An action-packed, wild ride with unexpected twists and turns and characters readers care about—call it a dystopia with heart

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VELOCITY

Centuries after the Omniwar left much of the planet uninhabitable, Maximum Racing, the pre-eminent extreme sport, delivers vicarious thrills on reality TV; winning a race with a homebuilt car earns two teens in a remote, hardscrabble town a chance to race against professionals and star in the world’s deadliest competition.

Cassica and Shiara move to Anchor City, where a space elevator rises to Olympus. There, Celestials (rich and famous celebrities) live in luxury, their lives broadcast and obsessively followed below. Racers in teams of two (a driver and tech) hurtle across terrain scarred by ancient, orbital weapons and occupied by mutated creatures and damaged humans. Deadly nanobot particles hide in dust. Designated Wreckers follow the racers, their role to hunt and take out competitors. Though underfunded and unsponsored, Cassica and Shiara (both depicted as light-skinned on the cover) make a strong team. Cassica, a charismatic, fiercely competitive risk-taker, drives. Thoughtful Shiara, with mechanical skills and engineering know-how, is tech. They set their sights on competing in the Widowmaker, a three-day race, fatal for many but whose winners become Celestials. Exposure to new Omniwar horrors and the discovery that all is not as it seems in the glitzy city test their friendship to the breaking point. Though Wooding does not stint on the action, empathetic characterization and an emotional throughline help Cassica and Shiara bring their world to life for readers.

An action-packed, wild ride with unexpected twists and turns and characters readers care about—call it a dystopia with heart . (Science fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-94494-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell...

SIX OF CROWS

Adolescent criminals seek the haul of a lifetime in a fantasyland at the beginning of its industrial age.

The dangerous city of Ketterdam is governed by the Merchant Council, but in reality, large sectors of the city are given over to gangs who run the gambling dens and brothels. The underworld's rising star is 17-year-old Kaz Brekker, known as Dirtyhands for his brutal amorality. Kaz walks with chronic pain from an old injury, but that doesn't stop him from utterly destroying any rivals. When a councilman offers him an unimaginable reward to rescue a kidnapped foreign chemist—30 million kruge!—Kaz knows just the team he needs to assemble. There's Inej, an itinerant acrobat captured by slavers and sold to a brothel, now a spy for Kaz; the Grisha Nina, with the magical ability to calm and heal; Matthias the zealot, hunter of Grishas and caught in a hopeless spiral of love and vengeance with Nina; Wylan, the privileged boy with an engineer's skills; and Jesper, a sharpshooter who keeps flirting with Wylan. Bardugo broadens the universe she created in the Grisha Trilogy, sending her protagonists around countries that resemble post-Renaissance northern Europe, where technology develops in concert with the magic that's both coveted and despised. It’s a highly successful venture, leaving enough open questions to cause readers to eagerly await Volume 2.

Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family . (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-212-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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Powerful, captivating, and raw—Adeyemi is a talent to watch. Exceptional

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CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE

From the Legacy of Orisha series , Vol. 1

Seventeen-year-old Zélie and companions journey to a mythic island seeking a chance to bring back magic to the land of Orïsha, in a fantasy world infused with the textures of West Africa.

Dark-skinned Zélie is a divîner—someone with latent magical abilities indicated by the distinctive white hair that sets them apart from their countrymen. She saves Princess Amari, who is on the run from her father, King Saran, after stealing the scroll that can transform divîners into magic-wielding maji, and the two flee along with Zélie’s brother. The scroll vanished 11 years ago during the king’s maji genocide, and Prince Inan, Amari’s brother, is sent in hot pursuit. When the trio learns that the impending solstice offers the only chance of restoring magic through a connection to Nana Baruku, the maternal creator deity, they race against time—and Inan—to obtain the final artifact needed for their ritual. Over the course of the book allegiances shift and characters grow, change, and confront traumas culminating in a cliffhanger ending that will leave readers anxiously awaiting the next installment. Well-drawn characters, an intense plot, and deft writing make this a strong story. That it is also a timely study on race, colorism, power, and injustice makes it great.

Powerful, captivating, and raw—Adeyemi is a talent to watch. Exceptional . (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17097-2

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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