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An entertaining jaunt.

An adventure for those who haven’t yet found their fairy-tale ending.

Now that Cinderella has married the prince, her older stepsister, Aralyn, has been forced to take on the household chores. Cinderella, now going by Princess Ellarose, seeks out Aralyn, who has had the benefit of an extensive education, for assistance with troubling diplomatic matters. The two discover a royal coup is brewing. When Aralyn’s ambitious mother decides to cut her losses and take her younger daughter, Divya, to a neighboring kingdom in pursuit of a suitor, abandoned Aralyn makes a desperate wish and meets her own fairy godmother, Lyra. Tall, fur-clad, and purple-skinned, Lyra reveals the existence of an ancient fey weapon that may be powerful enough to save the kingdom and get Aralyn back in good social standing. Aralyn and Vee, Ellarose’s loyal knight, set off together to find the three scattered pieces of the weapon, traveling through the danger-filled Mortel Mountains, ominous Silent Forest, and the Impassable Sea. At first mutually antagonistic, the two young women realize their overly demanding, abusive parents have given them similar outlooks on life. The worldbuilding is so expanded that the story’s fairy-tale origins add little; still, this is an interesting journey of self-discovery with plenty of magic, action, an enemies-to-lovers romance, and a strongly developed theme of becoming your own person despite your origins. Main characters are cued White.

An entertaining jaunt. (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: June 6, 2023

ISBN: 9781368039918

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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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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