Though derivative, this new dystopian novel ultimately engages with its blurring of lines between medieval castles and...

RECKONING

From the Silver Blackthorn Trilogy series , Vol. 1

Selected as an Offering to the king, one teenage girl discovers the truth behind her country’s revered leader and attempts to expose him in this nail-biting dystopian adventure.

Every July, as part of the celebration that marks the end of the war, all 16-year-olds must face the Reckoning, a mysterious test that classifies each of them as an Elite, Member, Intermediate or Trog. Beyond assignment to jobs and social statuses, those in the Reckoning also risk inclusion in the pool of thirty Offerings to King Victor. No one knows what being an Offering entails. Silver Blackthorn, a tech-savvy girl from the Northern Realm, learns firsthand the disturbing truth behind the mystery. Brutality lies in wait at every camera-studded corner in Middle England, and a friend made today may be gone tomorrow. Silver quickly realizes the only way to survive is to escape from Windsor Castle. Though Wilkinson frames this trilogy opener with heavy nods to tropes popularized in Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy, the plot soon veers into a briskly paced escape mission. Hints at romance fall flat, but there’s true joy in Silver’s evolving friendships and the game-changing spirit of camaraderie they inspire.

Though derivative, this new dystopian novel ultimately engages with its blurring of lines between medieval castles and sci-fi technology. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-250-05353-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic.

ALL OUR HIDDEN GIFTS

An Irish teen grapples with past misdeeds and newfound ties to magic.

When 16-year-old Maeve discovers a deck of tarot cards stashed with a mixtape of moody indie music from 1990, she starts giving readings for her classmates at her all-girls private school. Though her shame over dumping her strange friend Lily during an attempt to climb the social ladder at St. Bernadette’s is still palpable, it doesn’t stop her from trying to use the tarot in her favor to further this goal. However, after speaking harsh words to Lily during a reading, Maeve is horrified when her former friend later disappears. As she struggles to understand the forces at play within her, classmate Fiona proves to be just the friend Maeve needs. Detailed, interesting characters carry this contemporary story of competing energy and curses. Woven delicately throughout are chillingly eerie depictions of the Housekeeper, a figure who shows up on an extra card in the deck, echoing the White Lady legend from Irish folklore. Even more disturbing is an organization of young people led by a homophobic but charismatic figurehead intent on provoking backlash against Ireland’s recent civil rights victories. Most characters are White; Fiona is biracial, with a Filipina mother and White Irish father. Roe, Maeve’s love interest and Lily’s sibling, is a bisexual, genderqueer person who is a target for intolerance in their small city of Kilbeg.

An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic. (Paranormal. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1394-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

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THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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