Winters has woven an intricate and innovative pattern of structure, genre, and history that cannot fail to capture readers’...

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ODD & TRUE

A tale of two sisters unfolds in Winters’ (The Steep and Thorny Way, 2016, etc.) latest historical offering of monsters, magic, and family.

Storytelling and the blur between truth and fiction are at the heart of this metafictive narrative as sisters Trudchen “Tru” and Odette “Od” Grey each tell parts of their personal and family histories. In 1909, 15-year-old Tru, rendered pragmatic by life on an Oregon farm with a polio-related and painful disability, no longer believes her sister’s many fantastical tales of their mother’s adventures as a monster hunter. She is adamant that their family (and herself especially) is nothing but ordinary, but no sooner has Tru set aside fanciful hearth magic and fears of the supernatural than Od suddenly appears to whisk her away across the country to hunt down monsters. Od’s part of the story, on the other hand, begins 15 years earlier as she recounts a fraught family legacy of loss, pain, and perseverance and of the “real-life monsters” that stalk the stories of her mother’s and her own lives. As the sisters cautiously confront the legendary Leeds Devil, a demonic beast attacking New Jersey and nearby states in 1909, storytelling becomes both a weapon and a lens through which they come to see and better understand their family and themselves.

Winters has woven an intricate and innovative pattern of structure, genre, and history that cannot fail to capture readers’ imaginations. (Historical fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2310-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A slow, hazy beginning eventually sharpens before charging into an electric, enchanting end.

A SONG BELOW WATER

Two young women literally and figuratively embody #BlackGirlMagic.

Sixteen and with deep brown skin, Tavia is a siren who uses American Sign Language to push against the mesmerizing call that burns like a fire in her throat and could mean being silenced forever if it is released. Plagued with mysterious body ailments and no knowledge of her biological heritage to inform a diagnosis, light-brown–skinned 16-year-old Effie, Tavia’s sister-by-choice, is haunted by survivor’s guilt after a traumatic childhood incident. Portland, Oregon, provides a memorable setting for Morrow’s solid and intentional unpacking of myths around black people and their aversion to water activities through their stories. Chapters alternating first-person narration between the two protagonists set up Tavia to often be the voice of social justice inquiry, especially regarding prejudice against sirens, who are always black women. Effie’s storyline focuses on a different type of identity exploration as she untangles her complicated family history. Lengthy exposition with confusing plot turns and a reveal of ethnically diverse magical beings and their powers slows the first part of the book. The action picks up toward the middle, rising to create an exciting new contemporary fantasy. In this parallel world, black female empowerment is standing up for yourself and others while simultaneously navigating love, physical and emotional violence, and the responsibility of immense supernatural power.

A slow, hazy beginning eventually sharpens before charging into an electric, enchanting end. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-31532-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Tor Teen

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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