An imaginative, daring start to what could develop in to a fantastic series.

ORIGINS RISING

A mysterious force known simply as the Darkness threatens a far-future Earth in Andreas’ debut YA sci-fi/fantasy.

Millions of years after an asteroid wiped out practically all life on Earth, the last traces of humanity have evolved into three separate races, each with its own distinct society. On the ground are the erdwons, a tribal people with cheetahlike legs and tails who live in huts. Meanwhile, the skywons—winged people—live in palaces surrounded by wealth and splendor in the heavens above, and the feshwons are an aquatic people with webbed fingers and flippers. The different groups know very little about one another, let alone Earth’s past history, believing the planet to have once been ruled by one race that banished a dark force called the Darkness, which eventually returned and destroyed them, until the Earth Mother created the three peoples. Now, however, entire clans are beginning to disappear, leaving people to worry that the Darkness has returned. Tor, an erdwon youth, crosses paths with a wounded skywon princess, Himmel, setting him on a course to potentially save the world. Andreas’ novel is blessed with a richly realized, deeply intelligent mythology, which helps distinguish it amid the sea of YA. He establishes all the various societies and peoples economically and with a keen eye for anthropological detail, making it as much of a delight to simply learn about the divergent cultures as it is to spend time with his likable cast of characters. Those eager for nonstop action might want to look elsewhere, but readers will find a great deal to love here if they’re fascinated by complex worldbuilding and a gradually building plot that allows its characters to breathe. Unfortunately, however, the book ends rather abruptly, and while this seems to promise a sequel, more concluding action would have allowed the ending to feel as naturalistic and well-paced as the rest of the novel.

An imaginative, daring start to what could develop in to a fantastic series.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-1500303778

Page Count: 274

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2014

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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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Sure to please fans of the author and of the vampire-romance genre.

THE BEAUTIFUL

From the Beautiful series , Vol. 1

Forbidden love is tested by suspicion and murder in this latest addition to YA vampire lore.

Celine Rousseau, a French and Asian (mother’s exact origins unknown) seamstress, sails from Europe to America in hopes of leaving her shadowy past behind. En route, she bonds with Pippa, a white English émigrée, and both girls find refuge in an Ursuline convent. Celine’s talent as a couturier leads to a commission from Odette, a beautiful member of the opulent-yet-mysterious Cour des Lions, where students of the occult practice their craft unmolested. Before long, Celine is swept up in a world of mystical forces centering around Sébastien Saint Germain, an enigmatic aristocrat to whom she is irresistibly attracted. When a fellow convent member is found murdered, Celine suspects all her acquaintances, including Sébastien. The novel, wading into the waters of forbidden romance between teenage girl and hunky immortal vampire previously navigated by Buffy Summers and Bella Swan, feels less magical than it should despite the lush Victorian-era New Orleans setting. At times the mounting attraction between Bastien and Celine is told rather than shown, which makes the central relationship feel forced rather than organic and passion filled. Ahdieh (Smoke in the Sun, 2018, etc.) brings New Orleans vibrantly to life, particularly when exploring the complicated racial and gender restrictions of high society through main and supporting characters of mixed-race origin.

Sure to please fans of the author and of the vampire-romance genre. (Fantasy. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-3817-4

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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