to expose the Library of Illumination and jump-start his reporting career. Pack keeps her series fresh by following her grand prior installment with a back-to-basics adventure. Fans will be glad to reunite with characters like Pru Tellerence (Johanna’s mom) and revisit fanciful worlds such as Comedia and Mysteriose. The chemistry between Johanna and Jackson is playful but respectful. When she says, “Hold me as tightly as you can. I need full surface contact,” he replies, “Why can’t you ask me for that at home when we’re alone?” But Logan is grossly manipulative, particularly of Jackson’s sister, Ava. He parlays her crush on him into access to the library, and from there he abandons all journalistic integrity for his internet program, The Elliott Report. The curators have plenty of experience battling exotic baddies—including Ailill Caomhánach, the first Master of the Libraries—but their next fight may be against public opinion.

This fantasy series installment maintains excitement through charming protagonists and ever evolving challenges.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Manuscript

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2020

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Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell...

SIX OF CROWS

Adolescent criminals seek the haul of a lifetime in a fantasyland at the beginning of its industrial age.

The dangerous city of Ketterdam is governed by the Merchant Council, but in reality, large sectors of the city are given over to gangs who run the gambling dens and brothels. The underworld's rising star is 17-year-old Kaz Brekker, known as Dirtyhands for his brutal amorality. Kaz walks with chronic pain from an old injury, but that doesn't stop him from utterly destroying any rivals. When a councilman offers him an unimaginable reward to rescue a kidnapped foreign chemist—30 million kruge!—Kaz knows just the team he needs to assemble. There's Inej, an itinerant acrobat captured by slavers and sold to a brothel, now a spy for Kaz; the Grisha Nina, with the magical ability to calm and heal; Matthias the zealot, hunter of Grishas and caught in a hopeless spiral of love and vengeance with Nina; Wylan, the privileged boy with an engineer's skills; and Jesper, a sharpshooter who keeps flirting with Wylan. Bardugo broadens the universe she created in the Grisha Trilogy, sending her protagonists around countries that resemble post-Renaissance northern Europe, where technology develops in concert with the magic that's both coveted and despised. It’s a highly successful venture, leaving enough open questions to cause readers to eagerly await Volume 2.

Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family . (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-212-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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