A bloody good way to end a trilogy.

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THE FOREVER SONG

From the Blood of Eden series , Vol. 3

Vampire Allie, one of the genre’s toughest heroines, returns with one last chance to save both vampire- and humankind in this conclusion to the Blood of Eden series.

The monstrous side of Allie’s vampire nature threatens to overwhelm her, numbing the pain she feels over losing Zeke to the mad vampire Sarren at the end of The Eternity Cure (2013). This disappoints her human sire, Kanin, although it delights Kanin’s other vampire spawn (and Allie’s blood brother), vicious, snarky Jackal. Bad-and-proud former villain Jackal brings needed laughs. The mismatched vampire family is in hot pursuit of Sarren, who created a mutated plague he calls Requiem to kill humans, vampires and the monstrous rabids alike. They must stop him before he reaches and destroys the human-only city of Eden, whose scientists have made the most progress toward a cure. While following Sarren is easy, finding food isn’t: Sarren’s slaughtering his way across the countryside, leaving no humans for them to feed from. Worse, he’s come up with a way to use Zeke to hurt Allie. But if the heroes allow Sarren’s diversions to slow them down, Eden could pay the price. And if Sarren’s virus escapes, all life (and unlife) is doomed. Stomach-churning gore and heart-pounding action balance the (occasionally repetitive) romantic angst and moral inquiries into the nature of monsters.

A bloody good way to end a trilogy.   (discussion questions) (Horror. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-373-21112-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning.

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SCYTHE

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 1

Two teens train to be society-sanctioned killers in an otherwise immortal world.

On post-mortal Earth, humans live long (if not particularly passionate) lives without fear of disease, aging, or accidents. Operating independently of the governing AI (called the Thunderhead since it evolved from the cloud), scythes rely on 10 commandments, quotas, and their own moral codes to glean the population. After challenging Hon. Scythe Faraday, 16-year-olds Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova reluctantly become his apprentices. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty. The vivid and often violent action unfolds slowly, anchored in complex worldbuilding and propelled by political machinations and existential musings. Scythes’ journal entries accompany Rowan’s and Citra’s dual and dueling narratives, revealing both personal struggles and societal problems. The futuristic post–2042 MidMerican world is both dystopia and utopia, free of fear, unexpected death, and blatant racism—multiracial main characters discuss their diverse ethnic percentages rather than purity—but also lacking creativity, emotion, and purpose. Elegant and elegiac, brooding but imbued with gallows humor, Shusterman’s dark tale thrusts realistic, likable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions.

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7242-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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Chilling, poignant, haunting, and, unfortunately, all too timely.

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THE GRACE YEAR

A rebellious 16-year-old is sent to an isolated island for her grace year, when she must release her seductive, poisonous magic into the wild before taking her proper place as a wife and child bearer.

In gaslit Garner County, women and girls are said to harbor diabolical magic capable of manipulating men. Dreaming, among other things, is forbidden, and before girls embark on their grace year, they hope to receive a veil, which promises marriage. Otherwise, it’s life in a labor house—or worse. Strong, outdoorsy, skeptical Tierney James doesn’t want to be married, but a shocking twist leaves her with a veil—and a dangerous enemy in the vindictive Kiersten. Thirty-three girls with red ribbons symbolizing sin woven into their braids set out to survive the island, but it won’t be easy. Poachers, who trade in the body parts of grace-year girls, surround the camp, and paranoia, superstition, and mistrust rule. Not everyone will make it home alive. The bones of Liggett’s (The Unfortunates, 2018, etc.) tale of female repression are familiar ones, but her immersive storytelling effortlessly weaves horror elements with a harrowing and surprising survival story. Profound moments lie in small details, and readers’ hearts will race and break right along with the brave, capable Tierney’s. The biggest changes often begin with the smallest rebellions, and the emotional conclusion will resonate. All characters are assumed white.

Chilling, poignant, haunting, and, unfortunately, all too timely. (Dystopian. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-14544-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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