Despite the potential whimsy of a circus adventure narrated by a shape-shifting mare, this more closely resembles a brutal,...

THE WANDERERS

Flo and her friends are but poor, lost circus performers—who shape-shift into animals and try to evade governmental capture.

Newly turned 16, orphaned shifter Flo is dreading her first circus performance. Alas for her, it's not optional; all of the shifter children who live with the circus must perform regularly as soon as they reach that age. Flo must take a turn like all the others, so after a false start, she takes the stage—not as a girl but as a magnificent mare. Like her boyfriend, Jett the bear, or her nemesis, Pru the tiger, Flo becomes an animal at will. In a modern world of cars and DVD players, the circus shifters live almost medievally, bound under the unkind leadership of the elders, three middle-aged lion shifters. Flo knows that if she leaves, she'll be vulnerable to hunters, government-funded paramilitary forces that are the modern legacy of sworn enemies who have been murdering shifters since time immemorial. So she tolerates the cruelty of her peers, learns to jump through a flaming hoop, and almost has hope for the future when disaster strikes. In a spare first-person, present-tense narration, Flo takes readers through a swoony romance with a massive body count.

Despite the potential whimsy of a circus adventure narrated by a shape-shifting mare, this more closely resembles a brutal, angst-drenched dystopia à la Veronica Roth's Divergent (2011) than anything else . (Fantasy. 13-15)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-63450-201-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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Even those who loved the first book might find too little logic in this conclusion

THE PACK

A group of shape-shifting runaways from the circus, on the run from genocidal hunters, tries to find a home.

Flo, her boyfriend, Jett, and the other shifters just want to find a strong pack to join. The teenagers (all either white or with no identified race) can all shift into an animal form: bears or tigers, parrots or rats, elephants or horses. The frightened escapees, who’ve lost many of their loved ones to hunters, have been seeking some safe place in the woods. The members of this huge cast (with too many names and animal forms to keep track of) have a wide array of agendas. Should they join the wild pack? The wolf pack? Should they even stay together? After brief dramas, many of these newly introduced characters vanish, never to be heard from again. Finally, Flo and the shifters are captured by hunters, who are in league with the lion who used to run their circus, who’d been betraying them for years and who now seeks to strike a bargain. Further dramatic revelations and betrayals await, of course. There’s no attempt to summarize the events of The Wanderers (2015), and with so many characters, side quests, and double crosses, it’s often difficult to keep track.

Even those who loved the first book might find too little logic in this conclusion . (Fantasy. 13-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5107-1218-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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Though it’s a bit of a slog, readers of Book 1 will find it worth the time for its unexpected conclusion

THE SHADOW'S CURSE

A lost prince and his ladylove must defeat the tyrant rampaging over the steppes with an army of enslaved spirits in this sequel to The Oathbreaker’s Shadow (2015).

Raim is haunted by the spirit of his best friend, Khareh—a spirit that appeared when Raim accidentally broke an oath made by another, leaving him magically marked and exiled from his nomadic tribe as an oathbreaker. Khareh yet lives, but with the best part of himself lost in the spirit, his ambition has become megalomania. Not content to be khan of his tribe alone, Khareh aims to join all the northern nomads into one massive khanate. Raim seeks control over his spirit but also yearns to rescue Wadi, the dark-skinned desert girl to whom he's given his heart. Wadi is Khareh's captive, and she is more than capable of freeing herself from the cruel young khan; nevertheless she must stay a captive. It's her destiny to make a king of Raim, she learns from a blind seer in one of the stalest tropes of superpowered disability. Raim, Khareh, and Wadi travel all over the steppes of Darhan, giving a solid glimpse of this fantasy world roughly based on the lives of Mongolian nomads. A dense narrative of tiny chapters with shifting points of view leaves little time to become invested in each character's journey.

Though it’s a bit of a slog, readers of Book 1 will find it worth the time for its unexpected conclusion . (Fantasy. 13-15)

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7387-4512-1

Page Count: 456

Publisher: Flux

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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