A tense and spellbindingly gripping fantasy meditation on the horrors of the Holocaust.

THE VANISHING

In this supernatural novel, a young Jewish girl becomes invisible in order to flee the Nazis.

As Slater’s story opens, the Siegel family has moved several times in Germany, first to Weiler in 1938, then to the smaller town of Gemeinde in 1939, and finally to minuscule Ortschaft in the summer of 1940. Ortschaft, a town of only 10,000 residents, still seems amicable enough to its 200 Jewish inhabitants. Young Sophie Siegel may be hopeful, but readers know what’s coming. The restrictions and brutality increase even in Ortschaft until the horrifying day when Sophie, hiding in a closet, watches through a crack as Nazis kill her parents. Then she makes a shocking discovery: When those same Nazis search her closet, they don’t see her. She has become invisible. She’s still stranded in Nazi Germany, but now she’s able to watch unimpeded—and to do her best to foment resistance (including the outlandish hope of creating a gigantic golem to defend the Jews). Using this subtle, startling blend of historical fiction and richly imagined fantasy, Slater manages to craft that rarest of things: a Holocaust novel that feels new. The author has a keen eye for the small, true details of everyday life. The creeping, incremental degradations of Nazi Germany are portrayed with a dramatic immediacy often missing from history books. Slater is also very skilled at creating tense moments arising from Sophie’s invisibility. At one point, she’s standing in the middle of a room that’s being vigorously searched by Nazi soldiers: “For a long and terrifying few seconds, the redhead stood directly in front of Sophie, who was too cold and too scared to do anything but shake. If he had taken just one more step, he would have kicked her.”

A tense and spellbindingly gripping fantasy meditation on the horrors of the Holocaust.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-956769-11-1

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Library Tales Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 20, 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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A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning.

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SCYTHE

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 1

Two teens train to be society-sanctioned killers in an otherwise immortal world.

On post-mortal Earth, humans live long (if not particularly passionate) lives without fear of disease, aging, or accidents. Operating independently of the governing AI (called the Thunderhead since it evolved from the cloud), scythes rely on 10 commandments, quotas, and their own moral codes to glean the population. After challenging Hon. Scythe Faraday, 16-year-olds Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova reluctantly become his apprentices. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty. The vivid and often violent action unfolds slowly, anchored in complex worldbuilding and propelled by political machinations and existential musings. Scythes’ journal entries accompany Rowan’s and Citra’s dual and dueling narratives, revealing both personal struggles and societal problems. The futuristic post–2042 MidMerican world is both dystopia and utopia, free of fear, unexpected death, and blatant racism—multiracial main characters discuss their diverse ethnic percentages rather than purity—but also lacking creativity, emotion, and purpose. Elegant and elegiac, brooding but imbued with gallows humor, Shusterman’s dark tale thrusts realistic, likable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions.

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7242-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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