PLASTIC GIRL

From the Plastic Girl series , Vol. 1

An eerie and somewhat elusive SF tale that takes plastic recycling to a new level.

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In Maison’s YA SF novel set on a flooded future Earth, a teenager learns that plastic waste in the water has evolved—and that she can create new life out of it.

On a planet wracked by pollution, flooding, and mass starvation, organized society has collapsed and countless orphaned children must fend for themselves. Eva, who’s 16, has been foraging on her own in a coastal environment. While exploring an island, she finds that the ubiquitous bits of plastic detritus floating in the water have somehow mutated into a wormlike form of life. She also discovers that she can shape these figurines into lifelike recreations of other fauna, including fish, butterflies, and raccoons. Such synthetic creations only come to full life on or near the mysterious island. Jacob, a refugee boy who may be in league with some threatening people, steals Eva’s boat, leaving her stranded there. She eventually dares to build other young people out of the worms, leaving her with a fully sentient “sister” named Iris, among other companions. The humanoids seem friendly and comforting, but it turns out that the “plastic people” can manufacture other people of their own—and Eva finds a male specimen, portentously named Cain, to be threatening. Readers may find the preponderance of pseudo-Biblical names to be a bit distracting over the course of this novel. However, Maison has crafted an enigmatic, surreal SF castaway tale that ultimately pays off with a suspenseful account of a fight for survival. It manages to leave more than enough questions unanswered to allow for follow-up installments. The YA target audience may appreciate the fact that the spooky narrative, which is sometimes reminiscent of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, never becomes childish in tone, even when venturing into the dicey territory of tormented teen love in fantastic circumstances.

An eerie and somewhat elusive SF tale that takes plastic recycling to a new level.

Pub Date: April 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-9995707-7-7

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Wicked Tree Press

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2020

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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

RUTHLESS VOWS

From the Letters of Enchantment series , Vol. 2

The well-paced romantic tension is a highlight of this enjoyable duology closer.

Even a war driven by gods can’t sever communication between journalist lovers Iris and Roman in this steampunk-adjacent romantic adventure.

A prologue sets the scene: Dacre, a god strummed to sleep by magic in Divine Rivals (2023), will not slumber forever. His willingness to wage war to acquire more powerful magic leads him to lay waste to entire towns, and Inkridden Tribune journalist Iris Winnow and war correspondent Roman Kitt can no longer be assured the other is safe—or even still alive. In Iris’ world of cigarette smoke, copper pipes, and driving goggles, colleagues affectionately call each other by their last names, watch each other’s backs, and face danger on the front lines. Though Underling Correspondent Roman is traveling with Dacre’s army, he questions why he was healed of his grievous wounds, while at the same time, he gradually recovers memories of Iris and recalls that she was special to him. Their magically connected typewriters allow for the rediscovery of their love and for communicating potentially deadly information about the invasion of Hawk Shire. The story primarily unfolds from Iris’ and Roman’s viewpoints, and while the prose occasionally uses well-worn phrases, Anglophiles will particularly enjoy the worldbuilding, and returning readers will welcome appearances from Capt. Keegan Torres; her wife, Marisol; and Dacre’s archnemesis—and wife—the goddess Enva. Main characters present white.

The well-paced romantic tension is a highlight of this enjoyable duology closer. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9781250857453

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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