Satisfying fare for fantasy fans.

THE WISH GRANTER

From the Ravenspire series , Vol. 2

In a companion book to The Shadow Queen (2016), Ari becomes a reluctant princess when her brother makes a disastrous deal with the notorious Wish Granter.

The ruthless fae Wish Granter, who goes by Teague in his human guise, doesn’t make deals that he does not win. He always takes someone’s soul, which he uses as an ingredient for the addictive apodrasi. Brown-scanned Ari, illegitimate daughter of the king and a former pastry cook, realizes that her twin brother, Thad, made a deal to become king and determines to defeat Teague somehow. Teague has included in Thad’s contract the right to operate his criminal enterprises without interference from the crown, and he terrorizes the capital city daily. Ari meets Sebastian when he signs on as the castle's new weapons master, and the two join forces against Teague and (of course) fall in love. Can Ari’s shrewd intelligence and Sebastian’s superior fighting skills prevail over the monstrous criminal? Ari is a bit of a navel-gazer, but the story proceeds briskly enough. As the romance develops, Redwine brings attention to class rather than race, with the racially indeterminate Sebastian ever conscious of the social gulf between them while Ari accepts him as an equal. In a highly welcome development, Ari is a plus-sized princess who loves not only to cook, but to eat.

Satisfying fare for fantasy fans. (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-236027-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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A lushly written story with an intriguing heart.

ONCE UPON A BROKEN HEART

From the Once Upon a Broken Heart series , Vol. 1

After praying to a Fate for help, Evangeline discovers the dangerous world of magic.

When her father passes away, Evangeline is left with her cold stepmother and kind but distant stepsister, Marisol. Despite inheriting a steady trust in magic, belief in her late mother’s homeland of the mystical North (where fantastical creatures live), and philosophy of hope for the future, her dreams are dashed when Luc, her love, pledges to marry Marisol instead. Evangeline desperately prays to the Prince of Hearts, a dangerous and fickle Fate famed for his heart that is waiting to be revived by his one true love—and his potentially lethal kisses. The bargain they strike sends her on a dark and magical journey throughout the land. The writing style fluctuates from clever and original to overly verbose and often confusing in its jumble of senses. While the pervasive magic and concept of the Fates as a religious system add interest, other fantasy elements are haphazardly incorporated without enough time devoted to building a cohesive world. However, the themes of love, the power of story, family influence, and holding onto belief are well rounded and add depth. The plot contains welcome surprises, and the large cast piques curiosity; readers will wish more time was spent getting to know them. Evangeline has rose-gold hair and, like other main characters, reads as White; there is diversity among the fantasy races in this world.

A lushly written story with an intriguing heart. (map) (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26839-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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