An extra treat for invested Bardugo fans.

READ REVIEW

THE LIVES OF SAINTS

A folkloric collection of stories about saints from the Grishaverse.

In no particular order, Bardugo presents 28 short and fantastical, fictional saint stories. Some read like origin stories, explaining why that saint is celebrated and for whom they are a patron. For example, Sankta Anastasia is named patron saint of the sick after saving her village from a plague by allowing the ill to drink her blood, which contained healing properties. Other stories, such as those of Sankt Valentin and Sankta Alina of the Fold, are specific accounts, with saints’ offering glimpses into their influence and power over people’s lives. The journey to sainthood for these colorful characters ranges from unjustly tragic (Sankta Lizabeta of the Roses was executed by quartering when she had no answers for a frustrated general), to humorously improbable (Sankt Lukin the Logical, patron saint of politicians, offers advice even after being beheaded). Presented without much context, these tales will primarily appeal to those already familiar with the Grisha series. The final entry, though, about the unnamed Saint of the Book, who cryptically advocates for these stories, may entice readers to fully enter the Grishaverse. Zollinger, an artist experienced in painting biblical and historical imagery, provides artistic dimension to these supplemental folktales with enchanting, full-color illustrations that evoke medieval books of hours. Ethnic diversity in the saints is implied by the artwork.

An extra treat for invested Bardugo fans. (Fantasy. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-76520-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2020

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A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula.

HOCUS POCUS AND THE ALL-NEW SEQUEL

In honor of its 25th anniversary, a Disney Halloween horror/comedy film gets a sequel to go with its original novelization.

Three Salem witches hanged in 1693 for stealing a child’s life force are revived in 1993 when 16-year-old new kid Max completes a spell by lighting a magical candle (which has to be kindled by a virgin to work). Max and dazzling, popular classmate Allison have to keep said witches at bay until dawn to save all of the local children from a similar fate. Fast-forward to 2018: Poppy, daughter of Max and Allison, inadvertently works a spell that sends her parents and an aunt to hell in exchange for the gleeful witches. With help from her best friend, Travis, and classmate Isabella, on whom she has a major crush, Poppy has only hours to keep the weird sisters from working more evil. The witches, each daffier than the last, supply most of the comedy as well as plenty of menace but end up back in the infernal regions. There’s also a talking cat, a talking dog, a gaggle of costumed heroines, and an oblique reference to a certain beloved Halloween movie. Traditional Disney wholesomeness is spiced, not soured, by occasional innuendo and a big twist in the sequel. Poppy and her family are white, while Travis and Isabella are both African-American.

A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula. (Fantasy. 10-15)

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-02003-9

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Freeform/Disney

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Pacing issues aside, a conclusion sure to satisfy fans of the trilogy.

LIGHTBRINGER

From the Empirium Trilogy series , Vol. 3

Following Kingsbane (2019), mother and daughter queens separated across time complete each other’s stories in this trilogy closer.

Held captive by the Emperor Corien after Simon’s betrayal, Eliana defies efforts to fully restore Simon’s marque power, which would enable Corien to reunite with Rielle. Eliana’s refusal is met with psychological torture in the form of dreams that feel real and through the suffering of her loved ones. Her torment is finally interrupted by a mysterious voice in her head, which results in Eliana’s greater knowledge of the Deep and the world’s mythology. Meanwhile, 1,000 years in the past, Rielle’s storyline follows her as she, fleeing heartbreak and rejection from Audric (now regretful of his reaction, deposed, and seeking asylum and allies), is dragged deeper into darkness by Corien. Rielle’s storyline leans hard on the love-triangle element. Many of these plotlines (using primary and secondary characters’ viewpoints drawn from the large, unwieldy cast) spin in repetitive ruts so that all of the pieces land in place for a dynamic, flashy final act that unifies the storylines and themes. Race and ethnicity carry no significance in this diverse fantasy world with many secondary characters of color; Corien, Simon, and Rielle are White; Audric has brown skin. Same-sex relationships also have casual, positive representation.

Pacing issues aside, a conclusion sure to satisfy fans of the trilogy. (map, list of elements) (Fantasy. 15-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-5668-5

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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