Not a highflyer but fans will flock to it regardless.

THE CROW RIDER

From the Storm Crow series , Vol. 2

The follow-up to the debut duology that began with The Storm Crow (2019).

The titular magical crows, large enough to ride, were once the cornerstone of Rhodaire’s power until they were all killed in the violent attack that launched the war and nearly destroyed Princess Thia. But now Thia has successfully hatched one of the few remaining crow eggs, fled evil queen Razel’s grip, and fought free of her own depression, leaving behind Razel’s son Prince Ericen, the enemy and fiance Thia can’t forget. Uneven pacing with a glacial opening eventually giving way to a rushed climax and some striking tonal shifts (especially scenes with the smirking, bantering Ericen) detract from notable original details, particularly the way mental health is deeply interwoven in the characters of Thia and her crow, Res. Thia must constantly grapple with the cost of violence, trying to choose mercy but finding it backfires on her, which conveniently propels significant plot movement. Overreliance on trite similes and centrally cast side characters, like the vaguely Asian Auma, who dispenses sage advice over steaming tea, are somewhat balanced by the generally diverse world, with named characters of varied skin tones and sexual orientations and gender identities (Thia is brown-skinned and straight).

Not a highflyer but fans will flock to it regardless. (map, guide to characters/setting) (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: July 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7296-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre.

SHATTER ME

A dystopic thriller joins the crowded shelves but doesn't distinguish itself.

Juliette was torn from her home and thrown into an asylum by The Reestablishment, a militaristic regime in control since an environmental catastrophe left society in ruins. Juliette’s journal holds her tortured thoughts in an attempt to repress memories of the horrific act that landed her in a cell. Mysteriously, Juliette’s touch kills. After months of isolation, her captors suddenly give her a cellmate—Adam, a drop-dead gorgeous guy. Adam, it turns out, is immune to her deadly touch. Unfortunately, he’s a soldier under orders from Warner, a power-hungry 19-year-old. But Adam belongs to a resistance movement; he helps Juliette escape to their stronghold, where she finds that she’s not the only one with superhuman abilities. The ending falls flat as the plot devolves into comic-book territory. Fast-paced action scenes convey imminent danger vividly, but there’s little sense of a broader world here. Overreliance on metaphor to express Juliette’s jaw-dropping surprise wears thin: “My mouth is sitting on my kneecaps. My eyebrows are dangling from the ceiling.” For all of her independence and superpowers, Juliette never moves beyond her role as a pawn in someone else’s schemes.

Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-208548-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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

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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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