Another successful blend of sarcasm, pathos and magick.

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DARKNESS FALLS

From the Immortal Beloved series , Vol. 2

This follow-up to Immortal Beloved (2010) amps up the romance as ex-bad-girl immortal Nastasya continues her rehabilitation.

Nastasya's breezy, slangy and just a little bit vulnerable narration quickly brings new and returning readers up to speed. After 400 years as a superficial and destructive party girl, Nastasya has found her way to River's Edge, where immortals like her heal from their past misdeeds and traumas and learn to do Tähti magic, a more wholesome and less destructive kind than the Terävä Nastasya practiced with her friends. More trusting and committed to healing than before, Nastasya is still haunted by the fear that she is irreparably full of darkness. She is also haunted by Reyn, a fellow resident at River's Edge, whom she once kissed before realizing the nature of their shared past. Though readers will easily see through both Nastasya's fears and her insistence that she finds Reyn merely annoying, her pained internal monologue still invites compassion. Innocencio, Nastasya's cruel, capricious and manipulative former best friend, reappears in this volume, and his behavior toward Nastasya quite openly and chillingly mirrors real-world domestic violence. The action builds to a high-stakes climax, but there are plenty of loose ends to resolve and plenty of room for Nastasya to keep growing and learning in another volume.

Another successful blend of sarcasm, pathos and magick. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-03593-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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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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Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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