Only the truly devoted will feel like joining the slog

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DECEPTION

From the Defiance series , Vol. 2

Just a scant 157 residents of Baalboden remain after the devastation wrought by the dragonlike Cursed One at the end of series opener Defiance (2012).

Reluctant 19-year-old leader Logan knows they will soon be beset: by the leader of city-state Rowansmark, whose prized piece of stolen, Cursed One–controlling tech Logan holds, or by the ousted Commander of Baalboden, bent on revenge—or both. Sure enough, the Commander comes knocking, and they all go fleeing in an unlikely exodus that takes them into the Wasteland. Logan’s kick-ass lover, Rachel, with the help of Tree People Willow and Quinn (ersatz Native Americans in this bizarre, post-apocalyptic very-near-future), conducts weapons training along the way. But who is leaving creepy notes and murdering refugees as they go? It must—gasp—be someone among them. Logan frets, and Rachel fights grief, guilt and PTSD; only in each other’s arms can they temporarily forget their current miseries. The plot trudges along with the refugees, narration shared between Rachel’s and Logan’s indistinguishable first-person, present-tense voices. The murder mystery fails to generate enough tension to distract readers from the slipshod worldbuilding (not a whit improved over the opener), but it does provide some opportunity for extra grieving and hand-wringing. Revelations discovered in their hoped-for haven of Lankenshire feel anticlimactic, chucked in to provoke enough angst to fuel the third book.

Only the truly devoted will feel like joining the slog . (Dystopian romance. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-211720-5

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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Second installments in trilogies sometimes slump—here’s hoping the third book is a return to the vibrancy of the...

CHILDREN OF VIRTUE AND VENGEANCE

From the Legacy of Orisha series , Vol. 2

In this follow-up to Children of Blood and Bone (2018), Zélie and company are back, and the future of Orïsha hangs in the balance.

Zélie, now a maji Reaper, has achieved her goal and brought magic back to Orïsha, but at great cost. Grief and loss are strong themes throughout the book, compounded by guilt for Zélie, who feels responsible for her father’s death. Zélie and her older brother, Tzain, try to help Princess Amari ascend the throne, believing her family dead—but Queen Nehanda, Amari’s mother, is very much alive and more formidable than they could imagine. The trio join the Iyika, a band of rebel maji working to protect their persecuted people from threats new and old. Though the characters’ trauma reads as real and understandable, their decisions don’t always feel sensible or logical, often stemming from a lack of communication or forethought, which may leave readers frustrated. Though still commendable for its detailed worldbuilding, with an ending compelling enough to keep fans interested in the next installment, much of the book feels like navigating minefields of characters’ ill-advised decisions. All characters are black except for a secondary character with silky black hair, tan skin, and gray eyes “like teardrops.”

Second installments in trilogies sometimes slump—here’s hoping the third book is a return to the vibrancy of the first. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-17099-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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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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