BLACK CITY

From the Black City series , Vol. 1

Eyes will roll.

Ash is a scorned twin-blood Darkling—hybrid son of a human and a vampire—who hustles Haze, the drug that occurs naturally in Darkling venom, to the addicted human youth of Black City. Natalie is all human, daughter of Black City’s newly returned Emissary, local head of the national government that just won a bitter war against the Darklings and is committed to racial purity. When they meet under a bridge after Natalie slips her security detail, Natalie’s heart skips a beat. So does Ash’s, which is seriously weird, because twin-bloods’ hearts don’t beat at all. (Full Darklings have two hearts, one of the book’s many arbitrary and wholly unconvincing quirks of biology.) They meet again at school; they engage in pro forma animosity; they realize they love each other. While this narrative arc is entirely predictable, at least it is relatively short—but into the mix are thrown political upheaval, a murder mystery, a contagious wasting disease, brutality against animals, parental infidelity, steamy near-sex scenes, vivisection and public crucifixions, along with grindingly obvious parallels to Nazism and the American skinhead movement. Copious infodumps do not compensate for slipshod worldbuilding. There is as little nuance to the relationships as everything else; in addition to the ludicrous destiny that binds Natalie and Ash, friendships dissolve and come back together with all the subtlety of a preschool playground.

Bloated and banal . (Paranormal romance. 14-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-399-15943-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

Equal parts entertaining and thought-provoking.

I AM NOT STARFIRE

Sixteen-year-old Mandy considers herself the anti-Starfire: Unlike her scantily clad superhero mother, she doesn’t have superpowers, can’t fly, and doesn’t even own a bathing suit.

Mandy dyes her hair and dresses in all black to further call out how different they are. Mandy’s best friend, Lincoln, whose parents were born in Vietnam, insightfully summarizes this rift as being down to an intergenerational divide that occurs whether parents and children come from different countries or different planets. Mandy tries to figure out what kind of future she wants for herself as she struggles with teenage insecurities and bullying, her relationship with her mom, and her budding friendship (or is it something more?) with her new class project partner, Claire. Yoshitani’s vibrant and colorful stylized illustrations beautifully meld the various iterations of Starfire and the Titans with the live-action versions of those characters. Together with Tamaki’s punchy writing, this coming-of-age story of identity, family, friendship, and saving the world is skillfully brought to life in a quick but nuanced read. These layers are most strongly displayed as the story draws parallels between cultural differences between the generations as evidenced in how the characters address bullying, body positivity, fatphobia, fetishization and sexualization, and feminism. This title addresses many important concepts briefly, but well, with great pacing, bold art, and concise and snappy dialogue. The cast is broadly diverse in both primary and secondary characters.

Equal parts entertaining and thought-provoking. (Graphic fantasy. 14-16)

Pub Date: July 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77950-126-4

Page Count: 184

Publisher: DC Comics

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more