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From the Dorothy Must Die series , Vol. 2

Readers who liked Volume 1 will be perfectly happy waiting with this sequel for the series climax.

In Oz, the rebellion begun in Dorothy Must Die (2014) continues as its players regroup.

As the story opens, Kansan Amy Gumm and the newly transformed Princess Ozma are taken to the queen of the formerly winged monkeys, leaving the wreckage of the Emerald City behind along with Nox and the rest of the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. There, Amy learns that her friend Pete from the Emerald City still exists within Ozma; with a little magical help from Amy, he can emerge and interact, but most of the time his personality is submerged beneath the addled princess's. But where is Nox? Soon enough, Amy and Ozma/Pete are off to find Polychrome, the daughter of the rainbow, who may be willing to help the Order. But before they go, tough-talking monkey queen Lulu warns Amy that the dark magic she is becoming increasingly adept with could turn her into another Dorothy. And where, oh, where is Nox? With this second full-length novel in her Oz reboot, Paige continues to develop her dystopian vision of the classic tales, offering readers grimly twisted versions of the characters developed in a more innocent time. It's very much a middle volume, taking Amy and readers around the fairyland but returning them inevitably to the Emerald City for another blood-soaked confrontation. Amy's struggle with her alarming capacity for wickedness and her swoony fixation on Nox feel obligatory rather than organic, but when she's not mentally wringing her hands, her snarky voice still entertains.

Readers who liked Volume 1 will be perfectly happy waiting with this sequel for the series climax. (Dystopian fantasy. 12 & up)

Pub Date: March 31, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-228070-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2015

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A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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From the Powerless Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes.

The Plague has left a population divided between Elites and Ordinaries—those who have powers and those who don’t; now, an Ordinary teen fights for her life.

Paedyn Gray witnessed the king kill her father five years ago, and she’s been thieving and sleeping rough ever since, all while faking Psychic abilities. When she inadvertently saves the life of Prince Kai, she becomes embroiled in the Purging Trials, a competition to commemorate the sickness that killed most of the kingdom’s Ordinaries. Kai’s duties as the future Enforcer include eradicating any remaining Ordinaries, and these Trials are his chance to prove that he’s internalized his brutal training. But Kai can’t help but find Pae’s blue eyes, silver hair, and unabashed attitude enchanting. She likewise struggles to resist his stormy gray eyes, dark hair, and rakish behavior, even as they’re pitted against each other in the Trials and by the king himself. Scenes and concepts that are strongly reminiscent of the Hunger Games fall flat: They aren’t bolstered by the original’s heart or worldbuilding logic that would have justified a few extreme story elements. Illogical leaps and inconsistent characterizations abound, with lighthearted romantic interludes juxtaposed against genocide, child abuse, and sadism. These elements, which are not sufficiently addressed, combined with the use of ableist language, cannot be erased by any amount of romantic banter. Main characters are cued white; the supporting cast has some brown-skinned characters.

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9798987380406

Page Count: 538

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023

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