This resilient and exuberant heroine deserves a stamp of approval.

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THE MARK OF THE GOLDEN DRAGON

BEING AN ACCOUNT OF THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF JACKY FABER, JEWEL OF THE EAST, VEXATION OF THE WEST, AND PEARL OF THE SOUTH CHINA SEA

From the Bloody Jack Adventures series , Vol. 9

Jacky Faber must once again fight and flirt her way across land and sea to reach her beloved Jaimy Fletcher in the ninth book of this stirring historical series.

Escaping imprisonment in Australia and the amorous attentions of the female pirate Cheng Shih, Jacky finds her celebrations cut short by a typhoon. Accompanied by young Ravi but separated from her crew, Jacky relies on her musical talent and knack for disguise to get them through Southeast Asia and back to England. Jaimy, however, also proves elusive, having vowed to hunt Jacky’s longtime and odious persecutors, Flashby and Bliffil. Aside from a clever scene involving some strategically placed seaweed, Jacky’s ingenious plans and bravery take a backseat to British political and social intrigue. Famous in England and increasingly unable to pass as a boy, Jacky employs her new dragon tattoo, queue and Asian attire to escape detection. (Though historically accurate, the focus on her acquired exoticism and Ravi’s race and pidgin speech may nevertheless prove jarring to modern readers.) Frequent allusions to Jacky’s earlier adventures make this less of a standalone than Meyer’s (The Wake of the Lorelei Lee, 2010, etc.) usual fare, so newcomers should start with book one.

This resilient and exuberant heroine deserves a stamp of approval. (Historical fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-547-51764-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 24, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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