A decent kickoff to a post-apocalyptic series.

READ REVIEW

DARK TOMORROW

RISE OF THE CROW

From the Dark Tomorrow series , Vol. 1

Survivors of a calamitous event carry on.

It’s been some time since a deadly virus wiped out most of the world’s population. White teen Sawyer somehow survived, and he’s been on his own foraging for food and doing his best to stay alive, but there isn’t much purpose for him beyond that. Olive-skinned teen Sara survives with her father, Jacob, holed up in a location that is quickly running out of food. Circumstances push Sawyer and Sara out of their territories and on the road south, and eventually the two teens bump into one another and form a connection. More survivors emerge, and as a small community starts to take shape in a deserted Spanish Mission, relationships are tested and familial bonds are strained. The bloody and violent novel will certainly scratch an itch for readers who adore The Walking Dead and other post-apocalyptic fare, but the author doesn’t add anything new to this well-worn genre. The dialogue leaves much to be desired: Characters exposit and openly declare intent with little flourish or subtlety. The book’s strength is its tactical vision of a lawless disaster zone. Survivalists will find much to engage with here, and fans of political give-and-take will get something to chew on as well. A sequel is alluded to in the novel’s final moments, but the book contains a solid stand-alone story.

A decent kickoff to a post-apocalyptic series. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-948671-05-7

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Month9Books

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

more