Gripping but not at all for the faint of heart.

FORGED

From the Taken series , Vol. 3

In the last of the Taken trilogy, Gray sets out with a few of his Expat buddies to discover what villainy is taking place at the Compound, an island fortress run by the evilly dictatorial Frank.

He’s accompanied by, among others, Blaine, his twin brother, Clipper, a 13-year-old computer whiz, and Bree, one of his previously established pair of love interests, although Gray has finally conclusively settled on her as his one and only. As the mission begins, Emma, his other love interest, unexpectedly appears and lures Gray and Blaine into the enemy’s hands with horrid consequences. Although she is clearly not a Forgery—one of the vast number of cloned warriors Frank has produced—her motivations remain unclear. Taken to the Compound, Gray is subject to a nasty episode of torture and encounters the somewhat flawed Forgery of a previous ally, Harvey, who may hold the key to defeating Frank. Violence, murder, blood and gore are abundant, but suspense is palpable as well. Gray’s first-person, present-tense voice keeps the narrative edgy. Since Bowman is all too willing to kill off key characters, there’s a constant, strong sensation that no one will survive the trilogy, ensuring a pervasive sense of danger. Even though in-depth characterization takes a distant back seat to action, the ride is compelling enough.

Gripping but not at all for the faint of heart. (Dystopian adventure. 13-18)

Pub Date: April 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-211732-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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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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