Predictable and plot-driven



From the Rains Brothers series , Vol. 2

After an alien invasion, the survival of humanity depends on teenage brothers.

At the close of series opener The Rains (2016), Chance and his older brother, Patrick, were separated, and Chance encountered an alien rebel who told him that humanity’s fate depends on his staying out of the aliens’ clutches. As this book opens, he’s been caught, and an alien scan identifies him. Although readers are tossed quickly into the action, a brief synopsis reminds them of the spores that turned those over 18 into mindless workers who prepared Earth for the arrival of the alien Drones and Queens who, with assistance from the already-turned Hosts, round up kids and teens and make them into Husks that incubate the alien Hatchlings. Patrick and his girlfriend—whom Chance also loves—arrive and rescue him, and the three flee to their high school, where survivors have established a base of operations and where a thinly developed bully character represents the man-is-the-true-danger figure that all post-apocalyptic books seem to need these days (this storyline is exceptionally forced). Alien rebels reveal how to stop the invasion and its required cost—which has been telegraphed in the novel’s epigraph, leaving no surprises. The novel’s conceit—that it’s been written by Chance as journal entries—distracts, but the endless action is solid. The narrative defaults to white, with exceptions identified by ethnicity (a Tongan ranch hand) or name (Dr. Chatterjee).

Predictable and plot-driven . (Post-apocalyptic adventure. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7653-8269-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Tor Teen

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.


From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A lackluster take on a well-worn trope.


After a family tragedy, 16-year-old Ivy Mason hopes to reconnect with her aloof identical twin sister, Iris—but Iris has other plans.

When Ivy’s parents divorced 10 years ago, Ivy stayed with her father while Iris went to live with their mother. When their mother dies after falling off a bridge while jogging, Iris comes to live with Ivy and their father. Narrator Ivy is reeling (she even goes to therapy), but Iris seems strangely detached, only coming to life when Ivy introduces her to her best friends, Haley and Sophie, and her quarterback boyfriend, Ty. However, Ivy isn’t thrilled when Iris wants to change her class schedule to match hers, and it’s not long before Iris befriends Ivy’s besties and even makes plans with them that don’t include Ivy. Iris even joins the swim team where Ivy is a star swimmer. As Iris’ strange behavior escalates, Ivy starts to suspect that their mother’s death might not have been an accident. Is Iris up to no good, or is Ivy just paranoid? In the end, readers may not care. There are few surprises to be found in a narrative populated by paper-thin characters stuck fast in a derivative plot. Even a jarring final twist can’t save this one. Most characters seem to be white, but there is some diversity in secondary characters.

A lackluster take on a well-worn trope. (Thriller. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12496-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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