This trilogy opener offers solid entertainment for readers willing to go with the fictional flow.

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A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU

From the Firebird series , Vol. 1

A girl and her two possible heartthrobs travel across parallel universes to avenge her father’s murder.

Marguerite’s parents are both brilliant scientists, inventors of a device called the Firebird that allows the bearer to travel across the multiverse. When her dad dies in a car crash after his brake lines have been cut, everyone blames Paul, one of two research assistants working for the couple. But Paul has escaped by using the Firebird to travel to another universe. Theo, the other assistant, teams up with Marguerite in a prototype to chase Paul. They discover that although some things are different from universe to universe—technology in particular—the people are the same. Inhabiting the bodies of their parallel selves, they find Paul, but things go awry and they wind up traveling to yet another world: a nicely drawn parallel czarist Russia where Marguerite is the czarevna and secretly in love with that world’s Paul. But she’s also attracted to Theo. And, in the parallel worlds, who is really who? Gray doesn’t worry much about actual science in her science fiction, muddling the concept of multiple universes with that of multiple dimensions, but she keeps the plot moving and has some good fun keeping all of the parallel people sorted.

This trilogy opener offers solid entertainment for readers willing to go with the fictional flow. (Science fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-227896-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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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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An accomplished, exciting debut.

ALL THE STARS AND TEETH

A princess embarks on a dangerous path to the throne.

In the island kingdom of Visidia, where each person is allowed just one type of magic, only the members of the royal Montara family have the ability to wield the dangerous soul magic. Princess Amora is next in line to be High Animancer, but she must first prove to her people that she is powerful enough to use her magic to protect them. But something goes terribly wrong during a critical public ceremony, and Amora runs away with dashing pirate Bastian, whose rescue comes with a price: She must help him recover his own magic, stolen away by a dangerous man leading a growing rebellion that could bring down the whole kingdom. Debut author Grace wields her own magic with a skillful balancing act between high-stakes adventure (here there be monsters, mermaids, and high-seas shenanigans), bloody fantasy, and character development in a story with a lovable found family at its core. Amora yearns for adventure just as she welcomes her right to command her kingdom; her ferocious sense of duty and legitimate need to do good shine through. The novel’s further unravelling of dark secrets long kept comes with a recognized need for accountability and making amends which adds a thoughtful extra layer to the rich worldbuilding. Amora has copper-brown skin and dark, curly hair; other characters have a range of skin tones in this diverse world.

An accomplished, exciting debut. (guide to the kingdom) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-30778-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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