A disappointing sequel that fails to capture the cohesiveness of the first book.

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SPLINTERED

A science-infused political sci-fi thriller.

The irrepressible Jimi continues to throw caution to the wind to help her chimera (humans who have enhanced their DNA with animal genes) friends in their fight for equality. A few months after the conclusion of Spliced (2017), Jimi finally reunites with love interest Rex, but when their friend Doctor Guzman is wrongfully arrested for a chimera’s death, the 17-year-old and her friends seek to clear his name and uncover the secrets behind the facility that last treated the deceased chimera. The heroine continues to rescue her modified friends with her ingenuity and bravery, which begins to grate due to predictability and reliance on tired tropes. All roads lead to tech billionaire Howard Wells, but he barely makes an appearance even though his reach is omnipresent. The romance fails to come to life and often falls in dated gender territory. Awkward dialogue and belabored exposition mar the otherwise effective exploration of relevant and timely issues, such as personhood, genetic experimentation, slave labor, and more. The long-lasting impact of prejudice and the evils that are perpetrated in its name are poignantly woven in with some success, but uneven pacing and characterization detract, and the worldbuilding falters to the point of distraction. A big reveal in the last chapter hints at more to come, but fans might not return for future entries.

A disappointing sequel that fails to capture the cohesiveness of the first book. (Science fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4090-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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Powerful, captivating, and raw—Adeyemi is a talent to watch. Exceptional

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CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE

From the Legacy of Orisha series , Vol. 1

Seventeen-year-old Zélie and companions journey to a mythic island seeking a chance to bring back magic to the land of Orïsha, in a fantasy world infused with the textures of West Africa.

Dark-skinned Zélie is a divîner—someone with latent magical abilities indicated by the distinctive white hair that sets them apart from their countrymen. She saves Princess Amari, who is on the run from her father, King Saran, after stealing the scroll that can transform divîners into magic-wielding maji, and the two flee along with Zélie’s brother. The scroll vanished 11 years ago during the king’s maji genocide, and Prince Inan, Amari’s brother, is sent in hot pursuit. When the trio learns that the impending solstice offers the only chance of restoring magic through a connection to Nana Baruku, the maternal creator deity, they race against time—and Inan—to obtain the final artifact needed for their ritual. Over the course of the book allegiances shift and characters grow, change, and confront traumas culminating in a cliffhanger ending that will leave readers anxiously awaiting the next installment. Well-drawn characters, an intense plot, and deft writing make this a strong story. That it is also a timely study on race, colorism, power, and injustice makes it great.

Powerful, captivating, and raw—Adeyemi is a talent to watch. Exceptional . (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17097-2

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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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

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