An original and creative YA tale with a likable lead.

CROWN OF CROWNS

A coming-of-age novel with elements of romance, SF, and fantasy, set in a royal court.

In the fantastical world of Geniverd, a king and queen are chosen every 40 years by the “Crown of Crowns,” a bird that comes down from the heavens to select the rulers most worthy of the titles by landing on their heads. Teenage Kaelyn never really concerned herself with the possibility of becoming royalty; her mother and father are the leaders of their clan, the Gaard, but it’s been many years since a ruler was chosen from their family line. She mostly occupies her time with Roki, a teenage boy from her city who shows her what happens outside of her family estate. But after her mother’s death and Roki’s disappearance, Kaelyn feels like she has to grow up fast. She runs a charitable foundation in honor of her mother, spending her time doing good works in Geniverd. Shortly after turning 18, Kaelyn becomes engaged to a prince, and two godly beings tell her in a dream that she’ll be crowned the next queen of Geniverd. If that wasn’t stressful enough, Roki returns to her as a powerful spirit. Over the course of this novel, Loveman spins a futuristic fantasy tale that approaches some classic princess-story tropes in unexpected ways. The book begins with some awkwardly quick pacing, apparently in an effort to cover as much of Kaelyn’s backstory as possible before her 18th birthday. After that, however, the pace evens out and the story effectively finds its flow. Kaelyn is a main character whom readers will easily be able to root for; she has an admirably strong sense of her own beliefs and an appealing need to do what’s right for the people around her.

An original and creative YA tale with a likable lead.

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-83806-234-7

Page Count: 270

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2020

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How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

CROOKED KINGDOM

From the Six of Crows series , Vol. 2

This hefty sequel to Six of Crows (2015) brings high-tension conclusions to the many intertwined intrigues of Ketterdam.

It's time for revenge—has been ever since old-before-his-time crook Kaz and his friends were double-crossed by the merchant princes of Ketterdam, an early-industrial Amsterdam-like fantasy city filled to the brim with crime and corruption. Disabled, infuriated, and perpetually scheming Kaz, the light-skinned teen mastermind, coordinates the efforts to rescue Inej. Though Kaz is loath to admit weakness, Inej is his, for he can't bear any harm come to the knife-wielding, brown-skinned Suli acrobat. Their team is rounded out by Wylan, a light-skinned chemist and musician whose merchant father tried to have him murdered and who can't read due to a print disability; Wylan's brown-skinned biracial boyfriend, Jesper, a flirtatious gambler with ADHD; Nina, the pale brunette Grisha witch and recovering addict from Russia-like Ravka; Matthias, Nina's national enemy and great love, a big, white, blond drüskelle warrior from the cold northern lands; and Kuwei, the rescued Shu boy everyone wants to kidnap. Can these kids rescue everyone who needs rescuing in Ketterdam's vile political swamp? This is dark and violent—one notable scene features a parade of teens armed with revolvers, rifles, pistols, explosives, and flash bombs—but gut-wrenchingly genuine. Astonishingly, Bardugo keeps all these balls in the air over the 500-plus pages of narrative.

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-213-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends.

RED QUEEN

From the Red Queen series , Vol. 1

Amid a war and rising civil unrest, a young thief discovers the shocking power within her that sparks a revolution.

At 17, Mare knows that without an apprenticeship or job, her next birthday will bring a conscription to join the war. She contributes to her poor family’s income the only way she can, stealing from the Silvers, who possess myriad powers and force her and her fellow Reds into servitude. The Silvers literally bleed silver, and they can manipulate metal, plants and animals, among many other talents. When Mare’s best friend, Kilorn, loses his job and is doomed to conscription, she is determined to change his fate. She stumbles into a mysterious stranger after her plan goes awry and is pulled out of her village and into the world of Silver royalty. Once inside the palace walls, it isn’t long before Mare learns that powers unknown to red-blooded humans lie within her, powers that could lead a revolution. Familiar tropes abound. Mare is revealed as a great catalyst for change among classes and is groomed from rags to riches, and of course, seemingly kind characters turn out to be foes. However, Aveyard weaves a compelling new world, and Mare and the two men in her life evolve intriguingly as class tension rises. Revolution supersedes romance, setting the stage for action-packed surprises.

An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-231063-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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