The ideas—extreme control of women and their sexuality—are more successful than the story’s execution.

THE GLASS ARROW

A teenage girl raised free in the wild struggles to escape the fate of city girls—being auctioned for breeding.

Aya’s captured during a brutal attack and brought to the city, where she’s placed in a holding facility for unpurchased virgins. City girls, raised on “meal supplement pills,” aren’t as fertile as wild girls, so Aya’s a hot commodity, making it imperative that she sabotage her chances of purchase. Acting out to avoid going to auction, she is punished with solitary confinement. In solitary, she meets a Driver (odd, mute mountain people who handle horses and are viewed as a lower life form) and forms a strange friendship with him. After failed escape attempts result in stricter surveillance by the biologically enhanced Watchers, quick-thinking Aya hatches a last-minute (hilarious) plan during the auction—and it might have worked if the mayor’s son hadn’t also found it funny. Aya has just moments to be rescued by the Driver from life as property. A forced gynecological-exam scene that’s horrifying but not explicit is the most graphic sexual content, enhancing the terror of the culture’s implied, off-page rapes. The culture and world are vaguely drawn, suffering from dropped plotlines, convoluted rules and poorly defined settings. The ending neither screams sequel nor especially satisfies.

The ideas—extreme control of women and their sexuality—are more successful than the story’s execution. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7653-3661-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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

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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A dark and enthralling journey.

VESPERTINE

In a land threatened by violent spirits, a girl with a haunted past unleashes an ancient entity from a holy relic and strikes a deal for the power to save her home.

Ever since the Sorrow, the dead no longer pass on peacefully. Without the intervention of the Clerisy of the Gray Lady, they roam as destructive spirits. Artemisia of Naimes, gifted with the ability to see the spirits, never intends to leave her convent, where the walls protect her from possession and (Lady forbid) social interaction. Her plans crumble when a group of possessed soldiers attack her home. Reluctantly, Artemisia unseals a legendary relic, binding herself to a revenant, an undead being with immense power. Untrained in controlling spirits and desperate to protect her home, she bargains with the revenant to help her. Amid escalating danger and an unfolding mystery, Rogerson unveils a grim and intriguing world with a rich, plot-relevant history inspired by late-medieval France. In addition to the White protagonist, the narration describes several secondary characters with brown skin; the revenant is identified as “it,” while human characters in this world adhere to a gender binary. Artemisia experiences dynamic character growth as her understandings of trauma, history, and morality shift. Although she remains socially avoidant, she learns to value friendship. A satisfying but open-ended resolution demands for the story to continue.

A dark and enthralling journey. (glossary) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-7711-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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