Readers who enjoy action with plenty of twists and turns will find it hard to put this one down.

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GAME OF SECRETS

A Victorian-era thriller focusing on the Tainted, people with special physical and mental powers, in a secret agency protecting Queen and country.

Felicity Cole, 16, is the daughter of Greek immigrants who settled in Whitechapel in London. Her brother, Nate, is feared as one of the Tainted, people who possess special abilities expressed in a variety of ways. When a man kills Felicity’s boyfriend, Kit, Felicity beats him up and kills the servant who comes to his aid. It is only afterward that she realizes that she moved faster and was far stronger than she should have been: It’s not only her brother who is Tainted. Felicity is whisked away to Greybourne Academy, where she meets others like herself—and where they are trained to be spies and assassins. Will she be able to leave her old life behind, hard as it was, and begin a new one? Foster (A Brilliant Deception, 2015, etc.) creates an alternate world with a fast-paced plot, interesting characters (including the requisite mean girl), and a refreshingly well-adjusted male love interest with whom Felicity develops a healthy relationship. The book includes diversity in terms of England’s European immigrants.

Readers who enjoy action with plenty of twists and turns will find it hard to put this one down. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: July 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5107-1644-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 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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A lackluster take on a well-worn trope.

THE TWIN

After a family tragedy, 16-year-old Ivy Mason hopes to reconnect with her aloof identical twin sister, Iris—but Iris has other plans.

When Ivy’s parents divorced 10 years ago, Ivy stayed with her father while Iris went to live with their mother. When their mother dies after falling off a bridge while jogging, Iris comes to live with Ivy and their father. Narrator Ivy is reeling (she even goes to therapy), but Iris seems strangely detached, only coming to life when Ivy introduces her to her best friends, Haley and Sophie, and her quarterback boyfriend, Ty. However, Ivy isn’t thrilled when Iris wants to change her class schedule to match hers, and it’s not long before Iris befriends Ivy’s besties and even makes plans with them that don’t include Ivy. Iris even joins the swim team where Ivy is a star swimmer. As Iris’ strange behavior escalates, Ivy starts to suspect that their mother’s death might not have been an accident. Is Iris up to no good, or is Ivy just paranoid? In the end, readers may not care. There are few surprises to be found in a narrative populated by paper-thin characters stuck fast in a derivative plot. Even a jarring final twist can’t save this one. Most characters seem to be white, but there is some diversity in secondary characters.

A lackluster take on a well-worn trope. (Thriller. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12496-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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