LIRAEL

DAUGHTER OF THE CLAYR

In a riveting sequel to his acclaimed Sabriel (not reviewed), Nix recreates his trademark mélange of horror and fantasy. For the 18 years that King Touchstone and Queen Sabriel have battled necromancers and their Dead minions, orphaned Lirael has grown up among the Clayr sisterhood. Bereft of their prophetic Sight, she finds consolation in their labyrinthine library, honing her magecraft amid its ancient tomes and artifacts, and solace in the company of the Disreputable Dog of ambiguous magical provenance. Meanwhile, Prince Sameth has left school, shamed by his less-than-regal character, and terrified of inheriting Sabriel’s duties opposing the Dead. But when a long-buried evil begins stirring up necromantic menaces and meddling in inter-kingdom politics, Lirael and Sam are forced to abandon their fears and dreams in order to shoulder burdens they could never imagine. This is pure-quill epic fantasy, with satisfyingly intricate world building that still propels the plot. Nix subtly invests minor characters, objects, even the landscape with vivid life, and his villains are acidulous distillates of pure malevolence. Lirael and Sameth possess rich personalities, sufficient to sustain the complex parallel narrative in which they do not meet until near the conclusion; in a refreshing departure from gender stereotypes, Lirael is mature, restrained, and analytical, while Sam is passionate, impulsive, and creative. The sarcastic feline familiar, Mogget, and the engagingly enigmatic Disreputable Dog add charm and sly humor to a tale that would otherwise be desperately grim. Readers who like their fantasy intense in action, magisterial in scope, and apocalyptic in consequences will revel in every word, especially the last three: “To be continued.” (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: April 30, 2001

ISBN: 0-06-027823-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2001

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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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Powerful, captivating, and raw—Adeyemi is a talent to watch. Exceptional

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CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE

From the Legacy of Orisha series , Vol. 1

Seventeen-year-old Zélie and companions journey to a mythic island seeking a chance to bring back magic to the land of Orïsha, in a fantasy world infused with the textures of West Africa.

Dark-skinned Zélie is a divîner—someone with latent magical abilities indicated by the distinctive white hair that sets them apart from their countrymen. She saves Princess Amari, who is on the run from her father, King Saran, after stealing the scroll that can transform divîners into magic-wielding maji, and the two flee along with Zélie’s brother. The scroll vanished 11 years ago during the king’s maji genocide, and Prince Inan, Amari’s brother, is sent in hot pursuit. When the trio learns that the impending solstice offers the only chance of restoring magic through a connection to Nana Baruku, the maternal creator deity, they race against time—and Inan—to obtain the final artifact needed for their ritual. Over the course of the book allegiances shift and characters grow, change, and confront traumas culminating in a cliffhanger ending that will leave readers anxiously awaiting the next installment. Well-drawn characters, an intense plot, and deft writing make this a strong story. That it is also a timely study on race, colorism, power, and injustice makes it great.

Powerful, captivating, and raw—Adeyemi is a talent to watch. Exceptional . (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17097-2

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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