That said, it’s certainly heir to the Twilight tradition and will probably be a bestseller. Unfortunately.

THE DARKEST STAR

From the Origin series , Vol. 1

The first installment of a spinoff from Armentrout’s bestselling Lux series.

It’s been four years since Earth won the global war against invading space aliens called Luxen, who combined spectacular good looks with deadly superpowers. Life is back to normal for 17-year-old Evie. Her father died in the war and her mother still works endless hours in the military, but Evie’s main concerns are the everyday dramas of high school life. When she accompanies a friend to a nightclub known to be patronized by Luxen, she meets Luc, a staggeringly hot 18-year-old who claims not to be Luxen despite having unnerving Luxen-like eyes. In days to come, girls from Evie’s school disappear, Luc shows up with frightening regularity, and gradually Evie learns that nothing, including herself, is what it seems. Aliens of many types abound—holes in worldbuilding can always be shored up with new aliens—and the overwritten prose gives the same emotional weight to girls dying from their eyes being burnt out as to preferring Coke over Pepsi. Some characters are described as gay or dark-skinned, though none of the characterization goes below surface level. Luc’s commanding, kissing-without-consent demeanor seems out of step with the #MeToo era, and unless you’re willing to put your brain on a hook and just coast through the fluffy writing, there’s not much to admire here beyond Luc’s pecs.

That said, it’s certainly heir to the Twilight tradition and will probably be a bestseller. Unfortunately. (Science fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17573-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Tor Teen

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

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THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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A worthy successor to an explosive debut.

BLOODMARKED

From the Legendborn series , Vol. 2

After Awakening the dormant spirit of her ancestor King Arthur Pendragon, almost-17-year-old Briana Matthews must fight to learn and control her magical inheritances.

As a Black person who also possesses the ability to use Root, a form of magic borrowed from deceased practitioners and passed down to her through her mother’s family, Bree is unique in the Line of Pendragon. It is through blood and violence that Bree’s magical abilities intertwined—both those from Arthur’s Welsh origins and from her family’s Bloodcraft originating during chattel slavery in the American South. Together they have turned her into one of the most powerful people either Line has ever known. The intricacies of her navigation of her new powers are at the heart of this sequel to Legendborn (2020), especially as Bree balances the knowledge that her Blackness creates a critical distance between her and the racist people she is sworn to protect as the king of all Legendborns. The plot is complex, and the morsels of information that help fill in the gaps of knowledge don’t always feel fully formed, which may leave readers confused as they try to keep up with the new powers and beings that are presented. Still, there are important, if hard to read, references, for example, when Bree is kidnapped and experimented on by an all-White council, a turn of events that reflects Deonn’s commitment to presenting unflinching truths about the cyclical insidiousness of racism.

A worthy successor to an explosive debut. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4163-7

Page Count: 640

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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