A compelling narrative based around the subversion of generic fantasy and science fiction fodder.

THE ART OF SAVING THE WORLD

Hazel Stanczak is tasked with saving the world, but she’s not alone.

Hazel has always been stuck in place, unable to leave home due to a strange link to an interdimensional rift. Then, on her 16th birthday, the rift spits out copies of her. The Powers That Be have chosen her to save the world from an unknown threat. Accompanied by her doppelgängers and the almost-clichéd sarcastic dragon Neven, Hazel struggles with a deck that’s been stacked against her. All the while she is faced with the question of her own identity and worth in the face of so many duplicate versions of herself. Queer issues, mental health, and race are all discussed through Hazel’s lens of an anxious, questioning, White teen. Multiple characters of color show up, both in important roles, such as Hazel’s biracial half sister, Carolyn, and Chinese adoptive father, and as background characters, like some of Hazel’s classmates. The representation of mental health issues is at times so painfully accurate that the novel becomes difficult to read but at the same time, impossible to put down. Refreshingly, Duyvis finds time to discuss painful periods and what an endometriosis diagnosis means for a teenager. A midnovel twist takes the standard chosen-one plot formula and tips it on its head, then wrings what’s left for all the angst and existential crises it’s worth.

A compelling narrative based around the subversion of generic fantasy and science fiction fodder. (Science fiction. 15-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3687-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Will cast a spell on romance fans.

SERPENT & DOVE

From the Serpent & Dove series , Vol. 1

A stealth witch and a devout witch hunter are forced to marry.

In this French-flavored fantasy world, witches are hunted down by the Church’s Chasseurs and burned at the stake; they retaliate against this genocidal crusade through vicious terrorist attacks. Thief Louise le Blanc wants none of that—she’s left her witch life behind. But Lou ends up on Chasseur captain Reid Diggory’s radar when a heist goes bad; his attempt to catch her lands them in a situation so compromising that the archbishop suggests marriage to save face. Lou’s initial priority is self-protection—wanting to avoid both fallout from the heist and a dangerous figure from her past—and she’s fine with using Reid. The slow-burn, opposites-attract romance between crass, irreverent Lou and prim and proper Reid gets very hot and sexy once it ignites. Lou sees firsthand the damages some witches do to innocents, has her presumptions about individual Chasseurs challenged, and also sees up close the horrors Chasseurs perpetrate. Despite occasional pacing hiccups and an easily guessed twist, the secondary characters will charm readers, and the story picks up when Lou’s past dangerously catches up to her, revealing the true stakes. Though at heart a romance, rich second-tier characters round out the shades-of-gray, morality-and-empathy themes. Witches, Chasseurs, and some secondary characters come in all colors; the leads appear white. The ending screams sequel.

Will cast a spell on romance fans. (Fantasy. 15-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-287802-1

Page Count: 528

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

High stakes, epic scope, intense action, and sweeping mythologies.

FURYBORN

From the Empirium Trilogy series , Vol. 1

Two girls separated by a thousand years are connected by a prophecy.

In a prologue, readers learn that pale-skinned Queen Rielle has killed her husband, the biracial Audric. She gives birth to their baby while a war between angels and humans rages. To keep the infant safe from the angels’ leader, light-skinned Corien, Rielle desperately charges a child with magical abilities to use his gifts to flee with and protect her—with mixed success. Later chapters alternate between telling Rielle’s story and flashing forward 1,020 years to focus on olive-skinned Eliana. Following a childhood tragedy, Rielle hid her staggering ability to control all seven elements until a threat against her beloved Audric caused her to reveal her gifts, prompting the Magisterial Council to impose seven trials to determine whether she was the Sun Queen or Blood Queen spoken of in prophecy. While readers start off knowing her story’s end, a steamy romance and devious twists along the way pack surprises. Eliana, meanwhile, is a deadly bounty hunter—serving an evil empire in order to protect her own family—who gets mixed up with rebels when her mother is abducted. The rigid, cliffhanger-heavy chapter structure is supported by breakneck pacing and constant action. The ending leaves neither storyline resolved.

High stakes, epic scope, intense action, and sweeping mythologies. (element guide) (Fantasy. 15-adult)

Pub Date: May 22, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4926-5662-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more