Prickly yet endearing Ridley makes a sturdy anchor for this expansion of the Caster world; fans will be pleased.

DANGEROUS CREATURES

From the Dangerous Creatures series , Vol. 1

This spinoff/continuation of the supernatural Beautiful Creatures (2009) world focuses on bad-girl Siren Ridley Duchannes.

The summer after the Gatlin, South Carolina, crew graduates high school, they share one last night of bonding before going their separate ways. Link’s created a hilarious religious-college hoax as cover for heading to New York City in pursuit of musical stardom. Ridley, Link’s on-again, off-again girlfriend, hitches a ride with him out of town—he thinks it’s for love, but she has her own agenda. At a Caster underworld club called Suffer, she lost a high-stakes game of Liar’s Trade. She owes a band a new drummer—luckily, Link is a drummer in need of a band—and to club owner Lennox Gates she owes one marker. Paying one debt, Ridley hooks up Link with the band—he gets on great with them, they not so much with her—and then tries to live as a regular person to please Link, who grows ever more suspicious of her secretive behavior. Sections related from Lennox’s perspective reveal dead antagonist Abraham Ravenwood’s plots against the heroes from beyond the grave. Readers new to Stohl and Garcia’s world, even those who have read the original novels but not the Dangerous Dreams novella e-book, may be disoriented despite the slow pace. Overall, the characters charm, and for hooked readers, the ending promises a sequel.

Prickly yet endearing Ridley makes a sturdy anchor for this expansion of the Caster world; fans will be pleased. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)

Pub Date: May 20, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-316-37031-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2014

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An epic series opener of old-school high fantasy catering to modern audiences.

REALM BREAKER

When the realm is in danger, only a small band of misfits can save Allward.

An in medias res prologue, told from the point of view of the lone squire accompanying the 12 Companions of the Realm, tosses readers into the thick of a quest. Half the Companions are human heroes and half are immortal Elders; they seek to stop a rogue thief and his wizard accomplice from using a magical Spindle to tear a passage between worlds for nefarious ends. A disastrous battle sends squire Andry fleeing with Cortael’s sword so villain Taristan can’t get his hands on it. Grieving Elder Dom requires both a person of Corblood (a descendant of human travelers from another realm) and the Spindleblade Andry protects to stop Taristan from bringing ruin to the realm. Dom seeks Cortael’s secret daughter, Corayne, a bright but sheltered teenager with a pirate mother. At times the narrative tension is undermined by flashbacks that readers already know the conclusions to and by occasional repetition caused by the multiple point-of-view jumps, but there’s a wide variety of action scenes, daring escapes, and betrayals. Many tropes and character types are familiar, but exquisite descriptions and clashing motivations result in a nuanced, sprawling realm with a sense of complicated history. This world is highly diverse in terms of both skin tone and in the refreshing range of roles female characters inhabit.

An epic series opener of old-school high fantasy catering to modern audiences. (map) (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-287262-3

Page Count: 576

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

CROOKED KINGDOM

From the Six of Crows series , Vol. 2

This hefty sequel to Six of Crows (2015) brings high-tension conclusions to the many intertwined intrigues of Ketterdam.

It's time for revenge—has been ever since old-before-his-time crook Kaz and his friends were double-crossed by the merchant princes of Ketterdam, an early-industrial Amsterdam-like fantasy city filled to the brim with crime and corruption. Disabled, infuriated, and perpetually scheming Kaz, the light-skinned teen mastermind, coordinates the efforts to rescue Inej. Though Kaz is loath to admit weakness, Inej is his, for he can't bear any harm come to the knife-wielding, brown-skinned Suli acrobat. Their team is rounded out by Wylan, a light-skinned chemist and musician whose merchant father tried to have him murdered and who can't read due to a print disability; Wylan's brown-skinned biracial boyfriend, Jesper, a flirtatious gambler with ADHD; Nina, the pale brunette Grisha witch and recovering addict from Russia-like Ravka; Matthias, Nina's national enemy and great love, a big, white, blond drüskelle warrior from the cold northern lands; and Kuwei, the rescued Shu boy everyone wants to kidnap. Can these kids rescue everyone who needs rescuing in Ketterdam's vile political swamp? This is dark and violent—one notable scene features a parade of teens armed with revolvers, rifles, pistols, explosives, and flash bombs—but gut-wrenchingly genuine. Astonishingly, Bardugo keeps all these balls in the air over the 500-plus pages of narrative.

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-213-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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