From the Inheritance Cycle series , Vol. 1

Attractively executed; will please newcomers, but ardent fans may be less satisfied with some of the artistic choices.

A newly illustrated addition marking the 20th anniversary of the wildly popular fantasy series opener.

When unassuming farm boy Eragon finds a strange blue stone while out hunting, the last thing he expects is for a dragon to hatch from it. Eragon is now one of the fabled dragon Riders, whose ancient order was destroyed from within by King Galbatorix. Eragon is content to live his days quietly with Saphira, his dragon, but Galbatorix will not suffer the existence of a Rider who’s beyond his control. When tragedy strikes at the hands of Galbatorix’s agents, Eragon embarks on a journey of revenge and self-discovery across Alagaësia. This new edition features stunning artwork that excels at capturing the personalities and bringing to life the textual descriptions of the human characters. Eragon looks every inch the youthful and naïve hero, Brom has a truly magnificent beard, and Arya is beautiful and defiant. But the art fails to convey the true size and majesty of Saphira as well as original cover artist John Jude Palencar’s work did; at times it makes her appear diminutive, in contrast to descriptions in the text. Long-time fans will also likely be disappointed by the limited number of illustrations featuring beloved character Murtagh. The full-color map of Alagaësia, however, is superlative.

Attractively executed; will please newcomers, but ardent fans may be less satisfied with some of the artistic choices. (map, pronunciation guide, glossary) (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780593704462

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023


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


From the Blood and Tea series , Vol. 1

Crowd-pleasing fun laced with political fire: a winner.

Bestselling author Faizal returns to the universe of We Hunt the Flame (2019) with a stand-alone duology opener.

Orphaned Arthie, brown-skinned with mauve hair, has created a criminal empire out of sheer pluck despite being Ceylani in Ettenia, where laws favor white people. She pulled legendary pistol Calibore from a stone plinth (though the prophecy that doing so would make her the nation’s leader turned out to be a hoax). She’s also built Spindrift, a teahouse-cum-bloodhouse, where she gathers secrets from wealthy humans and vampires, amassing power and security. Now Arthie has her sights set on vengeance—and the Ram, Ettenia’s masked monarch. When she and Jin, her brother-by-choice (who’s cued East Asian), are drawn into a heist, they assemble a diverse crew of immigrants whose roles riff on genre archetypes. The lush prose pulses with feeling as revelations are dropped and the tension ratchets up, keeping the pages turning as the motley gang plans to infiltrate a vampire society, retrieve a stolen ledger, and double-cross one of the Ram’s guards (who might be planning to double-cross them). Their ultimate goal: taking down the colonizing Ettenians and the exploitative East Jeevant Company. It’s all very exciting right up to the action-packed finale, which promises more conspiracy and (hopefully) justice to come. This compelling read offers interesting commentary on our society while feeling entirely real within the context of its own worldbuilding.

Crowd-pleasing fun laced with political fire: a winner. (map) (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 20, 2024

ISBN: 9780374389406

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2023

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