A page-turner that promises future intrigue, special powers, and dragon adventures

BEFORE SHE IGNITES

From the Fallen Isles series , Vol. 1

In this series debut, a young girl uncovers information that threatens to shake the foundation of her world.

Mira Minkoba is known as the Hope-bearer. On the day she was born, a treaty uniting the six island-nations of the Fallen Isles was named after her. As the face and voice of the Luminary Council, her island’s governing body, Mira lives life in a gilded cage. The only time she feels free is when she’s with the dragons in the sanctuary. When Mira and her friends uncover a sinister plot involving the dragons, Mira takes it to the Luminary Council, but instead of addressing it, they banish her to the Pit, a tightly guarded underground prison. Faced with crippling anxiety, strange cellmates, and a cruel guard who will stop at nothing to uncover her secrets, Mira must keep her wits about her to survive, especially as it becomes clear that the dragon plot goes deeper than she ever imagined. In this first of the Fallen Isles Trilogy, Meadows sows the seeds for an exciting follow-up and creates a rich, vivid world with characters who blossom on the page. All of the novel’s characters are brown, but so far this detail—punctuated with numerous mentions of hair and braids—feels surface deep; however, there is variance in culture from island to island, and as the novel progresses, discrimination becomes a topic of concern in the Fallen Isles. Meadows also hints at other clans and kingdoms beyond the six island nations.

A page-turner that promises future intrigue, special powers, and dragon adventures . (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-246940-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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A lushly written story with an intriguing heart.

ONCE UPON A BROKEN HEART

From the Once Upon a Broken Heart series , Vol. 1

After praying to a Fate for help, Evangeline discovers the dangerous world of magic.

When her father passes away, Evangeline is left with her cold stepmother and kind but distant stepsister, Marisol. Despite inheriting a steady trust in magic, belief in her late mother’s homeland of the mystical North (where fantastical creatures live), and philosophy of hope for the future, her dreams are dashed when Luc, her love, pledges to marry Marisol instead. Evangeline desperately prays to the Prince of Hearts, a dangerous and fickle Fate famed for his heart that is waiting to be revived by his one true love—and his potentially lethal kisses. The bargain they strike sends her on a dark and magical journey throughout the land. The writing style fluctuates from clever and original to overly verbose and often confusing in its jumble of senses. While the pervasive magic and concept of the Fates as a religious system add interest, other fantasy elements are haphazardly incorporated without enough time devoted to building a cohesive world. However, the themes of love, the power of story, family influence, and holding onto belief are well rounded and add depth. The plot contains welcome surprises, and the large cast piques curiosity; readers will wish more time was spent getting to know them. Evangeline has rose-gold hair and, like other main characters, reads as White; there is diversity among the fantasy races in this world.

A lushly written story with an intriguing heart. (map) (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26839-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Not quite the wild ride of Skyward (2018) but still great fun.

STARSIGHT

From the Skyward series , Vol. 2

As if the threat of huge, raging monsters from hyperspace isn’t scary enough, hotshot fighter pilot Spensa Nightshade becomes embroiled in an alien empire’s politics.

On a desperate mission to steal hyperdrive technology from the crablike invading Krell who are threatening to destroy her beleaguered home colony on Detritus, Spensa, who is white, holographically disguises herself as a violet-skinned UrDail and slips into a Krell pilot training program for “lesser species.” The discovery that she’s being secretly trained not to fight planet-destroying delvers but to exterminate humans, who are (with some justification, having kindled three interstellar wars in past centuries) regarded in certain quarters as an irrationally aggressive species, is just one in a string of revelations as, in between numerous near-death experiences on practice flights, she struggles to understand both her own eerie abilities and the strange multispecies society in which she finds herself. There are so many characters besides Spensa searching for self-identity—notably her comic-relief sidekick AI M-Bot, troubled human friend Jorgen back on Detritus, and Morriumur, member of a species whose color-marked sexes create trial offspring—that even with a plot that defaults to hot action and escalating intrigue the pacing has a stop and start quality. Still, Spensa’s habitual over-the-top recklessness adds a rousing spark, and the author folds in plenty of banter as well as a colorful supporting cast.

Not quite the wild ride of Skyward (2018) but still great fun. (Science fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-55581-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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