A sprightly, original story with good twists.

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THIRTEEN DAYS OF MIDNIGHT

From the Thirteen Days of Midnight series , Vol. 1

Sixteen-year-old Luke has no idea what he’s in for when he inherits his dad’s Host of malevolent ghosts.

Luke hasn’t seen his dad, host of a TV show about the paranormal, for years. As the book opens, he learns about his father’s death and his inheritance of some £4 million. In order to receive the money, he must sign a strange agreement written in Latin on vellum. He also receives his dad’s chaotic papers and an ancient green book that he can’t open. Soon Luke meets the Vassal and the Judge, two of the eight-strong Host of ghosts that his father enslaved as a powerful necromancer. Luke wants simply to free them but learns that’s not an option. Enter the Shepherd, bound as one of the Host but an ancient necromancer himself, who knows how to use the green book and aims to trick Luke into giving up what little power he has. Luke teams up with Elza, a bookish local girl with second sight, and together they do their best to decipher the notes and use the green book before Halloween, when the Host ghosts will become powerful enough to kill Luke. Hunt keeps tension high but balances it with humor, including a wonderful short episode written from a dog’s point of view. The northern English setting adds atmosphere, and Luke’s narration is both disarming and amusing.

A sprightly, original story with good twists. (Paranormal suspense. 12-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7865-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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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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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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