A solid conclusion to a story with many spinning parts.

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THE DECK OF OMENS

From the Devouring Gray series , Vol. 2

In this duology closer, heroes from The Devouring Gray (2019) must end the Gray and the Beast for good.

May seeks to restore her family’s sacred hawthorn tree, damaged when Harper lashed out at them, as she chafes against her complicated relationship with her mother. Meanwhile, Harper needs to learn to control her powers (and decide who to side with in the town’s conflicts). Violet and Isaac have teamed up on a research project to destroy the Beast once and for all—which is complicated by the return of Isaac’s last surviving brother (forcing him to face what happened the night of his ritual). And the Beast isn’t the only problem: A sinister corruption leaks from the Gray, infecting townspeople. The founders must unravel their ancestors’ secrets—the nature of the magic and the Beast—in order to fulfill their responsibilities. Reveals and surprises make up for an occasionally dragging pace. The romantic entanglements form an elaborate love quadrangle: Bisexual Violet has a crush on bisexual Isaac, who is in love with Justin, who loves Harper, who still has feelings for him despite their fraught-with-betrayal past (while, in their parents’ generation, Justin’s and Violet’s mothers—Augusta and Juniper, respectively—dated in high school). However, the relationships are given depth and nuance, especially when the characters work through familial, unreciprocated, or unequal feelings. Characters default to white.

A solid conclusion to a story with many spinning parts. (Paranormal/horror. 12-adult)

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-02527-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion/LBYR

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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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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HATCHET

A prototypical survival story: after an airplane crash, a 13-year-old city boy spends two months alone in the Canadian wilderness. In transit between his divorcing parents, Brian is the plane's only passenger. After casually showing him how to steer, the pilot has a heart attack and dies. In a breathtaking sequence, Brian maneuvers the plane for hours while he tries to think what to do, at last crashing as gently and levelly as he can manage into a lake. The plane sinks; all he has left is a hatchet, attached to his belt. His injuries prove painful but not fundamental. In time, he builds a shelter, experiments with berries, finds turtle eggs, starts a fire, makes a bow and arrow to catch fish and birds, and makes peace with the larger wildlife. He also battles despair and emerges more patient, prepared to learn from his mistakes—when a rogue moose attacks him and a fierce storm reminds him of his mortality, he's prepared to make repairs with philosophical persistence. His mixed feelings surprise him when the plane finally surfaces so that he can retrieve the survival pack; and then he's rescued. Plausible, taut, this is a spellbinding account. Paulsen's staccato, repetitive style conveys Brian's stress; his combination of third-person narrative with Brian's interior monologue pulls the reader into the story. Brian's angst over a terrible secret—he's seen his mother with another man—is undeveloped and doesn't contribute much, except as one item from his previous life that he sees in better perspective, as a result of his experience. High interest, not hard to read. A winner.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1987

ISBN: 1416925082

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: Oct. 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1987

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