Tragic, devastating, horrifying, enthralling.

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TWO DARK REIGNS

From the Three Dark Crowns series , Vol. 3

In the third entry in a pitch-black fantasy quartet, everyone acts with the best of intentions—and everything goes terribly, terribly wrong.

Katharine, newly Queen Crowned of Fennbirn, just wants a peaceful, prosperous reign, but the people fear her, the vengeful spirits strengthening her urge ever more dreadful deeds, and even the eldritch mist protecting the island has seemingly turned against its inhabitants. Jules Milone wishes only to learn more about her cursed legion gift, but the warriors and oracles insist she lead their rebellion, defying the prophecy that she may be the island’s doom. Mirabella and Arsinoe try desperately to conform to the patriarchal culture of their mainland refuge, but visions of a centuries-gone Blue Queen demand their return. The barrage of intrigue, betrayals, spells, portents, and grisly violence unleashed in this volume almost overwhelms, as multiple viewpoints follow several intertwining plotlines, both epic and intimate, across present and past. Blake’s (One Dark Throne, 2017, etc.) elegant, understated prose unfolds new facets of the island’s culture, revealing sinister truths behind pious legends. The richly-drawn characters default to white and mostly heterosexual (although at least one culture celebrates bisexuality). Some take comfort in male lovers living or dead, but the narrative is mostly driven by the complicated relationships between strong, vibrant women: mothers and daughters, friends and rivals, Goddess and priestess, and—above all—sisters.

Tragic, devastating, horrifying, enthralling. (cast of characters, map) (Fantasy. 14 -adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-268614-5

Page Count: 464

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell...

SIX OF CROWS

Adolescent criminals seek the haul of a lifetime in a fantasyland at the beginning of its industrial age.

The dangerous city of Ketterdam is governed by the Merchant Council, but in reality, large sectors of the city are given over to gangs who run the gambling dens and brothels. The underworld's rising star is 17-year-old Kaz Brekker, known as Dirtyhands for his brutal amorality. Kaz walks with chronic pain from an old injury, but that doesn't stop him from utterly destroying any rivals. When a councilman offers him an unimaginable reward to rescue a kidnapped foreign chemist—30 million kruge!—Kaz knows just the team he needs to assemble. There's Inej, an itinerant acrobat captured by slavers and sold to a brothel, now a spy for Kaz; the Grisha Nina, with the magical ability to calm and heal; Matthias the zealot, hunter of Grishas and caught in a hopeless spiral of love and vengeance with Nina; Wylan, the privileged boy with an engineer's skills; and Jesper, a sharpshooter who keeps flirting with Wylan. Bardugo broadens the universe she created in the Grisha Trilogy, sending her protagonists around countries that resemble post-Renaissance northern Europe, where technology develops in concert with the magic that's both coveted and despised. It’s a highly successful venture, leaving enough open questions to cause readers to eagerly await Volume 2.

Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family . (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-212-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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