Engrossing and addictive.

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THE DOOR IN THE MOON

From the Obsidian Mirror series , Vol. 3

Past, present and future collide; science fiction melds with fantasy and historical thriller in the third volume of this genre-blending quartet.

It’s Midsummer Eve, and as Wintercombe Abbey is under siege by the Shee and their heartless faery queen, Jake and Sarah are snatched by a gang of time-traveling thieves and thrust into the chaos of the Reign of Terror. Meanwhile Janus, the tyrant of a dystopian future, is reaching back through the magical, inscrutable obsidian mirror to secure his power. After the cluttered excess of the previous volume, The Slanted Worlds (2014), Fisher regains her sure hand on the narrative, juggling a dozen major players through three distinct yet entangled storylines, winding through a single night to converge in an exuberant payoff. The lush prose highlights precise, sensory details to portray worlds from the overripe fecundity of the Summerland to the fetid prisons of revolutionary Paris to the stark beauty of an illusory moonscape. None of the characters are “nice,” exactly; but with their wry humor and plucky audacity, their complex motivations and conflicting agendas, every one engages readers’ sympathies. They endure loyalty and loss, bravery and betrayal, triumph and terror; but the hard-won victory of the final pages is clearly only a brief respite before they must put aside differences and distrust to unite against their formidable enemies.

Engrossing and addictive. (Science fiction/fantasy. 12 & up)

Pub Date: March 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3971-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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Fan-service? Yes—and fans will rejoice in every dark, luscious moment.

HOW THE KING OF ELFHAME LEARNED TO HATE STORIES

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 3.5

Once upon a time....

In Faerie, a cruel prince met his match in Jude, a human raised in his world. An entire trilogy tells their tale from her perspective; now the prince gets center stage. This lavishly illustrated tome, more a series of vignettes than a complete novel, shows critical moments in Cardan’s life, including moments previously seen through Jude’s perspective. The entirety is framed within a moment that takes place after the end of The Queen of Nothing (2019), providing a glimpse into the maturing relationships between Jude and Cardan and between Cardan and his responsibilities as High King of Elfhame, a land whose multihued, multiformed denizens cannot lie. Woven throughout are three iterations of a story, initially told to a young Cardan, each version different in specifics and moral but all centered on a boy with a heart of stone and a monstrous, cursed bride. Readers familiar with Cardan and Jude’s tumultuous and sometimes troubling love will recognize notes within this repeated tale, but each telling also stands alone as a complete tale, one that feels both inevitable and fresh. Black continues to build an ever expanding mythos with her Faerie stories, and while this volume requires prior knowledge of The Folk of the Air trilogy, it offers new delights along with familiar moments retold.

Fan-service? Yes—and fans will rejoice in every dark, luscious moment. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-54088-9

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning.

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SCYTHE

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 1

Two teens train to be society-sanctioned killers in an otherwise immortal world.

On post-mortal Earth, humans live long (if not particularly passionate) lives without fear of disease, aging, or accidents. Operating independently of the governing AI (called the Thunderhead since it evolved from the cloud), scythes rely on 10 commandments, quotas, and their own moral codes to glean the population. After challenging Hon. Scythe Faraday, 16-year-olds Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova reluctantly become his apprentices. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty. The vivid and often violent action unfolds slowly, anchored in complex worldbuilding and propelled by political machinations and existential musings. Scythes’ journal entries accompany Rowan’s and Citra’s dual and dueling narratives, revealing both personal struggles and societal problems. The futuristic post–2042 MidMerican world is both dystopia and utopia, free of fear, unexpected death, and blatant racism—multiracial main characters discuss their diverse ethnic percentages rather than purity—but also lacking creativity, emotion, and purpose. Elegant and elegiac, brooding but imbued with gallows humor, Shusterman’s dark tale thrusts realistic, likable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions.

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7242-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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