Complex characters and creepy concepts will leave readers chomping for the next volume.

THE DEVOURING GRAY

From the Devouring Gray series , Vol. 1

A parallel-dimension prison for a horrific evil is linked to a small town’s founding families in this riveting debut.

Still grieving her sister’s death, Violet’s life is further uprooted when her mother suddenly moves them back to Four Paths, her hometown. The town goes beyond quirky into odd territory, especially in the way the children of the founders’ families are exalted. Violet learns she’s from one such family, as fellow descendants Justin, Harper, and Justin’s hostile, volatile best friend, Isaac—with lots of bad blood between them—each try to woo her to their side. Justin believes Violet could be key to protecting the town from the Beast imprisoned in the Gray; Harper doesn’t want to see Violet betrayed by Justin like she was. Each of the four families has magical gifts to protect the townspeople from the Beast, now killing at greater frequency. Violet needs to find her family ritual in order to control her disturbing gift and stop the dangerously strange things happening to her; to do so, she must uncover a devastating family history and navigate all the founders’ secrets. The third-person narration hops between characters without a structural pattern, allowing for cinematic cuts between simultaneous action and expertly manipulated reveals. While light on romance, multiple bisexual characters have a variety of storyline outcomes; the primary characters default to white.

Complex characters and creepy concepts will leave readers chomping for the next volume. (Paranormal/horror. 12-adult)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-02496-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre.

SHATTER ME

A dystopic thriller joins the crowded shelves but doesn't distinguish itself.

Juliette was torn from her home and thrown into an asylum by The Reestablishment, a militaristic regime in control since an environmental catastrophe left society in ruins. Juliette’s journal holds her tortured thoughts in an attempt to repress memories of the horrific act that landed her in a cell. Mysteriously, Juliette’s touch kills. After months of isolation, her captors suddenly give her a cellmate—Adam, a drop-dead gorgeous guy. Adam, it turns out, is immune to her deadly touch. Unfortunately, he’s a soldier under orders from Warner, a power-hungry 19-year-old. But Adam belongs to a resistance movement; he helps Juliette escape to their stronghold, where she finds that she’s not the only one with superhuman abilities. The ending falls flat as the plot devolves into comic-book territory. Fast-paced action scenes convey imminent danger vividly, but there’s little sense of a broader world here. Overreliance on metaphor to express Juliette’s jaw-dropping surprise wears thin: “My mouth is sitting on my kneecaps. My eyebrows are dangling from the ceiling.” For all of her independence and superpowers, Juliette never moves beyond her role as a pawn in someone else’s schemes.

Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-208548-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

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THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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