What more could series addicts ask?

POISON FRUIT

From the Agent of Hel series , Vol. 3

Third in Carey’s supernatural urban fantasy series (Autumn Bones, 2013, etc.) set in Pemkowet, a small resort town on the shores of Lake Michigan.

In summer, tourists pour in to marvel at Pemkowet’s eldritch community—fairies, ghouls, vampires, bogles and so forth—whose benevolent supervisor is Hel, the Norse goddess of the underworld. Now it’s November, and things are quieter, so Daisy Johanssen, hell-spawn daughter of a demon and a human mother, Hel’s enforcer and designated liaison to the Pemkowet Police Department, devotes her energies to unscrambling her sizzling but problematic personal life. First up is her partner, red-hot werewolf Officer Cody Fairfax; the lust is mutual, but traditionalist Cody wants a family and so must mate with another werewolf. And then there’s equally red-hot Stefan Ludovic, 600-year-old Bohemian knight and leader of the ghouls, or Outcasts, who, rejected by both heaven and hell, are immortal and feed on emotions. However, with Stefan away in Poland on private business, Scott Evans, a veteran with severe PTSD, complains to the Pemkowet PD that he’s being haunted by a witchlike, soul-sucking Night Hag. And then hell-spawn lawyer Daniel Dufreyne wallops the town with a massive lawsuit. The really bad news is that Dufreyne, having accepted his birthright, has demonic powers of persuasion. Daisy isn’t sure how that works: She’s refused to claim her own birthright despite frequent urgings from dad, the lesser demon Belphegor, lest she unleash Armageddon. Steamy sex, meddling monsters and a hell-spawn heroine with a volcanic temper: Even in the off season, there’s nothing dull about Pemkowet.

What more could series addicts ask?

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-451-46531-3

Page Count: 448

Publisher: ROC/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 24, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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A breezy and fun contemporary fantasy.

THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA

A tightly wound caseworker is pushed out of his comfort zone when he’s sent to observe a remote orphanage for magical children.

Linus Baker loves rules, which makes him perfectly suited for his job as a midlevel bureaucrat working for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, where he investigates orphanages for children who can do things like make objects float, who have tails or feathers, and even those who are young witches. Linus clings to the notion that his job is about saving children from cruel or dangerous homes, but really he’s a cog in a government machine that treats magical children as second-class citizens. When Extremely Upper Management sends for Linus, he learns that his next assignment is a mission to an island orphanage for especially dangerous kids. He is to stay on the island for a month and write reports for Extremely Upper Management, which warns him to be especially meticulous in his observations. When he reaches the island, he meets extraordinary kids like Talia the gnome, Theodore the wyvern, and Chauncey, an amorphous blob whose parentage is unknown. The proprietor of the orphanage is a strange but charming man named Arthur, who makes it clear to Linus that he will do anything in his power to give his charges a loving home on the island. As Linus spends more time with Arthur and the kids, he starts to question a world that would shun them for being different, and he even develops romantic feelings for Arthur. Lambda Literary Award–winning author Klune (The Art of Breathing, 2019, etc.) has a knack for creating endearing characters, and readers will grow to love Arthur and the orphans alongside Linus. Linus himself is a lovable protagonist despite his prickliness, and Klune aptly handles his evolving feelings and morals. The prose is a touch wooden in places, but fans of quirky fantasy will eat it up.

A breezy and fun contemporary fantasy.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21728-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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A celebration of fantasy that melds modern ideology with classic tropes. More of these dragons, please.

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THE PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE

After 1,000 years of peace, whispers that “the Nameless One will return” ignite the spark that sets the world order aflame.

No, the Nameless One is not a new nickname for Voldemort. Here, evil takes the shape of fire-breathing dragons—beasts that feed off chaos and imbalance—set on destroying humankind. The leader of these creatures, the Nameless One, has been trapped in the Abyss for ages after having been severely wounded by the sword Ascalon wielded by Galian Berethnet. These events brought about the current order: Virtudom, the kingdom set up by Berethnet, is a pious society that considers all dragons evil. In the East, dragons are worshiped as gods—but not the fire-breathing type. These dragons channel the power of water and are said to be born of stars. They forge a connection with humans by taking riders. In the South, an entirely different way of thinking exists. There, a society of female mages called the Priory worships the Mother. They don’t believe that the Berethnet line, continued by generations of queens, is the sacred key to keeping the Nameless One at bay. This means he could return—and soon. “Do you not see? It is a cycle.” The one thing uniting all corners of the world is fear. Representatives of each belief system—Queen Sabran the Ninth of Virtudom, hopeful dragon rider Tané of the East, and Ead Duryan, mage of the Priory from the South—are linked by the common goal of keeping the Nameless One trapped at any cost. This world of female warriors and leaders feels natural, and while there is a “chosen one” aspect to the tale, it’s far from the main point. Shannon’s depth of imagination and worldbuilding are impressive, as this 800-pager is filled not only with legend, but also with satisfying twists that turn legend on its head. Shannon isn’t new to this game of complex storytelling. Her Bone Season novels (The Song Rising, 2017, etc.) navigate a multilayered society of clairvoyants. Here, Shannon chooses a more traditional view of magic, where light fights against dark, earth against sky, and fire against water. Through these classic pairings, an entirely fresh and addicting tale is born. Shannon may favor detailed explication over keeping a steady pace, but the epic converging of plotlines at the end is enough to forgive.

A celebration of fantasy that melds modern ideology with classic tropes. More of these dragons, please.

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63557-029-8

Page Count: 848

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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