An adaptation of a YA classic that is sure to draw in new fans.

GRACELING

THE GRAPHIC NOVEL

A fresh version of the story of the Graceling Realm’s beginnings.

In the Seven Kingdoms, some people are born with Graces, or unusually strong natural abilities. Lady Katsa, who is Graced with killing, works as a heavy for her uncle the king while secretly leading an underground council who oppose him. When she befriends charming Prince Po, a Graced fighter, the two uncover the threat posed by a neighboring king with a Grace even more dangerous than Katsa’s own. This is at its heart much more than just an adventure story: It is a story that looks at consent and power over others and a romance between two people dealing with the ways control over themselves affects the larger world—and their hearts as well. Above all, it is the tale of Katsa’s journey to realizing she may not be the monster she was always told she was. Po’s openness hides painful secrets, Katsa struggles to understand her own needs, and their love grows from mutual respect. Exploring emotional specificity within a fantastical world, Cashore’s singular voice shines through. Hinds’ expressive, detailed, full-color art serves the tone of the story well, and although some beloved moments have been sacrificed in this restructuring, the sweeping landscapes and dynamic action sequences add new layers. Most characters read White; the Lienid people, like Po, have light-brown skin.

An adaptation of a YA classic that is sure to draw in new fans. (author's note) (Graphic fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-25042-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Etch/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 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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A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning.

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SCYTHE

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 1

Two teens train to be society-sanctioned killers in an otherwise immortal world.

On post-mortal Earth, humans live long (if not particularly passionate) lives without fear of disease, aging, or accidents. Operating independently of the governing AI (called the Thunderhead since it evolved from the cloud), scythes rely on 10 commandments, quotas, and their own moral codes to glean the population. After challenging Hon. Scythe Faraday, 16-year-olds Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova reluctantly become his apprentices. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty. The vivid and often violent action unfolds slowly, anchored in complex worldbuilding and propelled by political machinations and existential musings. Scythes’ journal entries accompany Rowan’s and Citra’s dual and dueling narratives, revealing both personal struggles and societal problems. The futuristic post–2042 MidMerican world is both dystopia and utopia, free of fear, unexpected death, and blatant racism—multiracial main characters discuss their diverse ethnic percentages rather than purity—but also lacking creativity, emotion, and purpose. Elegant and elegiac, brooding but imbued with gallows humor, Shusterman’s dark tale thrusts realistic, likable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions.

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7242-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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