WINTERKEEP

From the Graceling Realm series , Vol. 4

Return to the Graceling Realm in this follow-up to Bitterblue (2012).

Five years ago, Queen Bitterblue of Monsea was picking up the pieces of her kingdom after the horrific rule of her disturbed father, King Leck. Now, contact has been made with a new continent, Torla. The closest country, Winterkeep, is a democratic republic with eco-friendly airships and telepathic animals. The story shifts among five third-person perspectives: Bitterblue; Giddon, who appeared in Graceling (2008); Lovisa, the teen daughter of the Keepish president; a telepathic fox named Adventure; and a mysterious 13-tentacled undersea creature. En route to Winterkeep, Bitterblue is assumed to have drowned but she’s actually been kidnapped. Meanwhile, Lovisa (who’s skilled at spying) attempts to uncover her parents’ secrets while processing new revelations about them—and herself. Cashore excels at finely drawn characters and realistic portrayals of toxic parents’ effect on their children. While the focus on the themes of sex and environmentalism risks veering too heavily into didacticism, this worthy addition to the series is sure to excite fans who, after eight years, may not have dared hope for another installment. This is both a timely primer on the dangers of a politically divided society and a good story. Keepish people are brown-skinned; half-Lienid Bitterblue is light-brown skinned; and Monseans are fair-skinned.

A keeper. (map, note to the reader, cast of characters) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8037-4150-8

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A wild ride both fantastical and grounded in nuance.

RULE OF WOLVES

From the King of Scars Duology series , Vol. 2

Following King of Scars (2019), the world’s a powder keg of political hostilities and existential threats.

In a juggling act between viewpoint characters, readers follow far-ranging intrigues inside countries, between countries, and between individuals. King Nikolai faces imminent threats from Fjerda, rumors of his bastardy that threaten to dethrone him, complicated trade relations with both Zemeni and Kerch, and an engagement to Princess Ehri of Shu Han—despite her sister, Queen Makhi, having schemed to kill both of them. Zoya, Nikolai’s loyal general, is handed a series of nigh-impossible assignments, including some having to do with the Darkling. Meanwhile, deeply embedded Nina spies on Fjerda, working to undermine the rumors surrounding Nikolai’s parentage, uncover Fjerda’s military plans, manipulate their royals toward a more peaceful path, and secretly sway the population’s view of Grisha. And all over the world, a mysterious blight suddenly appears, destroying everything in its path. Sprinklings of recaps and lots of action help to prevent the massively intricate world from becoming overwhelming. Battles in particular shine, not just for their action, but for the questions they pose about the direction of warfare in an arms race. The multiethnic cast that includes queer characters and relationships showcases a White-passing biracial character grappling with identity and another character’s trans-coded journey. A big finish manages to tidy up almost all ends but still leaves space for more to come.

A wild ride both fantastical and grounded in nuance. (Orders of Grisha guide, map) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: March 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-14230-6

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends.

RED QUEEN

From the Red Queen series , Vol. 1

Amid a war and rising civil unrest, a young thief discovers the shocking power within her that sparks a revolution.

At 17, Mare knows that without an apprenticeship or job, her next birthday will bring a conscription to join the war. She contributes to her poor family’s income the only way she can, stealing from the Silvers, who possess myriad powers and force her and her fellow Reds into servitude. The Silvers literally bleed silver, and they can manipulate metal, plants and animals, among many other talents. When Mare’s best friend, Kilorn, loses his job and is doomed to conscription, she is determined to change his fate. She stumbles into a mysterious stranger after her plan goes awry and is pulled out of her village and into the world of Silver royalty. Once inside the palace walls, it isn’t long before Mare learns that powers unknown to red-blooded humans lie within her, powers that could lead a revolution. Familiar tropes abound. Mare is revealed as a great catalyst for change among classes and is groomed from rags to riches, and of course, seemingly kind characters turn out to be foes. However, Aveyard weaves a compelling new world, and Mare and the two men in her life evolve intriguingly as class tension rises. Revolution supersedes romance, setting the stage for action-packed surprises.

An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-231063-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more