A fresh new twist on an enduring myth.

LIFESTYLES OF GODS AND MONSTERS

The Greek myth of the Minotaur collides with reality TV in Roberson’s debut.

Every year in Crete, 14 of the strongest and most beautiful young Athenian men and women navigate a maze full of deadly obstacles for a chance to slay the Minotaur for fame and fortune in the wildly popular reality show The Labyrinth Contest. For 10 years, King Minos’ 16-year-old daughter, Ariadne, who narrates, has taken up her ball of silver thread as the Keeper of the Maze: Only she can soothe the Minotaur during his earth-shaking rages. Unlike her glamorous sisters, Acalle and Xenodice, Ariadne shuns parties, social media, and scandal for video games and time with her best friend and showrunner, Icarus. That is, until the handsome Theseus, a prince of Athens, catches Ariadne’s eye. When he asks her to help him win, ending the brutal contest once and for all, she sees a chance to be free and to claim her own destiny. When shocking secrets come to light, her unique bond with the tragic beast at the heart of the maze leaves her with a heartbreaking choice. Roberson largely sticks to the original myth, and its more twisted aspects fit neatly into the cutthroat contemporary reality TV universe, where exploitation is the name of the game and ratings are everything. Icarus is gay, and all characters assume a white default.

A fresh new twist on an enduring myth. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-374-31062-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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

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

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A dark and enthralling journey.

VESPERTINE

In a land threatened by violent spirits, a girl with a haunted past unleashes an ancient entity from a holy relic and strikes a deal for the power to save her home.

Ever since the Sorrow, the dead no longer pass on peacefully. Without the intervention of the Clerisy of the Gray Lady, they roam as destructive spirits. Artemisia of Naimes, gifted with the ability to see the spirits, never intends to leave her convent, where the walls protect her from possession and (Lady forbid) social interaction. Her plans crumble when a group of possessed soldiers attack her home. Reluctantly, Artemisia unseals a legendary relic, binding herself to a revenant, an undead being with immense power. Untrained in controlling spirits and desperate to protect her home, she bargains with the revenant to help her. Amid escalating danger and an unfolding mystery, Rogerson unveils a grim and intriguing world with a rich, plot-relevant history inspired by late-medieval France. In addition to the White protagonist, the narration describes several secondary characters with brown skin; the revenant is identified as “it,” while human characters in this world adhere to a gender binary. Artemisia experiences dynamic character growth as her understandings of trauma, history, and morality shift. Although she remains socially avoidant, she learns to value friendship. A satisfying but open-ended resolution demands for the story to continue.

A dark and enthralling journey. (glossary) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-7711-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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