Fans of paranormal thrillers and romances will find plenty to love in this gripping series.

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BROKEN ILLUSIONS

From the Midnight Dragonfly series , Vol. 2

With this steamy second installment, the Midnight Dragonfly series continues to sizzle.

Sixteen-year-old Trinity Mounsour would like to focus on normal teenage stuff—like her new job in her aunt's trendy New Orleans shop and her hot new boyfriend, Chase. But for this gifted psychic, a normal life is not in the cards. Another girl she knows is missing, she’s receiving some disturbing messages through a Ouija board, and she’s started seeing visions again. Trinity feels compelled to help find the missing girl, and so despite misgivings, she begins to investigate. Soon, the mysterious Dylan Fourcade is back in her life, and she can’t shake either the feeling that his destiny and hers are connected or the powerful attraction she feels for him. Thus it is that Trinity finds herself in the midst of both a murder mystery—one which seems to be closing in quickly on Trinity’s loved ones—and a tangled teenage love triangle. While the plentiful and (even for the genre) implausible plot twists can truly boggle the mind, the cliffhangers at the end of each chapter will keep readers turning pages. In addition to the thrill factor, an effective balance of quick dialogue and occasional text messages with rich descriptions of the gothic New Orleans setting and Trinity’s visions makes for an absorbing read.

Fans of paranormal thrillers and romances will find plenty to love in this gripping series. (Paranormal mystery. 12 & up)

Pub Date: May 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-312-64703-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2012

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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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Fear the reaper(s)…but relish this intelligent and entertaining blend of dark humor and high death tolls.

THUNDERHEAD

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 2

Death proves impermanent in this sequel to Scythe (2016).

In a world run by the (almost) all-powerful and (almost) omniscient artificial intelligence Thunderhead, only the Honorable Scythes deal permanent death to near-immortal humans. Yet a growing contingent of scythes, feared and flattered by society and operating outside the Thunderhead’s control, are proving rather dishonorable. No longer apprentices, 18-year-olds Citra Terranova and Rowan Damisch realize “the scythedom is…high school with murder” as they watch their fellow scythes jockey for power and prestige. Citra now gleans as Scythe Anastasia, questioning the status quo but also opposing the homicidally enthusiastic “new-order” scythes and their dangerous demagogue. Self-appointed as Scythe Lucifer, Rowan hunts other scythes whom he deems corrupt. Meanwhile, the existentially troubled Thunderhead questions its role as both creation and caretaker of humanity, sworn not to take life but fearing that its utopia will otherwise collapse into dystopia. Nationality and race are minimally mentioned—ethnic biases and genocide are considered very gauche—yet a population that defies death, aging, sickness, poverty, and war risks becoming bleakly homogenous, alleviated only by “unsavories” and scythes. This sequel digs deeper into Shusterman’s complex world and complicated characters, offering political maneuvering, fatal conspiracies, and impending catastrophe via a slowly unfurling plot and startling bursts of action.

Fear the reaper(s)…but relish this intelligent and entertaining blend of dark humor and high death tolls. (Science fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7245-7

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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