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SUNS WILL RISE

From the System Divine series , Vol. 3

A thoroughly stirring, romantic, and epic conclusion.

Two philosophically distinct rebel groups race to draw Laterre’s citizens to their respective causes before the planet’s highest-ranking military leader can claim the throne for himself.

Three months have passed since the megalomaniac Gen. Bonnefaçon’s plot to weaponize the Third Estate’s implanted tech was thwarted. But because the narrator protagonists and their allies failed to expose the general, his influence has only grown, and the violent Red Scar extremists are unwittingly aiding him by murdering other contenders for the throne. Meanwhile, street-smart Chatine and her long-lost younger brother chafe under the peaceful Vangarde rebels’ security protocols; Marcellus is consumed by the search for Alouette, who’s been revealed as the sole living heir to the planet’s ruling family; and Alouette herself is the general’s captive and is being tortured for rebel intelligence. Themes and events from Les Misérables are seamlessly reimagined in this suspenseful, action-packed space opera. The protagonists grapple with sophisticated questions of destiny, genetics, power, and humanity in the face of widespread desperation and misinformation, leading to an unexpected and pitch-perfect final standoff between the general and civilian rebels. The expansive worldbuilding—after all, Laterre is only one of 12 planets in the System Divine—leaves room for future stories following this trilogy closer. Few physical descriptors are used; primary characters read as White.

A thoroughly stirring, romantic, and epic conclusion. (maps, Book 2 overview, cast list) (Science fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-7443-7

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 25, 2021

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IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

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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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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