A slow-burning, classic tale with too few fireworks at the end.



From the Frostblood Saga series , Vol. 1

A young girl with the power of fire running through her veins must save a kingdom ruled by the evil Frost King.

Ruby Otrera lives an isolated life with her mother, hiding her reviled power from the villagers nearby: she’s a Fireblood. In a land ruled by Frostbloods, Firebloods are hunted. Ruby can barely control her powers, and when the Frost King’s soldiers arrive, she can’t stop them from killing her mother and locking her in Blackcreek Prison. Nearly half a year passes before two robed Frostbloods appear and offer her freedom in exchange for helping them remove the Frost King. Soon Ruby finds herself at Forwind Abbey in the care of monks. Brother Thistle tries to teach her how to control her powers in preparation for her task. Arcus, the only lay plotter involved, keeps his face hidden but makes his mistrust clear. As Ruby finds a new home at the abbey, soldiers continue to hunt for her. And it isn’t long before she’s made to face the throne and learn her true role in both the monks’ and the Frost King’s plans. Ruby’s a spitfire who faces her challenges with grit, but her love interest and his surprises are predictable. Backed by a strong mythology, Ruby’s story stands to be reinvigorated in the sequel if a dynamic villain is delivered and the romance takes a back seat. Ruby is relatively pale-skinned in comparison to blue-eyed Brother Thistle; racial difference in this fantasy world cuts along Fireblood/Frostblood lines.

A slow-burning, classic tale with too few fireworks at the end. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-27325-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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Second installments in trilogies sometimes slump—here’s hoping the third book is a return to the vibrancy of the...


From the Legacy of Orisha series , Vol. 2

In this follow-up to Children of Blood and Bone (2018), Zélie and company are back, and the future of Orïsha hangs in the balance.

Zélie, now a maji Reaper, has achieved her goal and brought magic back to Orïsha, but at great cost. Grief and loss are strong themes throughout the book, compounded by guilt for Zélie, who feels responsible for her father’s death. Zélie and her older brother, Tzain, try to help Princess Amari ascend the throne, believing her family dead—but Queen Nehanda, Amari’s mother, is very much alive and more formidable than they could imagine. The trio join the Iyika, a band of rebel maji working to protect their persecuted people from threats new and old. Though the characters’ trauma reads as real and understandable, their decisions don’t always feel sensible or logical, often stemming from a lack of communication or forethought, which may leave readers frustrated. Though still commendable for its detailed worldbuilding, with an ending compelling enough to keep fans interested in the next installment, much of the book feels like navigating minefields of characters’ ill-advised decisions. All characters are black except for a secondary character with silky black hair, tan skin, and gray eyes “like teardrops.”

Second installments in trilogies sometimes slump—here’s hoping the third book is a return to the vibrancy of the first. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-17099-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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An accomplished, exciting debut.


A princess embarks on a dangerous path to the throne.

In the island kingdom of Visidia, where each person is allowed just one type of magic, only the members of the royal Montara family have the ability to wield the dangerous soul magic. Princess Amora is next in line to be High Animancer, but she must first prove to her people that she is powerful enough to use her magic to protect them. But something goes terribly wrong during a critical public ceremony, and Amora runs away with dashing pirate Bastian, whose rescue comes with a price: She must help him recover his own magic, stolen away by a dangerous man leading a growing rebellion that could bring down the whole kingdom. Debut author Grace wields her own magic with a skillful balancing act between high-stakes adventure (here there be monsters, mermaids, and high-seas shenanigans), bloody fantasy, and character development in a story with a lovable found family at its core. Amora yearns for adventure just as she welcomes her right to command her kingdom; her ferocious sense of duty and legitimate need to do good shine through. The novel’s further unravelling of dark secrets long kept comes with a recognized need for accountability and making amends which adds a thoughtful extra layer to the rich worldbuilding. Amora has copper-brown skin and dark, curly hair; other characters have a range of skin tones in this diverse world.

An accomplished, exciting debut. (guide to the kingdom) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-30778-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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