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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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Bound to be popular.

AN EMBER IN THE ASHES

From the Ember in the Ashes series , Vol. 1

A suddenly trendy trope—conflict and romance between members of conquering and enslaved races—enlivened by fantasy elements loosely drawn from Arabic tradition (another trend!).

In an original, well-constructed fantasy world (barring some lazy naming), the Scholars have lived under Martial rule for 500 years, downtrodden and in many cases enslaved. Scholar Laia has spent a lifetime hiding her connection to the Resistance—her parents were its leaders—but when her grandparents are killed and her brother’s captured by Masks, the eerie, silver-faced elite soldiers of the Martial Empire, Laia must go undercover as a slave to the terrifying Commandant of Blackcliff Military Academy, where Martials are trained for battle. Meanwhile, Elias, the Commandant’s not-at-all-beloved son, wants to run away from Blackcliff, until he is named an Aspirant for the throne by the mysterious red-eyed Augurs. Predictably, action, intrigue, bloodshed and some pounding pulses follow; there’s betrayal and a potential love triangle or two as well. Sometimes-lackluster prose and a slight overreliance on certain kinds of sexual violence as a threat only slightly diminish the appeal created by familiar (but not predictable) characters and a truly engaging if not fully fleshed-out fantasy world.

Bound to be popular. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: April 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-59514-803-2

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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