Troubling and moving in equal measure.

THORNLIGHT

Children must save a kingdom in a stand-alone companion to Foxheart (2016).

In the Vale, a massive Break ripped the mountains from the now-lost lowlands. Now the wicked Gulgot climbs ever closer to the top of the chasm, pushing darkness and evil before it. Twelve-year-old, pale-skinned Brier is Westlin’s darling, riding her unicorn and capturing the lightning needed for the war; Thorn, her street-sweeping identical twin, cries easily and considers herself the shadow of her sister. But when lightning injures Brier, Thorn finds herself impersonating Brier on a perilous journey to find more ammunition to use against the Gulgot. While Thorn is the titular protagonist, the perspective shifts among both sisters as well as the 16-year-old Queen, Celestyna, and Cub, a mysterious creature orphaned by the Break. Thorn’s story comprises mostly rousing, if perilous adventure, a nascent lesbian crush, and some sad losses, but Celestyna’s arc concerns the royal curse that fights the Gulgot and contains violence at odds with the otherwise family-friendly story. Thorn may not recognize her own strength, but the many depictions of family, especially sisters, make it clear to readers that the gentle heart is the stronger one. Luscious writing and magical moments notwithstanding, the complex moral questions make this suited to an older audience than the package would suggest. Illustrations not seen.

Troubling and moving in equal measure. (map) (Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-269666-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre.

SHATTER ME

A dystopic thriller joins the crowded shelves but doesn't distinguish itself.

Juliette was torn from her home and thrown into an asylum by The Reestablishment, a militaristic regime in control since an environmental catastrophe left society in ruins. Juliette’s journal holds her tortured thoughts in an attempt to repress memories of the horrific act that landed her in a cell. Mysteriously, Juliette’s touch kills. After months of isolation, her captors suddenly give her a cellmate—Adam, a drop-dead gorgeous guy. Adam, it turns out, is immune to her deadly touch. Unfortunately, he’s a soldier under orders from Warner, a power-hungry 19-year-old. But Adam belongs to a resistance movement; he helps Juliette escape to their stronghold, where she finds that she’s not the only one with superhuman abilities. The ending falls flat as the plot devolves into comic-book territory. Fast-paced action scenes convey imminent danger vividly, but there’s little sense of a broader world here. Overreliance on metaphor to express Juliette’s jaw-dropping surprise wears thin: “My mouth is sitting on my kneecaps. My eyebrows are dangling from the ceiling.” For all of her independence and superpowers, Juliette never moves beyond her role as a pawn in someone else’s schemes.

Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-208548-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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

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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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