Just as dreadful as the first book.

PHOENIX

From the Black City series , Vol. 2

The turgid adventures of a half-breed vampire and the human girl who loves him continue (Black City, 2012).

Having been crucified and burned and then resurrected, Ash is now known as the Phoenix, the poster boy for the Humans for Unity rebellion (though far from a Christ figure, despite obvious symbolism). On the eve of the vote that will determine whether vampire Darklings and other Impurities will be permanently confined in ghettos, he proposes to girlfriend Natalie, who accepts with cloyingly girlish delight. The vote goes badly; evil dictator Purian Rose cracks down on Black City. With sexy Bastet Elijah, Ash and Natalie flee, hoping to find a supposed superweapon that can shift the balance of power. (In addition to humans and vampires, this alternative, weakly steampunk-y North America has cat- and wolf-people, though their attributes are as arbitrary as everything else.) The boilerplate dystopian present-tense narration alternates between Ash’s and Natalie’s identical voices, ploddingly describing every action and overwrought emotion. Natalie worries she is infected with the Wrath, a deadly vampire disease; in order to spare Ash, she hides it from him, a transparent and tedious device evidently meant to boost the romantic tension. People die, bloodily; allies turn traitor; breasts heave. When Natalie isn’t engaging in unlikely heroics, she vomits a lot—is it the Wrath, or…?

Just as dreadful as the first book. (Paranormal romance. 14 & up)

Pub Date: June 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-15944-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

  • New York Times Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

more