Only for those who can't get enough of this nearly played-out genre.

DEFIANCE

From the Defiance series , Vol. 1

Another pair of lovers in a post-apocalyptic dystopia fight the Man.

When Rachel's father, Jared, the best tracker in Baalboden, doesn't return from a mission, he is declared dead, and his teenage apprentice, Logan, is unexpectedly named her Protector. This is a problem, because she hates his guts. But they both loved Jared, and they are both determined to defy the megalomaniacal Commander that rules their city-state to find him. Readers will be frustrated at the textbook way Rachel and Logan fail to communicate with each other, as each plots separately to escape into the Wasteland and find Jared. Predictably, they are found out, and just as predictably, they discover passionate love for each other. Redwine's worldbuilding is particularly weak. Vague reference is made to an energy shortage that led to drilling that woke up the Cursed One, a reptilian monster that lives underground, but there is no attempt to flesh out the catastrophe that destroyed civilization as we know it. How women came to be relegated to positions of extreme subservience is also left completely unexplained. That all of this seems to have happened within the lifetime of the Commander who founded Baalboden beggars credulity. Internal logic takes a backseat to overwrought, present-tense narration, which alternates between Logan's and Rachel's nearly identical voices.

Only for those who can't get enough of this nearly played-out genre. (Dystopian romance. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-211718-2

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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

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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Scheming and action carry readers at a breathless pace to an end that may surprise them and will definitely leave them...

SIEGE AND STORM

From the Grisha Trilogy series , Vol. 2

The Grisha Trilogy turns from bildungsroman to political thriller in its second installment.

Sun Summoner Alina and former Ravkan army tracker Mal, once her childhood friend and now her would-be love, are on the run. All they want is to put Ravka and the megalomaniacal Darkling far behind them. Alas, this is not to be. Captured by the Darkling and forced onto a ship captained by the notorious pirate Sturmhond, they find themselves in pursuit of the second of three magical amplifiers that will make Alina powerful beyond belief—and bind her ever-closer to the ancient, evil Darkling. Sturmhond has an unexpected agenda of his own, though, and turns on the Darkling. Darkling temporarily thwarted, Alina and Mal find themselves back in Ravka’s capital as part of the ailing king’s younger son’s attempt to find his way to the throne. Bardugo’s sophomore effort smooths out many of the rookie wrinkles that marred Shadow and Bone (2012); Alina’s wry voice does not interfere with worldbuilding, instead keeping readers immersed in the plot. Characters are rich and complex, particularly the Peter the Great–like younger prince and Alina herself, beset by competing claims and desires. Is she Mal’s lover? Prince Nikolai’s pawn? Commander of the Grisha Second Army? Saint?

Scheming and action carry readers at a breathless pace to an end that may surprise them and will definitely leave them panting for the series’ conclusion . (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: June 11, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9460-2

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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