WINGS

From the Black City series , Vol. 3

Blood Mates Natalie (all human) and Ash (half human, half vampire) continue the drive to unseat the evil dictator Purian Rose and win justice for all races in the United Sentry States.

At the end of Phoenix (2013), Natalie was plucked from danger and restored to her mother and the father she thought dead, both key members of the Sentry rebellion against Rose. Meanwhile, Ash—aka the Phoenix, symbol of the grass-roots campaign Humans for Unity—heads home to Black City to regroup. They both have their eyes on the Tenth, the concentration camps where Rose has imprisoned the vampire Darklings. Each with allies both human and in-, they reunite there. Their alternating, present-tense narrations are joined in this book by a third, that of Edmund, whose story occurs 30 years before and provides both some flimsy back story and lots more angst. What with double crosses, secret missions, unlikely victories in skirmishes, obvious revelations and the occasional death, there’s plenty of action, but the blow-by-blow narration holds it in stasis. The characters are like bad actors in a high school play, emoting on cue and then moving to the next mark. The scientific improbabilities that have plagued the series from the beginning mount here, with the (protracted) climactic moment fueled by a laughably impossible medical procedure. Only for those readers who are dying to read the end of Natalie and Ash’s story. (Paranormal romance. 14-18)

 

Pub Date: June 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-15945-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic.

ALL OUR HIDDEN GIFTS

An Irish teen grapples with past misdeeds and newfound ties to magic.

When 16-year-old Maeve discovers a deck of tarot cards stashed with a mixtape of moody indie music from 1990, she starts giving readings for her classmates at her all-girls private school. Though her shame over dumping her strange friend Lily during an attempt to climb the social ladder at St. Bernadette’s is still palpable, it doesn’t stop her from trying to use the tarot in her favor to further this goal. However, after speaking harsh words to Lily during a reading, Maeve is horrified when her former friend later disappears. As she struggles to understand the forces at play within her, classmate Fiona proves to be just the friend Maeve needs. Detailed, interesting characters carry this contemporary story of competing energy and curses. Woven delicately throughout are chillingly eerie depictions of the Housekeeper, a figure who shows up on an extra card in the deck, echoing the White Lady legend from Irish folklore. Even more disturbing is an organization of young people led by a homophobic but charismatic figurehead intent on provoking backlash against Ireland’s recent civil rights victories. Most characters are White; Fiona is biracial, with a Filipina mother and White Irish father. Roe, Maeve’s love interest and Lily’s sibling, is a bisexual, genderqueer person who is a target for intolerance in their small city of Kilbeg.

An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic. (Paranormal. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1394-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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

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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

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