A magical, enthralling must-read.

CITY OF STONE AND SILENCE

From the Wells of Sorcery Trilogy series , Vol. 2

Having recently assumed leadership, Isoka must help her crew survive in a new land and take control of Soliton in this well-executed sequel.

After leading everyone to safety from the Vile Rot, Isoka is the new leader of Soliton’s crew. Set on a predetermined path, the ship arrives at its destination, the Harbor. The Harbor is an ancient city of stone ziggurats encased in a dome of Eddica—or Spirits—magic. Living in a delicate balance are the Cresos clan aristocrats, monks called the Minders, and Prime, an Eddicant who terrorizes everyone with the living dead. Isoka must find a way to take control of the Harbor and Soliton to save her sister, Tori. What Isoka doesn’t know is that Tori has been sneaking away from her luxurious life to help at a lower-ward hospital and sanctuary for runaway mage-bloods. When Isoka doesn’t show up for Tori’s birthday, Tori’s search for answers brings her into the middle of a rebellion. Using her secret power of Kindre, Tori bends minds as she seeks Isoka. Alternating between the two sisters’ points of view, each chapter is captivating and ends in suspense. Wexler (Ship of Smoke and Steel, 2019, etc.) does not disappoint, delving deeper into Isoka’s journey but also exploring Tori’s life, thereby revealing hierarchal problems and discrimination in this highly diverse, magical society.

A magical, enthralling must-read. (map, Wells of Sorcery list) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7653-9727-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Tor Teen

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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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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A rare second volume that surpasses the first, with, happily, more intrigue and passion still to come.

THE WICKED KING

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 2

A heady blend of courtly double-crossing, Faerie lore, and toxic attraction swirls together in the sequel to The Cruel Prince (2018).

Five months after engineering a coup, human teen Jude is starting to feel the strain of secretly controlling King Cardan and running his Faerie kingdom. Jude’s self-loathing and anger at the traumatic events of her childhood (her Faerie “dad” killed her parents, and Faerie is not a particularly easy place even for the best-adjusted human) drive her ambition, which is tempered by her desire to make the world she loves and hates a little fairer. Much of the story revolves around plotting (the Queen of the Undersea wants the throne; Jude’s Faerie father wants power; Jude’s twin, Taryn, wants her Faerie betrothed by her side), but the underlying tension—sexual and political—between Jude and Cardan also takes some unexpected twists. Black’s writing is both contemporary and classic; her world is, at this point, intensely well-realized, so that some plot twists seem almost inevitable. Faerie is a strange place where immortal, multihued, multiformed denizens can’t lie but can twist everything; Jude—who can lie—is an outlier, and her first-person, present-tense narration reveals more than she would choose. With curly dark brown hair, Jude and Taryn are never identified by race in human terms.

A rare second volume that surpasses the first, with, happily, more intrigue and passion still to come. (map) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-31035-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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