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

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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Sure to please fans of the author and of the vampire-romance genre.

THE BEAUTIFUL

From the Beautiful series , Vol. 1

Forbidden love is tested by suspicion and murder in this latest addition to YA vampire lore.

Celine Rousseau, a French and Asian (mother’s exact origins unknown) seamstress, sails from Europe to America in hopes of leaving her shadowy past behind. En route, she bonds with Pippa, a white English émigrée, and both girls find refuge in an Ursuline convent. Celine’s talent as a couturier leads to a commission from Odette, a beautiful member of the opulent-yet-mysterious Cour des Lions, where students of the occult practice their craft unmolested. Before long, Celine is swept up in a world of mystical forces centering around Sébastien Saint Germain, an enigmatic aristocrat to whom she is irresistibly attracted. When a fellow convent member is found murdered, Celine suspects all her acquaintances, including Sébastien. The novel, wading into the waters of forbidden romance between teenage girl and hunky immortal vampire previously navigated by Buffy Summers and Bella Swan, feels less magical than it should despite the lush Victorian-era New Orleans setting. At times the mounting attraction between Bastien and Celine is told rather than shown, which makes the central relationship feel forced rather than organic and passion filled. Ahdieh (Smoke in the Sun, 2018, etc.) brings New Orleans vibrantly to life, particularly when exploring the complicated racial and gender restrictions of high society through main and supporting characters of mixed-race origin.

Sure to please fans of the author and of the vampire-romance genre. (Fantasy. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-3817-4

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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