High adventure, rakish humor, and just enough of the feels to get readers’ hearts racing.

THE IRON RAVEN

From the Iron Fey: Evenfall series , Vol. 1

A new monster invading the world of Faery unearths old hatred, betrayal, and heartache.

In this new trilogy set in the world of The Iron Fey stories, Robin Goodfellow, aka Puck, self-proclaimed World’s Greatest Prankster, is the protagonist. He is interrupted in his latest schemes by a chance encounter with Keirran, King of the Forgotten, who is attempting to contact his mother, the Iron Queen, about a disturbance in the Between. This sets off a quest that revisits beloved characters from previous books while introducing new ones. In the ensuing battles, Puck struggles with his cruel and savage past self and buried hurts. For the uninitiated, the steady stream of characters with complicated backstories and memories related to past books may at first appear daunting to digest. Kagawa, however, does an excellent job of pacing the introductions, connecting the relationship histories, and providing space for all these players to be fleshed out and interact with one another. While the sidhe are mostly described as being similar: “slender, beautiful, otherworldly, and pointy-eared,” with variations in hair and eye color, the story does go into some innate prejudice and bias against beings in different realms. There is no shortage of humor and action, as is to be expected when following Puck’s adventures. When the quips stop, readers know things are about to get serious.

High adventure, rakish humor, and just enough of the feels to get readers’ hearts racing. (Fantasy. 13-17)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-335-09176-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Bound to be popular.

AN EMBER IN THE ASHES

From the Ember in the Ashes series , Vol. 1

A suddenly trendy trope—conflict and romance between members of conquering and enslaved races—enlivened by fantasy elements loosely drawn from Arabic tradition (another trend!).

In an original, well-constructed fantasy world (barring some lazy naming), the Scholars have lived under Martial rule for 500 years, downtrodden and in many cases enslaved. Scholar Laia has spent a lifetime hiding her connection to the Resistance—her parents were its leaders—but when her grandparents are killed and her brother’s captured by Masks, the eerie, silver-faced elite soldiers of the Martial Empire, Laia must go undercover as a slave to the terrifying Commandant of Blackcliff Military Academy, where Martials are trained for battle. Meanwhile, Elias, the Commandant’s not-at-all-beloved son, wants to run away from Blackcliff, until he is named an Aspirant for the throne by the mysterious red-eyed Augurs. Predictably, action, intrigue, bloodshed and some pounding pulses follow; there’s betrayal and a potential love triangle or two as well. Sometimes-lackluster prose and a slight overreliance on certain kinds of sexual violence as a threat only slightly diminish the appeal created by familiar (but not predictable) characters and a truly engaging if not fully fleshed-out fantasy world.

Bound to be popular. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: April 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-59514-803-2

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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