Next book

WISDOM'S KISS

A THRILLING AND ROMANTIC ADVENTURE INCORPORATING MAGIC, VILLAINY, AND A CAT

If not quite the sumptuous banquet anticipated, the novel still makes a satisfying, tasty treat.

From the author of the Dairy Queen series comes this ebullient fairy tale, set in a vaguely Teutonic empire of small baronies, duchies and kingdoms.

Charting the adventures of humble orphans Trudy, a kitchen maid, and Tips, a miller’s son and object of Trudy’s affections, the story’s scope soon broadens to include Princess Wisdom and her grandmother, Benevolence, from the female-led ruling family of Montagne, a small kingdom coveted by larger, wealthier Farina (Princess Ben, 2008). All are nominally subjects of Emperor Rüdiger IV, whose passion is his grand circus. “Told through seven voices” in diaries, letters, encyclopedia entries, self-published family history and a play, the complicated plot unfolds briskly with panache and humor, braiding imperial ambition and marriages of convenience with true love and longing. Trudy yearns for Tips; Tips yearns for Wisdom; Wisdom yearns for the circus; the Duchess of Farina yearns to absorb Montagne. All work out their destinies with gusto and determination (aided or thwarted by witchcraft courtesy of Montagne’s royal family). Only the ending, referencing the story’s fairy-tale provenance, fails to thoroughly satisfy.

If not quite the sumptuous banquet anticipated, the novel still makes a satisfying, tasty treat. (glossary of terms) (Fantasy. 10 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-0547566870

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

Next book

POWERLESS

From the Powerless Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes.

The Plague has left a population divided between Elites and Ordinaries—those who have powers and those who don’t; now, an Ordinary teen fights for her life.

Paedyn Gray witnessed the king kill her father five years ago, and she’s been thieving and sleeping rough ever since, all while faking Psychic abilities. When she inadvertently saves the life of Prince Kai, she becomes embroiled in the Purging Trials, a competition to commemorate the sickness that killed most of the kingdom’s Ordinaries. Kai’s duties as the future Enforcer include eradicating any remaining Ordinaries, and these Trials are his chance to prove that he’s internalized his brutal training. But Kai can’t help but find Pae’s blue eyes, silver hair, and unabashed attitude enchanting. She likewise struggles to resist his stormy gray eyes, dark hair, and rakish behavior, even as they’re pitted against each other in the Trials and by the king himself. Scenes and concepts that are strongly reminiscent of the Hunger Games fall flat: They aren’t bolstered by the original’s heart or worldbuilding logic that would have justified a few extreme story elements. Illogical leaps and inconsistent characterizations abound, with lighthearted romantic interludes juxtaposed against genocide, child abuse, and sadism. These elements, which are not sufficiently addressed, combined with the use of ableist language, cannot be erased by any amount of romantic banter. Main characters are cued white; the supporting cast has some brown-skinned characters.

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9798987380406

Page Count: 538

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023

Next book

THE DARKNESS WITHIN US

Banter and sexual tension abound in this enjoyable enemies-to-lovers fantasy.

The underestimated sister of a soon-to-be queen has her own tale to tell in this companion novel to Levenseller’s The Shadows Between Us (2020).

Nineteen-year-old Chrysantha and her younger sister, Alessandra, who’s the fiancee of the Shadow King, don’t have the best relationship. Chrysantha has always been jealous of how easily Alessandra achieves success, while Alessandra thinks Chrysantha is a fool. For her part, Chrysantha uses this reputation as a facade and a means to an end while she patiently awaits the demise of her lewd—and wealthy—husband, the Duke of Pholios. With Chrysantha’s assistance, the 64-year-old duke dies, allowing his widow to drop the charade and focus on being independent and spending money according to her own whims and desires. That is, until distractingly handsome 18-year-old Eryx Demos arrives, claiming to be her late husband’s heir who’s ready to take control of the estate. Combining her objectives of outshining Alessandra at her royal wedding with enjoying some captivating arm candy and gaining Eryx’s trust in order to stab him in the back, Chrysantha takes up the job of molding Eryx into a proper duke. Chrysantha’s and Eryx’s wickedly charming personalities clash in the most pleasing and seductive ways, so that even though the plot feels repetitive at times, there’s still much to delight in. Chrysantha’s skin is “dark beige”; Eryx is “tanned” and has “tawny-brown hair.”

Banter and sexual tension abound in this enjoyable enemies-to-lovers fantasy. (Fantasy romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: July 9, 2024

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2024

Close Quickview