TITHE

A MODERN FAERIE TALE

Debauchery, despair, deceit, and grisly death—what more could you ask from a fairy tale? Sixteen-year-old Kaye has always felt like a freak; partly because she’s spent half her life in seedy bars while her mother vainly pursued rock-star fame, but also from her memories of childhood fairy companions. Still, she’s not prepared for what happens after she rescues Roiben, the gravely wounded and impossibly gorgeous elven knight. Her friendly sprites return to warn her that Roiben serves the Unseelie Court, the darker aspect of Faerie, and that she has been designated the mortal sacrifice in the ritual Tithe that binds the independent fey to their cruel and depraved rule. But what if that sacrifice weren’t . . . quite . . . mortal? Black’s stunning debut cleverly twists the Tam Lin tale. Though Kaye’s home life seems almost comically sordid, when the action moves to the various Faerie Courts and their allies, their intrigues make an intricate tapestry, woven of dark threads of obsession, degradation, and horror, yet graced with bewitching beauty and a surprisingly tender romance. Once she drops her angst-ridden attitude, Kaye is a clever, courageous heroine with an appealingly wry voice, and Roiben is a gloriously damaged and darkly noble tragic hero. While most of the supporting cast has little to do beyond playing villains or victims, Black has an eye for the telling detail that brings the most minor character to life. A labyrinthine plot with Goth sensibility makes this a luscious treat for fans of urban fantasy and romantic horror. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-689-84924-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2002

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A rare second volume that surpasses the first, with, happily, more intrigue and passion still to come.

THE WICKED KING

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 2

A heady blend of courtly double-crossing, Faerie lore, and toxic attraction swirls together in the sequel to The Cruel Prince (2018).

Five months after engineering a coup, human teen Jude is starting to feel the strain of secretly controlling King Cardan and running his Faerie kingdom. Jude’s self-loathing and anger at the traumatic events of her childhood (her Faerie “dad” killed her parents, and Faerie is not a particularly easy place even for the best-adjusted human) drive her ambition, which is tempered by her desire to make the world she loves and hates a little fairer. Much of the story revolves around plotting (the Queen of the Undersea wants the throne; Jude’s Faerie father wants power; Jude’s twin, Taryn, wants her Faerie betrothed by her side), but the underlying tension—sexual and political—between Jude and Cardan also takes some unexpected twists. Black’s writing is both contemporary and classic; her world is, at this point, intensely well-realized, so that some plot twists seem almost inevitable. Faerie is a strange place where immortal, multihued, multiformed denizens can’t lie but can twist everything; Jude—who can lie—is an outlier, and her first-person, present-tense narration reveals more than she would choose. With curly dark brown hair, Jude and Taryn are never identified by race in human terms.

A rare second volume that surpasses the first, with, happily, more intrigue and passion still to come. (map) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-31035-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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Whether you came for the lore or the love, perfection.

THE QUEEN OF NOTHING

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 3

Broken people, complicated families, magic, and Faerie politics: Black’s back.

After the tumultuous ending to the last volume (marriage, exile, and the seeming collapse of all her plots), Jude finds herself in the human world, which lacks appeal despite a childhood spent longing to go back. The price of her upbringing becomes clear: A human raised in the multihued, multiformed, always capricious Faerie High Court by the man who killed her parents, trained for intrigue and combat, recruited to a spy organization, and ultimately the power behind the coup and the latest High King, Jude no longer understands how to exist happily in a world that isn’t full of magic and danger. A plea from her estranged twin sends her secretly back to Faerie, where things immediately come to a boil with Cardan (king, nemesis, love interest) and all the many political strands Jude has tugged on for the past two volumes. New readers will need to go back to The Cruel Prince (2018) to follow the complexities—political and personal side plots abound—but the legions of established fans will love every minute of this lushly described, tightly plotted trilogy closer. Jude might be traumatized and emotionally unhealthy, but she’s an antihero worth cheering on. There are few physical descriptions of humans and some queer representation.

Whether you came for the lore or the love, perfection. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Nov. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-31042-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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