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

PLASTIC GIRL

From the Plastic Girl series , Vol. 1

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

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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Sure to please fans of the author and of the vampire-romance genre.

THE BEAUTIFUL

From the Beautiful series , Vol. 1

Forbidden love is tested by suspicion and murder in this latest addition to YA vampire lore.

Celine Rousseau, a French and Asian (mother’s exact origins unknown) seamstress, sails from Europe to America in hopes of leaving her shadowy past behind. En route, she bonds with Pippa, a white English émigrée, and both girls find refuge in an Ursuline convent. Celine’s talent as a couturier leads to a commission from Odette, a beautiful member of the opulent-yet-mysterious Cour des Lions, where students of the occult practice their craft unmolested. Before long, Celine is swept up in a world of mystical forces centering around Sébastien Saint Germain, an enigmatic aristocrat to whom she is irresistibly attracted. When a fellow convent member is found murdered, Celine suspects all her acquaintances, including Sébastien. The novel, wading into the waters of forbidden romance between teenage girl and hunky immortal vampire previously navigated by Buffy Summers and Bella Swan, feels less magical than it should despite the lush Victorian-era New Orleans setting. At times the mounting attraction between Bastien and Celine is told rather than shown, which makes the central relationship feel forced rather than organic and passion filled. Ahdieh (Smoke in the Sun, 2018, etc.) brings New Orleans vibrantly to life, particularly when exploring the complicated racial and gender restrictions of high society through main and supporting characters of mixed-race origin.

Sure to please fans of the author and of the vampire-romance genre. (Fantasy. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-3817-4

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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