Longer than it should be, with a romance thread that’s dry as toast—but fans of genetic engineering and shadowy rebellions...

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AWAKENING

From the Tankborn series , Vol. 2

Despite clumsy prose, the second Tankborn entry presents exciting new mysteries about genetic engineering, illness and rebellions.

As a GEN (Genetically Engineered Non-human), Kayla ranks lowest in this caste-based society. The slightest insubordination on her part could prompt a trueborn to reset her—wipe away her soul and give her body a new personhood—or recycle her body for DNA. Driving around by lorry under the authority of a lowborn named Risa, Kayla uses her genetically strengthened arms to haul goods in and out of warehouses; she and Risa also carry information for the Kinship, a secret rebel network. This information travels inside Kayla’s annexed brain, a section inside every GEN’s brain that is accessed by hooking a datapod (painfully) to the tech-tattoo located on every GEN’s face. Sandler’s strength is suspense, elements of which include the medical mystery of a disease striking only GENs (Scratch is fatal and has bizarre properties), explosions in warehouses storing GEN food, wispy hints of a second revolt (even farther underground than the Kinship) and the web connecting it all. Unfortunately, the intriguing setup and plot are dulled by the telegraphing of some revelations miles in advance and the unsubtle, cumbersome prose that eschews simple pronouns.

Longer than it should be, with a romance thread that’s dry as toast—but fans of genetic engineering and shadowy rebellions will find much to like. (map, glossary) (Science fiction. 13 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-60060-982-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Tu Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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Powerful, captivating, and raw—Adeyemi is a talent to watch. Exceptional

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CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE

From the Legacy of Orisha series , Vol. 1

Seventeen-year-old Zélie and companions journey to a mythic island seeking a chance to bring back magic to the land of Orïsha, in a fantasy world infused with the textures of West Africa.

Dark-skinned Zélie is a divîner—someone with latent magical abilities indicated by the distinctive white hair that sets them apart from their countrymen. She saves Princess Amari, who is on the run from her father, King Saran, after stealing the scroll that can transform divîners into magic-wielding maji, and the two flee along with Zélie’s brother. The scroll vanished 11 years ago during the king’s maji genocide, and Prince Inan, Amari’s brother, is sent in hot pursuit. When the trio learns that the impending solstice offers the only chance of restoring magic through a connection to Nana Baruku, the maternal creator deity, they race against time—and Inan—to obtain the final artifact needed for their ritual. Over the course of the book allegiances shift and characters grow, change, and confront traumas culminating in a cliffhanger ending that will leave readers anxiously awaiting the next installment. Well-drawn characters, an intense plot, and deft writing make this a strong story. That it is also a timely study on race, colorism, power, and injustice makes it great.

Powerful, captivating, and raw—Adeyemi is a talent to watch. Exceptional . (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17097-2

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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