A tepid sequel filled with angst, power grabs, and politics.

THE RISING TIDE

From the Fiery Spiral series , Vol. 2

A teen girl navigates a world that is new to her—and that she is tasked to save.

Sixteen-year-old Ebba is now an official Citizen of Table Island and one of the richest people there, more powerful than she ever could have imagined. Many are eager to take advantage of her naïveté. Her biggest challenges are figuring out how to leverage her wealth and power and make her farm more profitable in order to provide for more people than she anticipated—all while trying to find the four missing amulets that will prevent the coming of the second Calamity. But all Ebba really wants is to be happy and carefree with her first love, Micah, and the friends she grew up with. Plagued by secrets and a new source of insecurity in the form of a perceived rival in love, it’s uncertain whether Ebba will figure out to whom she can turn to help save herself and those she cares about. Set in a fantasy version of South Africa and featuring a multiethnic cast, Brain’s follow-up to The Thousand Steps (2019) is a weaker effort than its predecessor: Ebba is an underdeveloped protagonist whose recklessly impulsive and indecisive behavior may frustrate readers. Clunky transitions made it difficult to invest in the story, resulting in confusing, anticlimactic scenes.

A tepid sequel filled with angst, power grabs, and politics. (maps, family tree) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-946395-49-8

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Catalyst Press

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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Scheming and action carry readers at a breathless pace to an end that may surprise them and will definitely leave them...

SIEGE AND STORM

From the Grisha Trilogy series , Vol. 2

The Grisha Trilogy turns from bildungsroman to political thriller in its second installment.

Sun Summoner Alina and former Ravkan army tracker Mal, once her childhood friend and now her would-be love, are on the run. All they want is to put Ravka and the megalomaniacal Darkling far behind them. Alas, this is not to be. Captured by the Darkling and forced onto a ship captained by the notorious pirate Sturmhond, they find themselves in pursuit of the second of three magical amplifiers that will make Alina powerful beyond belief—and bind her ever-closer to the ancient, evil Darkling. Sturmhond has an unexpected agenda of his own, though, and turns on the Darkling. Darkling temporarily thwarted, Alina and Mal find themselves back in Ravka’s capital as part of the ailing king’s younger son’s attempt to find his way to the throne. Bardugo’s sophomore effort smooths out many of the rookie wrinkles that marred Shadow and Bone (2012); Alina’s wry voice does not interfere with worldbuilding, instead keeping readers immersed in the plot. Characters are rich and complex, particularly the Peter the Great–like younger prince and Alina herself, beset by competing claims and desires. Is she Mal’s lover? Prince Nikolai’s pawn? Commander of the Grisha Second Army? Saint?

Scheming and action carry readers at a breathless pace to an end that may surprise them and will definitely leave them panting for the series’ conclusion . (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: June 11, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9460-2

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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A masterful debut from a must-read new voice in fantasy.

FOR THE WOLF

Twin princesses—one fated to become a queen, the other a martyr—find themselves caught up in an unexpected battle of dark magic and ancient gods.

Four hundred years ago, a Valleydan princess facing a loveless betrothal sought refuge in the Wilderwood with her lover, the Wolf. The legendary Five Kings—including her father and her husband-to-be—pursued them only to be trapped in the Wilderwood. Now, according to legend, the only hope of restoring the Five Kings to power lies in the ritual sacrifice of every Second Daughter born to Valleyda's queen. There hasn't been a second daughter for 100 years—until now. On her 20th birthday, Redarys accepts her fate and walks into the Wilderwood to become the Wolf's next victim only to find that the stories she grew up on were lies. The handsome man who lives in a crumbling castle deep in the forest is not the original Wolf but his son, and he wants nothing to do with Red or her sacrifice. Afraid of her wild magic abilities and the danger they pose to her sister, Neverah, Red refuses to leave the Wilderwood. Instead, she clings to the new Wolf, Eammon, who will do whatever it takes to protect her from the grisly fate of the other Second Daughters. Meanwhile, in the Valleydan capital, Neve's desperation to bring her sister home sets her on a path that may spell disaster for Red, Eammon, and the Wilderwood itself. Whitten weaves a captivating tale in this debut, in which even secondary characters come to feel like old friends. The novel seamlessly blends "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Beauty and the Beast" into an un-put-down-able fairy tale that traces the boundaries of duty, love, and loss.

A masterful debut from a must-read new voice in fantasy.

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-59278-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Orbit

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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