A sweeping, jumbled conclusion to this sci-fi trilogy that imagines the merging of soul with mind, good with evil, and life...

DREAM FOREVER

From the Dream Walker Trilogy series , Vol. 3

This conclusion to the Dream Walker trilogy brings Joshlyn full circle as she continues her struggle to save the three universes.

Josh, still uncomfortable with her role as True Dream Walker, nevertheless works nonstop to save dreamers from their nightmares, keep the universes (Death, Dream, and World) balanced, and bring Haley back from Death. Haley, seer of auras, who had a peripheral role in earlier outings, now takes center stage as he enters the Death universe and is terrorized by his corrupted twin, Ian. Peregrine has caused the Veil that separates the universes to shred, belching nightmares into the World. With uncertain motives, the evil genius Feodor still works with Josh while her ex-boyfriend Will plays tug of war with her heart. At the climax, Peregrine dreams up a kind of Romanesque Oz for the final battle and redemption of the largely white cast. Alloway does a good job weaving in previous key plot points, but readers would do well to read all three installments back-to-back so as not to forget the numerous twists and abundant characters. This final installment is laden with a pseudo-science of magnets and crystal gadgetry, a religious mishmash of angels and reincarnation, and pithy self-help reductionism: “Beneath the angry, controlling, manipulative monster he had become was just a man who wanted to feel safe.”

A sweeping, jumbled conclusion to this sci-fi trilogy that imagines the merging of soul with mind, good with evil, and life with death. (Paranormal romance. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-00125-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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A disappointing delivery on a potentially gripping second volume.

THE BALLAD OF NEVER AFTER

From the Once Upon a Broken Heart series , Vol. 2

Evangeline faces new dangers in her quest for happiness in this follow-up to 2021’s Once Upon a Broken Heart.

As Evangeline Fox seeks a cure for her poisoned husband, Prince Apollo, the enticing and infuriating Fate Jacks reappears, offering to save Apollo if she unlocks the Valory Arch. Remembering the long list of ills brought upon her by the Fate, Evangeline refuses. When the new heir arrives and Apollo wakes with a new curse and glowing red eyes, she is forced to delve into the mysteries of the Valors and find the arch’s four missing magical stones whose powers are luck, truth, mirth, and youth. The inclusion of expanded Valor lore alongside the preexisting blend of fairy-tale and paranormal creatures is intriguing and fits the overarching theme of storytelling as history. The ongoing use of emotions as a scale for displaying and determining one’s humanity, especially by Fates, is equally interesting. Unfortunately, the impact of Evangeline’s often amusing narration and numerous surprising plot twists is diluted by the meandering pacing, convoluted sensory descriptions, and close focus on Evangeline’s fluctuating attraction toward her potential love interests. Despite the positive emphasis on hope and happily-ever-afters, Evangeline’s romantic relationship with Jacks borders on manipulative and toxic. Evangeline reads White; side characters are fantasy diverse.

A disappointing delivery on a potentially gripping second volume. (map) (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-26842-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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A powerful tale of found family and first love.

SOME MISTAKES WERE MADE

After a year away, Ellis returns home to confront her past.

Graduating from high school far from everything familiar was not part of Ellis Truman’s original plans, but she nevertheless ended up spending her senior year with her aunt in California. In Indiana, Ellis practically grew up with the Albrey family and their three tightknit sons, Dixon, Tucker, and Easton. Now, Tucker wants her to return home for matriarch Sandry Albrey’s 50th birthday celebration on the Fourth of July—but Ellis is dreading seeing Easton, as they haven’t talked since she left. Chapters alternate between past and present, and much of the story unravels slowly: How did she come to live with the Albreys? What caused Ellis to then end up in San Diego? What happened in her relationship with Easton? Patient readers will find the heartfelt tension pays off. With her father in and out of jail and an absent mother, socio-economic differences separating Ellis from the middle-class Albreys don’t go unnoticed, and Ellis’ down-to-earth journey shows how she unpacks her feelings about her relationship with her parents. The slow-build romance is swoonworthy, and young adult fans of Colleen Hoover seeking emotional devastation and unforgettable characters will find much to enjoy here. Characters read as White.

A powerful tale of found family and first love. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-308853-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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