Violent, profane, caustic, grisly, and pitch-black—but all in a good way.

A DANGEROUS MAGIC

A brilliant teenage sorcerer takes on the case of a beheaded bishop in this supernatural noir debut.

When the police drag 15-year-old Frank Sampson into a murder investigation, he immediately suspects that something is off (other than the cleric’s absent head). But since the detective in charge hates him, superstitious mobs are after him, and his own society is ready to expel him, not to mention the feminine distractions of plucky, perceptive DC Marvell and the bishop’s beautiful, enigmatic niece—well, Frank’s a bit bollixed, all right? Hounam skillfully integrates classic hard-boiled–mystery conventions with the baroque flair of occult horror. Frank’s mordantly hilarious narration elliptically conveys all the bleakness of this Church-ruled Britain, where industrialized magic coexists with Victorian technology and epidemic presbyopia by age 30 thrusts children into adult responsibilities. While the main characters are all working-class white, the background displays significant ethnic and social diversity. Raymond Chandler–esque antihero Frank is simultaneously supremely arrogant about his skills and rubbish (and self-sabotaging) in his personal life; his cynical, iconoclastic veneer barely conceals his vulnerability and romantic idealism. Despite the frenetic pace and meandering asides, the engrossing central mystery pays off with a twisty reveal that—in the best noir tradition—is both predictable in its tragedy and satisfying in its rough justice.

Violent, profane, caustic, grisly, and pitch-black—but all in a good way. (Horror/mystery. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-3232-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status.

FIREKEEPER'S DAUGHTER

Testing the strength of family bonds is never easy—and lies make it even harder.

Daunis is trying to balance her two communities: The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, teen is constantly adapting, whether she is with her Anishinaabe father’s side of the family, the Firekeepers, or the Fontaines, her White mother’s wealthy relatives. She has grand plans for her future, as she wants to become a doctor, but has decided to defer her plans to go away for college because her maternal grandmother is recovering from a stroke. Daunis spends her free time playing hockey with her Firekeeper half brother, Levi, but tragedy strikes, and she discovers someone is selling a dangerous new form of meth—and the bodies are piling up. While trying to figure out who is behind this, Daunis pulls away from her family, covering up where she has been and what she has been doing. While dealing with tough topics like rape, drugs, racism, and death, this book balances the darkness with Ojibwe cultural texture and well-crafted characters. Daunis is a three-dimensional, realistically imperfect girl trying her best to handle everything happening around her. The first-person narration reveals her internal monologue, allowing readers to learn what’s going on in her head as she encounters anti-Indian bias and deals with grief.

A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76656-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell...

SIX OF CROWS

Adolescent criminals seek the haul of a lifetime in a fantasyland at the beginning of its industrial age.

The dangerous city of Ketterdam is governed by the Merchant Council, but in reality, large sectors of the city are given over to gangs who run the gambling dens and brothels. The underworld's rising star is 17-year-old Kaz Brekker, known as Dirtyhands for his brutal amorality. Kaz walks with chronic pain from an old injury, but that doesn't stop him from utterly destroying any rivals. When a councilman offers him an unimaginable reward to rescue a kidnapped foreign chemist—30 million kruge!—Kaz knows just the team he needs to assemble. There's Inej, an itinerant acrobat captured by slavers and sold to a brothel, now a spy for Kaz; the Grisha Nina, with the magical ability to calm and heal; Matthias the zealot, hunter of Grishas and caught in a hopeless spiral of love and vengeance with Nina; Wylan, the privileged boy with an engineer's skills; and Jesper, a sharpshooter who keeps flirting with Wylan. Bardugo broadens the universe she created in the Grisha Trilogy, sending her protagonists around countries that resemble post-Renaissance northern Europe, where technology develops in concert with the magic that's both coveted and despised. It’s a highly successful venture, leaving enough open questions to cause readers to eagerly await Volume 2.

Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family . (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-212-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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