GOBLIN KING

From the Permafrost series , Vol. 2

A young woman goes to Hel and back to stop Ragnarök in this sequel to White Stag (2019).

Having survived the Hunt, goblin Soren rules as Erlking while once-human Janneke grapples with her role as the stag. Once master and servant, now lovers, both are struggling to take on their new responsibilities and overcome their many, many traumas. Raised as a male heir in a vaguely Viking-ish era and held as a Permafrost realm prisoner for 100 years, dark-skinned, green-eyed Janneke is as lethal as her former captors, the goblins, but capable of emotion. Now an untrained magic-user and unwilling recipient of apocalyptic visions, Janneke is also haunted by her abuser, Lydian…“literally,” as the characters would (and repeatedly, gratingly) say. Attempting to use—then exorcise—the liminal Lydian, Janneke and a small circle of trusted goblins dive deep into the Norse underworld. Unwaveringly, perhaps unbelievably, supportive Soren is pale and bluish-skinned, white-haired, and lilac-eyed—for goblins, read prettified Celtic elves or Scandinavian trolls, per the novel’s loose basis on and reinterpretation of traditional mythology. The setting, tone, and language are inconsistent and unclear, with the pre-industrial trappings repeatedly clashing with the innumerable, jarringly modern turns of phrase and copious profanities. Barbieri prominently features issues of abuse, disability, eating disorders, self-harm, and gender, but the quality of the writing does not support sensitive and nuanced exploration of these subjects.

An unpolished read. (Fantasy. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-24760-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 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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An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends.

RED QUEEN

From the Red Queen series , Vol. 1

Amid a war and rising civil unrest, a young thief discovers the shocking power within her that sparks a revolution.

At 17, Mare knows that without an apprenticeship or job, her next birthday will bring a conscription to join the war. She contributes to her poor family’s income the only way she can, stealing from the Silvers, who possess myriad powers and force her and her fellow Reds into servitude. The Silvers literally bleed silver, and they can manipulate metal, plants and animals, among many other talents. When Mare’s best friend, Kilorn, loses his job and is doomed to conscription, she is determined to change his fate. She stumbles into a mysterious stranger after her plan goes awry and is pulled out of her village and into the world of Silver royalty. Once inside the palace walls, it isn’t long before Mare learns that powers unknown to red-blooded humans lie within her, powers that could lead a revolution. Familiar tropes abound. Mare is revealed as a great catalyst for change among classes and is groomed from rags to riches, and of course, seemingly kind characters turn out to be foes. However, Aveyard weaves a compelling new world, and Mare and the two men in her life evolve intriguingly as class tension rises. Revolution supersedes romance, setting the stage for action-packed surprises.

An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-231063-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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