A series opener that will find readers wherever the video game is popular.

HALO

BATTLE BORN

From the HALO series , Vol. 1

When their coastal town is attacked by an alien enemy organization known as the Covenant, four teens learn what they are capable of and what they are willing to do for the people they love.

High school students Evelyn Rousseau, Victor Gallardo, Saskia Nazari, and Dorian Nguyen didn’t make it to the town’s shelters before the doors closed. Luckily, Saskia’s house is a veritable fortress filled with prototype weapons from her parents’ jobs as defense system manufacturers. The teens, who were not close prior to this disaster, have to learn to work together as a team. During surveillance they cross paths with a Spartan, a supersoldier who fights with the United Nations Space Command, named Owen-B096. They are trained by Owen and learn that the aliens are digging up an artifact in their town. The team sabotages the drilling and forms a plan to safely get themselves and the survivors of their village of Brume-sur-Mer off their planet, Meridian. But will everything go according to plan? Clarke (Star’s End, 2017, etc.) brings the popular video game “Halo” to life with likable characters and a suspenseful, fast-paced plot. While the characters are somewhat two-dimensional, the nonstop action will draw in readers. Knowledge of the game makes the plot and terminology easier to follow. Diversity is implied through names.

A series opener that will find readers wherever the video game is popular. (Science fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-25364-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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A lushly written story with an intriguing heart.

ONCE UPON A BROKEN HEART

From the Once Upon a Broken Heart series , Vol. 1

After praying to a Fate for help, Evangeline discovers the dangerous world of magic.

When her father passes away, Evangeline is left with her cold stepmother and kind but distant stepsister, Marisol. Despite inheriting a steady trust in magic, belief in her late mother’s homeland of the mystical North (where fantastical creatures live), and philosophy of hope for the future, her dreams are dashed when Luc, her love, pledges to marry Marisol instead. Evangeline desperately prays to the Prince of Hearts, a dangerous and fickle Fate famed for his heart that is waiting to be revived by his one true love—and his potentially lethal kisses. The bargain they strike sends her on a dark and magical journey throughout the land. The writing style fluctuates from clever and original to overly verbose and often confusing in its jumble of senses. While the pervasive magic and concept of the Fates as a religious system add interest, other fantasy elements are haphazardly incorporated without enough time devoted to building a cohesive world. However, the themes of love, the power of story, family influence, and holding onto belief are well rounded and add depth. The plot contains welcome surprises, and the large cast piques curiosity; readers will wish more time was spent getting to know them. Evangeline has rose-gold hair and, like other main characters, reads as White; there is diversity among the fantasy races in this world.

A lushly written story with an intriguing heart. (map) (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26839-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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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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