Muted opulence forms the backdrop to this slightly disjointed space drama.

THE STARS BETWEEN US

A teenage girl desperately tries to take control of her life even when choices seem to be ripped from her grasp.

Viktoria Hale and her family struggle to get by on the poverty-stricken planet Philomenus. Even with Vika’s mysterious benefactor helping to provide some favors, money is always tight. Then one day, young solicitor Archer Sheratan appears at her family’s flat and informs them that her benefactor is the recently deceased Rigel Chapin, a multibillionaire tycoon from neighboring planet Ploutos. Vika was named as a key figure in his will: Provided Chapin’s estranged son, Leo, agrees to marry her, he will inherit his father’s fortune. Although the ship carrying Leo to meet her explodes, killing him, Vika is whisked into the rich, glamorous society of Ploutos, where she continues to enjoy the company of Archer and tries her best to avoid a suspicious, bespectacled young man who is employed by her hosts. Vika is determined to do whatever it takes to ensure financial security for herself and her family, no matter the personal stakes. With a futuristic space setting that is underutilized in the story, this narrative relies heavily on descriptions of refined luxuries that lend a Victorian air. There is a fair amount of intrigue to keep readers invested, but too many tangents fail to coalesce into a rounded whole. Main characters seem to be White; secondary characters have a range of skin tones.

Muted opulence forms the backdrop to this slightly disjointed space drama. (Science fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-78376-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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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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Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell...

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SIX OF CROWS

Adolescent criminals seek the haul of a lifetime in a fantasyland at the beginning of its industrial age.

The dangerous city of Ketterdam is governed by the Merchant Council, but in reality, large sectors of the city are given over to gangs who run the gambling dens and brothels. The underworld's rising star is 17-year-old Kaz Brekker, known as Dirtyhands for his brutal amorality. Kaz walks with chronic pain from an old injury, but that doesn't stop him from utterly destroying any rivals. When a councilman offers him an unimaginable reward to rescue a kidnapped foreign chemist—30 million kruge!—Kaz knows just the team he needs to assemble. There's Inej, an itinerant acrobat captured by slavers and sold to a brothel, now a spy for Kaz; the Grisha Nina, with the magical ability to calm and heal; Matthias the zealot, hunter of Grishas and caught in a hopeless spiral of love and vengeance with Nina; Wylan, the privileged boy with an engineer's skills; and Jesper, a sharpshooter who keeps flirting with Wylan. Bardugo broadens the universe she created in the Grisha Trilogy, sending her protagonists around countries that resemble post-Renaissance northern Europe, where technology develops in concert with the magic that's both coveted and despised. It’s a highly successful venture, leaving enough open questions to cause readers to eagerly await Volume 2.

Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family . (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-212-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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