Dark, even horrific in its graphic bloodshed and psychological menace; but the nuanced portrayals—of a hero frequently...

STARS

From the Wendy Darling series , Vol. 1

The fashion for grimdark retellings of childhood classics tackles Peter Pan in the first of a trilogy.

Wendy Darling tries to be a proper young lady despite her forbidden romance with a bookseller’s son. Yet when a strange, beautiful, flying (!) youth tempts her and her younger brothers to abandon stodgy Edwardian London, she yields to long-suppressed yearnings for adventure. Described in lush, lingering detail, Neverland is all that Peter Pan promises: vibrant, gorgeous, filled with magic and excitement. But it also harbors unexpected dangers…perhaps none greater than Peter himself. Most of the familiar characters appear, although with disturbing twists: the Darling parents are snobbish and ineffectual, John condescending and cruel, the Lost Boys feral and dissolute, and Tink broken and insane. Selfish, seductive, and sociopathic, Peter himself displays little of his customary childlike innocence or fey charm. Instead, he seems stuck in perpetual adolescence: pure id, churning with chaotic aggression and barely leashed appetites. While she is initially intoxicated by his charisma, Wendy’s practical good sense, stubborn loyalty, and newly liberated fire give her the courage to defy Peter...only to land, in a stunning cliffhanger, in even worse peril.

Dark, even horrific in its graphic bloodshed and psychological menace; but the nuanced portrayals—of a hero frequently excused by his whimsical glamour and a heroine too often dismissed as girlishly insipid—are riveting. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-940716-95-4

Page Count: 324

Publisher: Spark Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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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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