A sparkling new fantasy dulled by an unconvincing romance.

BONE CRIER'S MOON

From the Bone Grace series , Vol. 1

In a world where sirens must kill their soul mates for honor, one wants to do the exact opposite.

Bone Criers—Ferriers among the Leurress—guide the dead to their afterlives in Elara’s Night Heavens or Tyrus’ Underworld, thus protecting mortals from their wrath. But to become a Ferrier, one must endure the rite of passage and sacrifice their amouré—one true love—to the gods. Ailesse, daughter of the Leurress’ matriarch, plans to kill her amouré immediately and avoid falling in love altogether. On the night she plays the bone flute to summon him, she meets Bastien—a boy thirsting for vengeance after witnessing his father’s death by a Bone Crier. After she is abducted by Bastien and his friends, her friend Sabine promises to rescue Ailesse, even if it means sacrificing animals and disobeying Leurress elders. Chapters alternate points of view, offering insight into the individual protagonists, but ultimately the characters are not well developed and are bound to the tropes Purdie (Frozen Reign, 2018, etc.) assigns them: Ailesse, an heiress who longs to please her obviously deceitful mother; Bastien, the predictable enemy-turned–love interest; and Sabine, the best friend who disappoints despite every opportunity to shine. The sudden appearance of a French dauphin during a messy climax sets readers up for another love triangle (the first involving Ailesse, Bastien, and his friend Jules). The cast is mostly white.

A sparkling new fantasy dulled by an unconvincing romance. (map) (Fantasy. 12-17)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-279877-0

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel,...

THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS

From the Girl of Fire and Thorns series , Vol. 1

Adventure drags our heroine all over the map of fantasyland while giving her the opportunity to use her smarts.

Elisa—Princess Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza of Orovalle—has been chosen for Service since the day she was born, when a beam of holy light put a Godstone in her navel. She's a devout reader of holy books and is well-versed in the military strategy text Belleza Guerra, but she has been kept in ignorance of world affairs. With no warning, this fat, self-loathing princess is married off to a distant king and is embroiled in political and spiritual intrigue. War is coming, and perhaps only Elisa's Godstone—and knowledge from the Belleza Guerra—can save them. Elisa uses her untried strategic knowledge to always-good effect. With a character so smart that she doesn't have much to learn, body size is stereotypically substituted for character development. Elisa’s "mountainous" body shrivels away when she spends a month on forced march eating rat, and thus she is a better person. Still, it's wonderfully refreshing to see a heroine using her brain to win a war rather than strapping on a sword and charging into battle.

Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel, reminiscent of Naomi Kritzer's Fires of the Faithful (2002), keeps this entry fresh. (Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-202648-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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