Readers will find inspiration in a young woman claiming her identity.

BRIGHT RAVEN SKIES

From the Sweet Black Waves series , Vol. 3

The final volume of a trilogy transforms a tragic legend into a feminist triumph.

Branwen’s deal with Dhusnos, the god of death, may have saved King Marc’s castle but at the cost of the peace for which she sacrificed everything. Tristan and Eseult stand accused of treason, and Branwen still owes Dhusnos a murder. In the conclusion to this sprawling retelling, Branwen and the rest of the huge, intertwined, ethnically and sexually diverse cast race from combat to trials to duels to sea battles, from lies to trysts to betrayals to marriages to funerals, only pausing to wallow in guilt and spectacular self-loathing. Pérez’s alternative medieval world is immersive and detailed, her prose lush with mystical symbolism. Despite their worldly power, men function mostly either to admire or obstruct Branwen (sometimes both) while all the women are complicated and authentic, with independent (if not always admirable) agendas and rich narrative arcs. Within this oppressively patriarchal society, it is the bonds of mentorship, respect, trust, and love among women that make a difference. Although the messy, overwrought love triangle (heptagon, really) is eventually more-or-less resolved, the real climax occurs when Branwen learns to accept her own intrinsic worth and destiny. By the bittersweet ending, she has earned her choices.

Readers will find inspiration in a young woman claiming her identity. (dramatis personae, glossary) (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-13287-1

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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An inspirational read.

THE LIGHT IN HIDDEN PLACES

A true story of faith, love, and heroism.

Stefania “Fusia” Podgórska longed for nothing more than to leave the rural Polish farm she was born on for the city of Przemyśl where her older sisters lived. At the age of 12, she did just that, finding a job with the Diamants, a family of Jewish shopkeepers who welcomed her into their lives. For three years they lived peacefully until the Germans dropped bombs on Przemyśl. The family struggled on as the war and anti-Semitism ramped up, but eventually, the Diamants were forced into a ghetto. Then 17, Catholic Fusia was determined to help them survive, even at the risk of her own safety, while also caring for her 6-year-old sister, Helena, after their family was taken by the Nazis for forced labor. Knowing the risks involved, Fusia made a bold decision to harbor Jews. As the number of people she sheltered increased, so did her panic about being caught, but she was determined to do what was right. Cameron (The Knowing, 2017, etc.) used Stefania’s unpublished memoir as well as interviews with family members as source material. She deftly details Fusia’s brave actions and includes moving family photographs in the author’s note. Narrated in the first person, the story highlights essential events in Fusia’s life while maintaining a consistent pace. Readers will be pulled in by the compelling opening and stay for the emotional journey.

An inspirational read. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35593-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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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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