SIEGE OF RAGE AND RUIN

From the Wells of Sorcery Trilogy series , Vol. 3

A fast-paced, compelling conclusion to this fantasy saga.

With the ghost ship under her control, Isoka is finally on her way back home in this follow-up to City of Stone and Silence (2020).

Isoka, along with her female partner, Meroe, and mage-blood friends Jack and Zarun, is on her way back to her home city, Kahnzoka. By capturing the Soliton, she has fulfilled her end of Kuon Naga’s deal and is ready to save her 14-year-old sister, Tori. Their plan to sneak in and out undetected goes awry when they arrive to discover Kahnzoka under siege and Tori, with her mind-control magic, at the head of a rebellion. But neither sister is the same person as when Isoka left on the Soliton, creating misunderstandings and complicated feelings between them. Their reunion is cut short when Kuon Naga’s Immortals, a group of elite mage-bloods, kidnap Tori. Isoka and her crew get drawn into Tori and the rebels’ fight to free their home city. Alternating between the two sisters’ perspectives, this trilogy closer dives deeper into the responsibility for and inner workings of the rebellion and conflict with Kuon Naga. Even with many intense action scenes and a storyline that keeps the pages turning, there is a greater focus on the strategy and politics of the Empire that fleshes out the worldbuilding. As before, the characters are diverse in ethnicity and sexuality.

A fast-paced, compelling conclusion to this fantasy saga. (map) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7653-9731-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Tor Teen

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

FOURTH WING

From the Empyrean series , Vol. 1

Read this for the action-packed plot, not character development or worldbuilding.

On the orders of her mother, a woman goes to dragon-riding school.

Even though her mother is a general in Navarre’s army, 20-year-old Violet Sorrengail was raised by her father to follow his path as a scribe. After his death, though, Violet's mother shocks her by forcing her to enter the elite and deadly dragon rider academy at Basgiath War College. Most students die at the War College: during training sessions, at the hands of their classmates, or by the very dragons they hope to one day be paired with. From Day One, Violet is targeted by her classmates, some because they hate her mother, others because they think she’s too physically frail to succeed. She must survive a daily gauntlet of physical challenges and the deadly attacks of classmates, which she does with the help of secret knowledge handed down by her two older siblings, who'd been students there before her. Violet is at the mercy of the plot rather than being in charge of it, hurtling through one obstacle after another. As a result, the story is action-packed and fast-paced, but Violet is a strange mix of pure competence and total passivity, always managing to come out on the winning side. The book is categorized as romantasy, with Violet pulled between the comforting love she feels from her childhood best friend, Dain Aetos, and the incendiary attraction she feels for family enemy Xaden Riorson. However, the way Dain constantly undermines Violet's abilities and his lack of character development make this an unconvincing storyline. The plots and subplots aren’t well-integrated, with the first half purely focused on Violet’s training, followed by a brief detour for romance, and then a final focus on outside threats.

Read this for the action-packed plot, not character development or worldbuilding.

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9781649374042

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Red Tower

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2024

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DIVINE RIVALS

Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy.

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A war between gods plays havoc with mortals and their everyday lives.

In a time of typewriters and steam engines, Iris Winnow awaits word from her older brother, who has enlisted on the side of Enva the Skyward goddess. Alcohol abuse led to her mother’s losing her job, and Iris has dropped out of school and found work utilizing her writing skills at the Oath Gazette. Hiding the stress of her home issues behind a brave face, Iris competes for valuable assignments that may one day earn her the coveted columnist position. Her rival for the job is handsome and wealthy Roman Kitt, whose prose entrances her so much she avoids reading his articles. At home, she writes cathartic letters to her brother, never posting them but instead placing them in her wardrobe, where they vanish overnight. One day Iris receives a reply, which, along with other events, pushes her to make dramatic life decisions. Magic plays a quiet role in this story, and readers may for a time forget there is anything supernatural going on. This is more of a wartime tale of broken families, inspired youths, and higher powers using people as pawns. It flirts with clichéd tropes but also takes some startling turns. Main characters are assumed White; same-sex marriages and gender equality at the warfront appear to be the norm in this world.

Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-85743-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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