From the Grisha Trilogy series , Vol. 3

Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy comes to a thunderous conclusion.

If opener Shadow and Bone (2012) was a magical coming-of-age story and middle-volume Siege and Storm (2013) was a political thriller, then this third book is an epic quest. Together with faithful childhood friend and would-be lover Mal and the last few remnants of the rebellious Grisha who aided her in the failed rising against the Darkling, Alina leaves the dubious protection of the Rasputin-like Apparat and the zealots who hail her as a saint to go looking for tsarevich Nikolai and for the fabled firebird. They seek Nikolai as the last political hope for Ravka’s future and the firebird for the third amplifier that will make Sun Summoner Alina invincible against the Darkling and powerful enough to unmake the Unsea that divides Ravka in two. Neither quest is easy or obvious, as Bardugo places obstacles both physical and emotional in Alina’s path at every turn. She is most successful at delineating Alina’s internal conflict as she struggles to balance love for Mal against both pragmatism and fondness for Nikolai, desire for peace and justice against naked lust for power. Secondary characters truly come into their own here, particularly the ragtag band of Alina’s Grisha, in whose friendship she finds salvation. Every time readers may think she’s written herself into a corner, Bardugo pulls off a twist that, while surprising, will keep them turning pages furiously.

Triumphant. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: June 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9461-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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A disappointing delivery on a potentially gripping second volume.


From the Once Upon a Broken Heart series , Vol. 2

Evangeline faces new dangers in her quest for happiness in this follow-up to 2021’s Once Upon a Broken Heart.

As Evangeline Fox seeks a cure for her poisoned husband, Prince Apollo, the enticing and infuriating Fate Jacks reappears, offering to save Apollo if she unlocks the Valory Arch. Remembering the long list of ills brought upon her by the Fate, Evangeline refuses. When the new heir arrives and Apollo wakes with a new curse and glowing red eyes, she is forced to delve into the mysteries of the Valors and find the arch’s four missing magical stones whose powers are luck, truth, mirth, and youth. The inclusion of expanded Valor lore alongside the preexisting blend of fairy-tale and paranormal creatures is intriguing and fits the overarching theme of storytelling as history. The ongoing use of emotions as a scale for displaying and determining one’s humanity, especially by Fates, is equally interesting. Unfortunately, the impact of Evangeline’s often amusing narration and numerous surprising plot twists is diluted by the meandering pacing, convoluted sensory descriptions, and close focus on Evangeline’s fluctuating attraction toward her potential love interests. Despite the positive emphasis on hope and happily-ever-afters, Evangeline’s romantic relationship with Jacks borders on manipulative and toxic. Evangeline reads White; side characters are fantasy diverse.

A disappointing delivery on a potentially gripping second volume. (map) (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-26842-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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Thrilling from start to finish.


Her code name: Fortune. Her purpose: atonement.

Four years ago, in 1927, Rosalind Lang betrayed her gang. Her actions nearly led to Shanghai’s destruction. When scarlet fever swept through the city soon after, Rosalind was saved by a mysterious serum that left her with a nearly indestructible body trapped at age 19. Now, as penance, she hunts rogue White Flowers for the Nationalists who are embroiled in a civil war with the Communists and face a potential invasion by the Imperial Japanese Army. When the Nationalists connect a string of murders in Shanghai to a local newspaper published by the Japanese government–funded Seagreen Press, Rosalind is given a new mission and a partner: Orion Hong, the younger son of a Nationalist general. Posing as newlyweds, they infiltrate Seagreen and discover a web of false identities, undercover agents, and national traitors. Heart-pounding action and intrigue fill the pages of this thriller, set in a time when people’s allegiances are questioned at every turn and families are divided along stark political lines; Orion’s brother and Rosalind’s trans sister both serve the Communist cause. Friction between the grimly determined Rosalind and carefree Orion shifts into mutual understanding and then something more as demisexual Rosalind allows herself to see past Orion’s facade. An enjoyable cast of supporting characters adds levity and surprising twists. This series opener set in the world of Gong’s These Violent Delights duology is accessible to new readers.

Thrilling from start to finish. (Historical fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66590-558-9

Page Count: 528

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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