Boughan weaves a tale so mysterious and magical, harrowing and hopeful, with such deliciously dark villains, readers almost...

CINDERELLA NECROMANCER

This “Cinderella” retelling stars motherless Ellison—Ella for short.

After her widowed father remarries, Ella finds herself now burdened with a dastardly stepfamily that begins to treat her as a servant. A secret passageway leads her to an ancient necromancy manual that grants her the powers to fight back against the abuse she suffers and that threatens her younger brother, Edward. Seeking solace at her mother’s grave one morning, Ella finds herself face to face with the generous, attractive, and heroic Prince William. But of course, when the royal family announces a festival to which all eligible women are invited, her stepsisters sabotage her. Here the story truly diverges from the familiar. To exact revenge on her stepfamily, Ella uses the necromancy tome to conjure spirits to do her bidding—but at great cost. As her brother grows more ill and frail by the day, Ella must look within to see if the monster she should fear is her stepmother or herself. Set in what feels like a largely white 19th-century alternative Europe, the tale is told in deliciously Gothic prose. Although the ending is drawn out a few beats too long and has a preachy overtone, what comes before is enough to keep readers glued for the resolution.

Boughan weaves a tale so mysterious and magical, harrowing and hopeful, with such deliciously dark villains, readers almost forget this is a retelling rather than a story of original beginnings. (Horror. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-946700-55-1

Page Count: 324

Publisher: Month9Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 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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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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