A welcome return for loyal fans and a splendid jumping-on point for new ones. Both will be panting for the next installment.

FLAMECASTER

From the Shattered Realms series , Vol. 1

Chima revisits the Seven Realms for the next generation of warfare, intrigue, romance, and magic.

Adrian “Ash” sul’Han, young prince of the Fells, has lost too much to the monstrous king of Arden and runs away to train as a wizard healer, devoting his spare time to assassination. Jenna Bandelow, destitute Ardenine coal miner, has suffered even more, and she joins the guerrillas rebelling against the crown. Years later their winding paths collide at the Ardenine court, with one a slave and the other a prisoner. Between Ash’s deadly skills and magical power and Jenna’s saboteur training and mysterious magemark, together they might achieve the vengeance neither could accomplish alone. Readers hoping for a cheery reunion with beloved characters will be dismayed at the pain, violence, death, and horror on tap from the opening pages, but those expecting immersive worldbuilding, twisty plotting, and complex characterization will be hooked. Guilt-ridden Ash is oddly well-matched with fierce, passionate Jenna; the large cast of secondary characters who help or hinder their quests all command attention as well. The secret of Jenna’s magemark will surprise nobody, but it promises fascinating future ramifications; and even as one villain is foiled, a new, more sinister threat looms over the Realms.

A welcome return for loyal fans and a splendid jumping-on point for new ones. Both will be panting for the next installment. (Fantasy. 12 & up)

Pub Date: April 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-238094-4

Page Count: 544

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

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A dazzling debut.

BEASTS OF PREY

Opposites come together hoping to capture a menacing creature, only to find a greater purpose.

Ekon Okojo, studious and cautious, aspires to continue his family’s legacy as a Son of the Six, one of the city of Lkossa’s class of anointed warriors. Passionate and impulsive Koffi, who dreams of being free, is an indentured beastkeeper of the Night Zoo—a collection of exotic species owned by the greedy Baaz Mtombé. In the span of a single night, their paths cross and their destinies are forever altered: Ekon is cast out of the warrior class, and Koffi faces a lifetime of servitude. The pair form a tenuous partnership and venture into the Greater Jungle to hunt the Shetani, a powerful, vicious monster, hoping this will solve both their problems. As they are both headstrong and mistrustful, they get off to a rough start, but they become closer with each brush with death. Their quest for vengeance on the Shetani, which is wreaking havoc on Lkossa, turns into something more when they make an unanticipated discovery. Saving their village—and humanity—comes down to Ekon’s warrior instinct and Koffi’s ability to control the magic her people call the splendor. This pan-African story, rife with betrayal and narrated through poetic language that evokes vivid imagery, will ensnare readers, keeping them engaged with its energetic pace. The beautiful blend of mythology, romance, and action ends with a hint at more to come. All characters are Black.

A dazzling debut. (maps, author’s note) (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-40568-0

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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Vivid, chilling, and important.

NONE SHALL SLEEP

Two 18-year-olds with traumatic pasts become entangled in a high-stakes manhunt for a serial killer targeting teenagers.

Emma Lewis isn’t your average psychology undergrad (and not just because she has a buzz cut). Two and a half years ago, she escaped a serial killer’s clutches and then helped the authorities apprehend him. Now a student at Ohio State, she’s been recruited for her unique qualifications by an agent in the FBI’s Behavioral Science department to spend the summer interviewing juvenile offenders. Alongside trainee Travis Bell, whose late father was killed while apprehending one of their subjects, Emma reluctantly ventures into the minds of teenage killers—and must confront her own past when one of the subjects offers unexpected insight into the motives of a new killer known as the Butcher. Set in the early 1980s, narrated in present tense, and told through Emma’s perspective as well as others’ (including the Butcher’s), the tightly plotted story moves inexorably forward with shocking twists alongside clear, applicable descriptions of the cognitive behavioral strategies Emma uses to navigate her PTSD. The narrative is critical of law enforcement work, emphasizing its psychological toll, and the '80s cultural references are handled with a light touch. Emma is white while Travis is cued as biracial (Mexican American and white); although most secondary characters appear white, two key figures are people of color.

Vivid, chilling, and important. (author's note) (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-49783-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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