Fans of alternate worlds will find a heapin' helping here, though the cast's relationship-chess makes a stronger showing...

QUANTUM COIN

In a convoluted sequel to Fair Coin (2012), teens crack wise and lock lips while saving the multiverse from an information overload.

Impelled by spectral phenomena at his senior prom and the unexpected reappearance of Zoe, an "analog" of his girlfriend Jena from a parallel universe, Ephraim again steps out of his own world. Landing in a somewhat more advanced one ("Unfortunately, we also have reality TV"), he learns from an adult version of Jena that all the universes have entered a cycle of uncontrolled proliferation and collapse. How to reboot the continuum without causing loved ones from less "real" planes to disappear? As in the opener, the plot is a mare's nest of comings and goings driven by romantic and ethical conflicts, hidden agendas, mad-science–style devices and arbitrary physics. It's a struggle to keep the cast members straight, too, since most are analogs of one another with, often, similar names. Still, Myers salts his tale with amusing, often-libidinous adolescent banter, and by cheating a little, lands his characters in good places in the end.

Fans of alternate worlds will find a heapin' helping here, though the cast's relationship-chess makes a stronger showing than the narrowly averted cosmic calamity. (Science fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61614-682-5

Page Count: 340

Publisher: Pyr/Prometheus Books

Review Posted Online: July 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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An entertaining fantasy set in a world that readers will want to revisit.

THESE HOLLOW VOWS

Brie risks the deadly land of the Fae to save her sister.

Brie doesn’t trust many people other than Jas, her eternally hopeful sister, and Sebastian, mage apprentice and Brie’s secret love (as if she had time for romance). Brie struggles to meet the payments for the magical contracts binding their lives to Madame Vivias, supplementing her cleaning work by stealing from the rich. While the land of Faerie tempts other girls with word of a castle, a lavish ball, and a fae prince seeking a wife, Brie mistrusts the creatures who capitalize on humanity’s greed. When Jas’ contract is sold to the fae, Brie braves the golden Seelie queen’s court, meets the noble Prince Ronan, and travels on to the Unseelie king’s shadow court. In the process she discovers love, historical secrets, atrocities, and her own hidden strength. While many elements regarding the fae and a love triangle will feel familiar to fans of the genre, and the magic could have been more fleshed out, discussions of power, inequity, trust, and hope expand the worldbuilding in refreshing ways. Similarly, consideration of the balance between truth and secrets, lies and stories, is intriguing as it’s applied to characters, relationships, and historical lore. Despite certain predictable reveals, the plot itself, which starts off slowly, picks up and is pleasantly convoluted with multiple satisfying surprises. Major human characters read as White.

An entertaining fantasy set in a world that readers will want to revisit. (Fantasy. 13-16)

Pub Date: July 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-38657-5

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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Though it’s a bit of a slog, readers of Book 1 will find it worth the time for its unexpected conclusion

THE SHADOW'S CURSE

A lost prince and his ladylove must defeat the tyrant rampaging over the steppes with an army of enslaved spirits in this sequel to The Oathbreaker’s Shadow (2015).

Raim is haunted by the spirit of his best friend, Khareh—a spirit that appeared when Raim accidentally broke an oath made by another, leaving him magically marked and exiled from his nomadic tribe as an oathbreaker. Khareh yet lives, but with the best part of himself lost in the spirit, his ambition has become megalomania. Not content to be khan of his tribe alone, Khareh aims to join all the northern nomads into one massive khanate. Raim seeks control over his spirit but also yearns to rescue Wadi, the dark-skinned desert girl to whom he's given his heart. Wadi is Khareh's captive, and she is more than capable of freeing herself from the cruel young khan; nevertheless she must stay a captive. It's her destiny to make a king of Raim, she learns from a blind seer in one of the stalest tropes of superpowered disability. Raim, Khareh, and Wadi travel all over the steppes of Darhan, giving a solid glimpse of this fantasy world roughly based on the lives of Mongolian nomads. A dense narrative of tiny chapters with shifting points of view leaves little time to become invested in each character's journey.

Though it’s a bit of a slog, readers of Book 1 will find it worth the time for its unexpected conclusion . (Fantasy. 13-15)

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7387-4512-1

Page Count: 456

Publisher: Flux

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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