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I FEED HER TO THE BEAST AND THE BEAST IS ME

Gory, gripping, and visceral; examines how supernatural and systemic power unleash the monster within all of us.

Laurence “Laure” Mesny puts body, mind, and soul into dancing for the Paris Ballet, but her dream of taking center stage remains unattainable until a mysterious supernatural force grants her the power to achieve her deepest desire.

The dancers train hard to perfect their skills, including performing while injured and sabotaging others, and they’re subjected to intense scrutiny, vituperative criticism, and a cutthroat environment. Even worse, the other dancers, who are overwhelmingly wealthy and white, bully Laure, who is Black, further isolating her and spurring her intense wish to be seen, respected, and loved. When dazzling Joséphine Moreau, the company’s highest ranked dancer, suggests Laure strike a bargain with a mysterious being, she eagerly jumps headfirst into the unknown. But when tragedy strikes and Laure begins to transform beyond recognition, she wonders if she has traded one nightmare situation for a host of new horrors beyond her control. Equal parts dark, supernatural fantasy and mystery, this layered tale utilizes a spectacular arsenal of body horror, mythology, and the occult to explore mature themes around desirability, the consequences of unchecked power, and the apathy toward violence against girls engendered by a system that values perfectionism, pedigree, and submission over people’s lives.

Gory, gripping, and visceral; examines how supernatural and systemic power unleash the monster within all of us. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2023

ISBN: 9781250909565

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023

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POWERLESS

From the Powerless Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes.

The Plague has left a population divided between Elites and Ordinaries—those who have powers and those who don’t; now, an Ordinary teen fights for her life.

Paedyn Gray witnessed the king kill her father five years ago, and she’s been thieving and sleeping rough ever since, all while faking Psychic abilities. When she inadvertently saves the life of Prince Kai, she becomes embroiled in the Purging Trials, a competition to commemorate the sickness that killed most of the kingdom’s Ordinaries. Kai’s duties as the future Enforcer include eradicating any remaining Ordinaries, and these Trials are his chance to prove that he’s internalized his brutal training. But Kai can’t help but find Pae’s blue eyes, silver hair, and unabashed attitude enchanting. She likewise struggles to resist his stormy gray eyes, dark hair, and rakish behavior, even as they’re pitted against each other in the Trials and by the king himself. Scenes and concepts that are strongly reminiscent of the Hunger Games fall flat: They aren’t bolstered by the original’s heart or worldbuilding logic that would have justified a few extreme story elements. Illogical leaps and inconsistent characterizations abound, with lighthearted romantic interludes juxtaposed against genocide, child abuse, and sadism. These elements, which are not sufficiently addressed, combined with the use of ableist language, cannot be erased by any amount of romantic banter. Main characters are cued white; the supporting cast has some brown-skinned characters.

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9798987380406

Page Count: 538

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023

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DIVINE RIVALS

Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy.

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A war between gods plays havoc with mortals and their everyday lives.

In a time of typewriters and steam engines, Iris Winnow awaits word from her older brother, who has enlisted on the side of Enva the Skyward goddess. Alcohol abuse led to her mother’s losing her job, and Iris has dropped out of school and found work utilizing her writing skills at the Oath Gazette. Hiding the stress of her home issues behind a brave face, Iris competes for valuable assignments that may one day earn her the coveted columnist position. Her rival for the job is handsome and wealthy Roman Kitt, whose prose entrances her so much she avoids reading his articles. At home, she writes cathartic letters to her brother, never posting them but instead placing them in her wardrobe, where they vanish overnight. One day Iris receives a reply, which, along with other events, pushes her to make dramatic life decisions. Magic plays a quiet role in this story, and readers may for a time forget there is anything supernatural going on. This is more of a wartime tale of broken families, inspired youths, and higher powers using people as pawns. It flirts with clichéd tropes but also takes some startling turns. Main characters are assumed White; same-sex marriages and gender equality at the warfront appear to be the norm in this world.

Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-85743-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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