A smart, funny and emotionally engaging tale perfect for any reader who longs for another train ride to Hogwarts.

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A HERO AT THE END OF THE WORLD

Destined to destroy the evil overlord, the chosen one adjusts to a disappointing life after his friend does the job instead.

The prophecy stated that Ewan Mao was the one who would kill the tyrant Duff Slan. He spent years training for when the time would come to dispatch the dark lord who had been ruling Britain with an iron fist. But when the final battle took place, Ewan's best friend, Oliver Abrams, dealt the killing blow. Five years later, Ewan is a footnote in Oliver's story, working in a crummy coffee shop while Oliver swiftly rises through the ranks of the local police force. Anger and jealousy have festered, and when a secret society approaches Ewan with an opportunity to take Oliver down a peg, Ewan quickly accepts. Ewan and Oliver's friendship-cum-rivalry offers true pathos, exploring a bond that was supposed to be stronger than steel but that may now be twisted and damaged beyond repair. Claiborne serves up more than just a clever inversion of the "Chosen One" narrative trope by perfectly balancing satire and genuine affection for the genre made popular by Rowling's series. Those hoping for a Harry Potter sequel and constantly checking Pottermore for updates would do well to put this book on the tops of their to-read piles.

A smart, funny and emotionally engaging tale perfect for any reader who longs for another train ride to Hogwarts. (Fantasy. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9904844-0-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Big Bang Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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Fan-service? Yes—and fans will rejoice in every dark, luscious moment.

HOW THE KING OF ELFHAME LEARNED TO HATE STORIES

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 3.5

Once upon a time....

In Faerie, a cruel prince met his match in Jude, a human raised in his world. An entire trilogy tells their tale from her perspective; now the prince gets center stage. This lavishly illustrated tome, more a series of vignettes than a complete novel, shows critical moments in Cardan’s life, including moments previously seen through Jude’s perspective. The entirety is framed within a moment that takes place after the end of The Queen of Nothing (2019), providing a glimpse into the maturing relationships between Jude and Cardan and between Cardan and his responsibilities as High King of Elfhame, a land whose multihued, multiformed denizens cannot lie. Woven throughout are three iterations of a story, initially told to a young Cardan, each version different in specifics and moral but all centered on a boy with a heart of stone and a monstrous, cursed bride. Readers familiar with Cardan and Jude’s tumultuous and sometimes troubling love will recognize notes within this repeated tale, but each telling also stands alone as a complete tale, one that feels both inevitable and fresh. Black continues to build an ever expanding mythos with her Faerie stories, and while this volume requires prior knowledge of The Folk of the Air trilogy, it offers new delights along with familiar moments retold.

Fan-service? Yes—and fans will rejoice in every dark, luscious moment. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-54088-9

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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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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