Speculative fiction at its core, Oliver’s novel is also a reflection on the nature of humanity as explored through the...

RINGER

It has been three weeks since the Haven Institute fell, but it still has subjects Lyra and Gemma in its insidious grip.

Lyra’s time is running out; as a result of Haven’s research, she’s terminally ill. She and Caelum set out to locate Dr. Saperstein, the man who gave her the disease. Failing that, they search for Lyra’s old friend, Dr. O’Donnell—but she seems to be hiding something. Alone but for Caelum, Lyra doesn’t know whom to trust. Meanwhile, Gemma’s powerful father arranged Lyra and Caelum’s new living situation, promising Gemma he wouldn’t give them up. When he breaks that promise, Gemma and Pete go to try to warn them. On their return home, they’re believed to be Lyra and Caelum and are kidnapped, taken to a decommissioned airplane hangar where surviving replicas have been packed in by the hundreds. Gemma and Pete will have to find a way to survive here until they’re rescued. Lyra, Gemma, and Pete are white, Caelum has dark skin, and a number of important minor characters are described as having dark, black, or brown skin. As with Replica (2016), Gemma’s and Lyra’s interlocking stories are told separately, bound together in a dos-à-dos volume that gives readers control over how to go forward. The third-person narration plunges along at a positively addicting pace.

Speculative fiction at its core, Oliver’s novel is also a reflection on the nature of humanity as explored through the dualities of life/death, autonomy/ownership, truth/lies, and good/evil. (Science fiction. 15-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-239419-4

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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A thrilling romance that could use more even pacing.

THE STARS WE STEAL

For the second time in her life, Leo must choose between her family and true love.

Nineteen-year-old Princess Leonie Kolburg’s royal family is bankrupt. In order to salvage the fortune they accrued before humans fled the frozen Earth 170 years ago, Leonie’s father is forcing her to participate in the Valg Season, an elaborate set of matchmaking events held to facilitate the marriages of rich and royal teens. Leo grudgingly joins in even though she has other ideas: She’s invented a water filtration system that, if patented, could provide a steady income—that is if Leo’s calculating Aunt Freja, the Captain of the ship hosting the festivities, stops blocking her at every turn. Just as Leo is about to give up hope, her long-lost love, Elliot, suddenly appears onboard three years after Leo’s family forced her to break off their engagement. Donne (Brightly Burning, 2018) returns to space, this time examining the fascinatingly twisted world of the rich and famous. Leo and her peers are nuanced, deeply felt, and diverse in terms of sexuality but not race, which may be a function of the realities of wealth and power. The plot is fast paced although somewhat uneven: Most of the action resolves in the last quarter of the book, which makes the resolutions to drawn-out conflicts feel rushed.

A thrilling romance that could use more even pacing. (Science fiction. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-94894-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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High stakes, epic scope, intense action, and sweeping mythologies.

FURYBORN

From the Empirium Trilogy series , Vol. 1

Two girls separated by a thousand years are connected by a prophecy.

In a prologue, readers learn that pale-skinned Queen Rielle has killed her husband, the biracial Audric. She gives birth to their baby while a war between angels and humans rages. To keep the infant safe from the angels’ leader, light-skinned Corien, Rielle desperately charges a child with magical abilities to use his gifts to flee with and protect her—with mixed success. Later chapters alternate between telling Rielle’s story and flashing forward 1,020 years to focus on olive-skinned Eliana. Following a childhood tragedy, Rielle hid her staggering ability to control all seven elements until a threat against her beloved Audric caused her to reveal her gifts, prompting the Magisterial Council to impose seven trials to determine whether she was the Sun Queen or Blood Queen spoken of in prophecy. While readers start off knowing her story’s end, a steamy romance and devious twists along the way pack surprises. Eliana, meanwhile, is a deadly bounty hunter—serving an evil empire in order to protect her own family—who gets mixed up with rebels when her mother is abducted. The rigid, cliffhanger-heavy chapter structure is supported by breakneck pacing and constant action. The ending leaves neither storyline resolved.

High stakes, epic scope, intense action, and sweeping mythologies. (element guide) (Fantasy. 15-adult)

Pub Date: May 22, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4926-5662-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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