From the Call of the Rift series , Vol. 4

Emotionally stirring and complex; a promising conclusion awaits.

Knife-edge action and terrifying truths abound in Waller’s follow-up to Crest (2021).

It has been one month since the Battle of Tjarnnaast, during which Kateiko lost both of her parents in their pursuit to kill Liet, the leader of the violent Rúonbattai, only to realize that their true leader may have been Liet’s cleric companion who has vanished. Kateiko, who once had better control of her visions, struggles to live her daily life, haunted by scenes of a desolate wasteland and messages from her parents in the spirit world that she still cannot fully interpret. She leaves Nettle Ginu to search for missing friends Jorumgard and Tiernan who could play a critical role in protecting Eremur from the destructive Rúonbattai who seek to destroy it. As expected, Kateiko’s journey is relentless, and her self-control is tested as she balances being a hero determined to save her world with being a vulnerable young woman. She makes new acquaintances and must carefully discern who her allies and foes are. As in previous installments, Kateiko honestly and maturely explores dynamic romantic relationships, particularly those with Tsiala, a sarcastic woman warrior, and Tiernan, her much older mercenary friend with whom she shares a special connection even when they are apart. The Indigenous, or viirelei, people are brown-skinned; itherans are White, and the cast includes queer characters.

Emotionally stirring and complex; a promising conclusion awaits. (maps, glossary, timeline) (Fantasy. 15-adult)

Pub Date: May 23, 2023

ISBN: 9781770414594

Page Count: 432

Publisher: ECW Press

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023


Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre.

A dystopic thriller joins the crowded shelves but doesn't distinguish itself.

Juliette was torn from her home and thrown into an asylum by The Reestablishment, a militaristic regime in control since an environmental catastrophe left society in ruins. Juliette’s journal holds her tortured thoughts in an attempt to repress memories of the horrific act that landed her in a cell. Mysteriously, Juliette’s touch kills. After months of isolation, her captors suddenly give her a cellmate—Adam, a drop-dead gorgeous guy. Adam, it turns out, is immune to her deadly touch. Unfortunately, he’s a soldier under orders from Warner, a power-hungry 19-year-old. But Adam belongs to a resistance movement; he helps Juliette escape to their stronghold, where she finds that she’s not the only one with superhuman abilities. The ending falls flat as the plot devolves into comic-book territory. Fast-paced action scenes convey imminent danger vividly, but there’s little sense of a broader world here. Overreliance on metaphor to express Juliette’s jaw-dropping surprise wears thin: “My mouth is sitting on my kneecaps. My eyebrows are dangling from the ceiling.” For all of her independence and superpowers, Juliette never moves beyond her role as a pawn in someone else’s schemes.

Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-208548-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011


Engrossing worldbuilding, appealing characters, and a sense of humor make this a winning entry in the Sanderson canon.

A fantasy adventure with a sometimes-biting wit.

Tress is an ordinary girl with no thirst to see the world. Charlie is the son of the local duke, but he likes stories more than fencing. When the duke realizes the two teenagers are falling in love, he takes Charlie away to find a suitable wife—and returns with a different young man as his heir. Charlie, meanwhile, has been captured by the mysterious Sorceress who rules the Midnight Sea, which leaves Tress with no choice but to go rescue him. To do that, she’ll have to get off the barren island she’s forbidden to leave, cross the dangerous Verdant Sea, the even more dangerous Crimson Sea, and the totally deadly Midnight Sea, and somehow defeat the unbeatable Sorceress. The seas on Tress’ world are dangerous because they’re not made of water—they’re made of colorful spores that pour down from the world’s 12 stationary moons. Verdant spores explode into fast-growing vines if they get wet, which means inhaling them can be deadly. Crimson and midnight spores are worse. Ships protected by spore-killing silver sail these seas, and it’s Tress’ quest to find a ship and somehow persuade its crew to carry her to a place no ships want to go, to rescue a person nobody cares about but her. Luckily, Tress is kindhearted, resourceful, and curious—which also makes her an appealing heroine. Along her journey, Tress encounters a talking rat, a crew of reluctant pirates, and plenty of danger. Her story is narrated by an unusual cabin boy with a sharp wit. (About one duke, he says, “He’d apparently been quite heroic during those wars; you could tell because a great number of his troops had died, while he lived.”) The overall effect is not unlike The Princess Bride, which Sanderson cites as an inspiration.

Engrossing worldbuilding, appealing characters, and a sense of humor make this a winning entry in the Sanderson canon.

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 9781250899651

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2023