War, community, long-festering anger, and forgiveness—all thoughtfully and deliberately conveyed.

AN INHERITANCE OF ASHES

When a supernatural war reaches her farm, Hallie fights to defend her land while struggling with familial estrangement.

The elder sibling always inherits Roadstead Farm, so despite a surprising will left by her late father stating that Hallie and her older sister, Marthe, each own half, Hallie lives with the constant fear that she’ll be kicked out. Recent times are especially upsetting. Although the local men marched to war against the Wicked God Southward and returned victorious, they came home wounded and damaged. It turns out the peculiar war isn’t finished after all: Twisted Things—the Wicked God’s hybrid animal-monsters that scorch and smoke against anything they touch, even air—fall out of the sky to land on Roadstead Farm. Bobet tenderly braids together an enigmatic hired man, a neighbor family sharing the warmth that Hallie and Marthe have lost with each other, and an agricultural setting that at first appears fictional but emerges as a post-apocalyptic North America in which cities fell and machines “went dark.” The story’s deep and sobering core is about family, blame, misunderstanding, and the nature of home. Despite the clear possibility of utter destruction, the pace of Hallie’s narration is unhurried and reflective rather than speedy or suspenseful. A marriage between two men is organic and unremarked-upon. Only an overabundance of poetic but lofty metaphors and similes hampers the flow and the believability of Hallie’s voice.

War, community, long-festering anger, and forgiveness—all thoughtfully and deliberately conveyed. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-28111-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

CROOKED KINGDOM

From the Six of Crows series , Vol. 2

This hefty sequel to Six of Crows (2015) brings high-tension conclusions to the many intertwined intrigues of Ketterdam.

It's time for revenge—has been ever since old-before-his-time crook Kaz and his friends were double-crossed by the merchant princes of Ketterdam, an early-industrial Amsterdam-like fantasy city filled to the brim with crime and corruption. Disabled, infuriated, and perpetually scheming Kaz, the light-skinned teen mastermind, coordinates the efforts to rescue Inej. Though Kaz is loath to admit weakness, Inej is his, for he can't bear any harm come to the knife-wielding, brown-skinned Suli acrobat. Their team is rounded out by Wylan, a light-skinned chemist and musician whose merchant father tried to have him murdered and who can't read due to a print disability; Wylan's brown-skinned biracial boyfriend, Jesper, a flirtatious gambler with ADHD; Nina, the pale brunette Grisha witch and recovering addict from Russia-like Ravka; Matthias, Nina's national enemy and great love, a big, white, blond drüskelle warrior from the cold northern lands; and Kuwei, the rescued Shu boy everyone wants to kidnap. Can these kids rescue everyone who needs rescuing in Ketterdam's vile political swamp? This is dark and violent—one notable scene features a parade of teens armed with revolvers, rifles, pistols, explosives, and flash bombs—but gut-wrenchingly genuine. Astonishingly, Bardugo keeps all these balls in the air over the 500-plus pages of narrative.

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-213-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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In the end, it’s just another violent dystopian series opener for all its yellow-brick veneer, but it’s a whole lot more fun...

DOROTHY MUST DIE

When a cyclone deposits a 21st-century Kansas teen in Oz, she and readers discover there’ve been some changes made.

Dirt-poor “Salvation Amy” Gumm lives in a trailer park, effectively parenting her alcoholic mom (her dad ran off years ago), who seems to care more about her pet rat, Star, than her daughter. That doesn’t mean Amy is eager to be in Oz, particularly this Oz. Tyrannized by a megalomaniacal Dorothy and mined of its magic, it’s a dystopian distortion of the paradise Baum and MGM depicted. In short order, Amy breaks the wholly capricious laws and is thrown into a cell in the Emerald City with only Star for company. There, she’s visited first by the mysterious but sympathetic Pete and then by the witch Mombi, who breaks her out and takes her to the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked (among whom is the very hot Nox). Amy may well be the salvation of Oz—only someone from the Other Place can take Dorothy down. Paige has clearly had the time of her life with this reboot, taking a dystopian-romance template and laying it over Oz. Readers of Baum’s books will take special delight in seeing new twists on the old characters, and they will greet the surprise climactic turnabout with the smugness of insiders.

In the end, it’s just another violent dystopian series opener for all its yellow-brick veneer, but it’s a whole lot more fun than many of its ilk. (Dystopian fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-228067-1

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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