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

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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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Fan-service? Yes—and fans will rejoice in every dark, luscious moment.

HOW THE KING OF ELFHAME LEARNED TO HATE STORIES

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 3.5

Once upon a time....

In Faerie, a cruel prince met his match in Jude, a human raised in his world. An entire trilogy tells their tale from her perspective; now the prince gets center stage. This lavishly illustrated tome, more a series of vignettes than a complete novel, shows critical moments in Cardan’s life, including moments previously seen through Jude’s perspective. The entirety is framed within a moment that takes place after the end of The Queen of Nothing (2019), providing a glimpse into the maturing relationships between Jude and Cardan and between Cardan and his responsibilities as High King of Elfhame, a land whose multihued, multiformed denizens cannot lie. Woven throughout are three iterations of a story, initially told to a young Cardan, each version different in specifics and moral but all centered on a boy with a heart of stone and a monstrous, cursed bride. Readers familiar with Cardan and Jude’s tumultuous and sometimes troubling love will recognize notes within this repeated tale, but each telling also stands alone as a complete tale, one that feels both inevitable and fresh. Black continues to build an ever expanding mythos with her Faerie stories, and while this volume requires prior knowledge of The Folk of the Air trilogy, it offers new delights along with familiar moments retold.

Fan-service? Yes—and fans will rejoice in every dark, luscious moment. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-54088-9

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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