Not for the impatient or new reader, but otherwise even better than the first.

THE CRACKS IN THE KINGDOM

From the Colors of Madeleine series , Vol. 2

Moriarty’s latest draws this world and Cello ever closer.

Picking up just after the revelations that ended A Corner of White (2013) and ratcheting the stakes up even higher, this middle volume moves from a balance between Madeleine, in our world, and Elliot, in Cello (which is kind of fairyland, but stranger and more modern), to a tighter focus on Elliot and Cello’s political situation. Elliot has teamed up with the seemingly airheaded but actually ruthless Princess Ko and the Royal Youth Alliance in search of the abducted royal family, who have all been spirited away to this world. Meanwhile, the search for Elliot’s missing father has been taken over by a pair of agents, now that it appears Abel really was a Loyalist abducted by Hostiles; in this world, Madeleine continues learning strange facts that seem to have bearing on Cello. This is madcap, whimsical, smart and even heartbreaking, but Moriarty never drops the dozens of balls in the air. By turns coming-of-age and wild adventure (the Lake of Spells and the Turquoise Rain in Jagged Edge stand out), this volume complicates the characters, expands the worldbuilding and sets things up for a grand finish in the trilogy closer.

Not for the impatient or new reader, but otherwise even better than the first. (Fantasy. 12 & up)

Pub Date: March 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-39738-4

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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An accomplished, exciting debut.

ALL THE STARS AND TEETH

From the All the Stars and Teeth series , Vol. 1

A princess embarks on a dangerous path to the throne.

In the island kingdom of Visidia, where each person is allowed just one type of magic, only the members of the royal Montara family have the ability to wield the dangerous soul magic. Princess Amora is next in line to be High Animancer, but she must first prove to her people that she is powerful enough to use her magic to protect them. But something goes terribly wrong during a critical public ceremony, and Amora runs away with dashing pirate Bastian, whose rescue comes with a price: She must help him recover his own magic, stolen away by a dangerous man leading a growing rebellion that could bring down the whole kingdom. Debut author Grace wields her own magic with a skillful balancing act between high-stakes adventure (here there be monsters, mermaids, and high-seas shenanigans), bloody fantasy, and character development in a story with a lovable found family at its core. Amora yearns for adventure just as she welcomes her right to command her kingdom; her ferocious sense of duty and legitimate need to do good shine through. The novel’s further unravelling of dark secrets long kept comes with a recognized need for accountability and making amends which adds a thoughtful extra layer to the rich worldbuilding. Amora has copper-brown skin and dark, curly hair; other characters have a range of skin tones in this diverse world.

An accomplished, exciting debut. (guide to the kingdom) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-30778-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends.

RED QUEEN

From the Red Queen series , Vol. 1

Amid a war and rising civil unrest, a young thief discovers the shocking power within her that sparks a revolution.

At 17, Mare knows that without an apprenticeship or job, her next birthday will bring a conscription to join the war. She contributes to her poor family’s income the only way she can, stealing from the Silvers, who possess myriad powers and force her and her fellow Reds into servitude. The Silvers literally bleed silver, and they can manipulate metal, plants and animals, among many other talents. When Mare’s best friend, Kilorn, loses his job and is doomed to conscription, she is determined to change his fate. She stumbles into a mysterious stranger after her plan goes awry and is pulled out of her village and into the world of Silver royalty. Once inside the palace walls, it isn’t long before Mare learns that powers unknown to red-blooded humans lie within her, powers that could lead a revolution. Familiar tropes abound. Mare is revealed as a great catalyst for change among classes and is groomed from rags to riches, and of course, seemingly kind characters turn out to be foes. However, Aveyard weaves a compelling new world, and Mare and the two men in her life evolve intriguingly as class tension rises. Revolution supersedes romance, setting the stage for action-packed surprises.

An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-231063-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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