Ideal for fans of lush, folktale-inspired fantasy.


Thirteen unsettling stories put a dark feminist spin on traditional fairy tales.

What happened after the woodcutter rescued Red Riding Hood from the wolf? Why did the witch build a gingerbread house in the woods? What if Cinderella or the Little Mermaid made different choices? In spare, delicate, fragmented prose, Irish author Sullivan (Perfectly Preventable Deaths, 2019, etc.) looks before, after, and behind some of the best-known European tales and finds both darkness and female empowerment. Few of these brief stories are straight retellings; most are allusive present-tense ruminations (many in the first or second person) with only tenuous connections to the original; all are deceptively quiet and deeply introspective. Men fare badly, lurking mostly offstage as abusive monsters to outwit or escape or shallow weaklings to ignore or manipulate. Agency resides in the relationships between women, although these are likely to be fraught or competitive; the rare instances of love usually lead to tragedy. The women vary widely: princess and peasant, witch and miller’s daughter, beautiful and plain, fat and thin, white and brown, queer, dwarf, and neurodivergent. All are acutely aware of their physical appetites and alert to the cruelties and seductions of power. The handsome presentation is enhanced by the full-page black-and-white illustrations that accompany each tale, elegant and evocative in an art nouveau style.

Ideal for fans of lush, folktale-inspired fantasy. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-910411-92-6

Page Count: 180

Publisher: Little Island/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

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A slo-mo environmental disaster story.


Weather witches confront climate change in this fantasy.

Clara Densmore is her generation’s sole Everwitch and is unwilling to embrace her powers. Unlike the male and female autumn, winter, spring, and summer witches, whose powers peak during their respective seasons, Clara thrives year-round. At the Eastern School of Solar Magic in Pennsylvania, 17-year-old Clara shuns friendships and only does short-term flings, as her love can be lethal and has already killed her parents and best friend. Losing her powers seems like the selfless solution, but nonmagical shaders have pushed the planet too far with their environmental destruction. Seasonal witches are starting to die amid accelerated natural disasters—and only Clara can save the world. A budding romance with magical mentor/visiting botany student 18-year-old Sang Park from California helps Clara bloom. Redheaded, blue-eyed Clara is cued as White, and Sang is Korean American—but race, class, and other identity-related concerns are rarely a factor in this world. Debut author Griffin unfortunately fails to breathe new life into chosen one fantasy tropes—the obligatory villain, the unavoidable romance, the overly dramatic sacrifice—but excels at lush and lovely descriptions of nature and the weather and delivers a stern, if heavy-handed, message about environmental consequences of modern living.

A slo-mo environmental disaster story. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72822-942-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)


From the Six of Crows series , Vol. 2

This hefty sequel to Six of Crows (2015) brings high-tension conclusions to the many intertwined intrigues of Ketterdam.

It's time for revenge—has been ever since old-before-his-time crook Kaz and his friends were double-crossed by the merchant princes of Ketterdam, an early-industrial Amsterdam-like fantasy city filled to the brim with crime and corruption. Disabled, infuriated, and perpetually scheming Kaz, the light-skinned teen mastermind, coordinates the efforts to rescue Inej. Though Kaz is loath to admit weakness, Inej is his, for he can't bear any harm come to the knife-wielding, brown-skinned Suli acrobat. Their team is rounded out by Wylan, a light-skinned chemist and musician whose merchant father tried to have him murdered and who can't read due to a print disability; Wylan's brown-skinned biracial boyfriend, Jesper, a flirtatious gambler with ADHD; Nina, the pale brunette Grisha witch and recovering addict from Russia-like Ravka; Matthias, Nina's national enemy and great love, a big, white, blond drüskelle warrior from the cold northern lands; and Kuwei, the rescued Shu boy everyone wants to kidnap. Can these kids rescue everyone who needs rescuing in Ketterdam's vile political swamp? This is dark and violent—one notable scene features a parade of teens armed with revolvers, rifles, pistols, explosives, and flash bombs—but gut-wrenchingly genuine. Astonishingly, Bardugo keeps all these balls in the air over the 500-plus pages of narrative.

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-213-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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