At least this battle for survival has gore going for it.

THE LONERS

From the Quarantine series , Vol. 1

Lawlessness and violence erupt in a quarantined high school.

David Thorpe can't ditch school and his ex-friends on the football team because it's his epileptic younger brother's first day. That's the day a weapons manufacturer's biologically improbable virus reaches the school—a suspension-of-disbelief–necessary germ that infects teenagers but kills everyone else. However, the virus leaves teens as they leave puberty, taking their resistance but allowing them a chance to escape. Government technology tells the exact date a student will leave puberty and quarantine, just from a thumb on a scanner. Knowledge of this "escape date" undermines the novel's potential for claustrophobic tension. The breakdown into chaos and establishment of new orders (fierce fighting for resources dropped every two weeks) are mostly skipped over. The virus causes white hair, enabling cliques (Varsity, Geeks, Nerds, Freaks, Skaters, the Pretty Ones and Sluts) to dye their hair uniform colors for identification. David and the other outsiders must fight the strict caste system by forming their own clique. The female-dominated groups—Pretty Ones and Sluts—reflect a tiresome woman-as-commodity approach. The female lead and love-triangle anchor (fought over by David and his brother) only occasionally shows signs of personality and is offended but also "excited" by unwanted groping. Additionally, the major characters' voices are indistinguishable and the villain cartoonishly evil—characterization is generally ignored in favor of more gore.

At least this battle for survival has gore going for it. (Science fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-60684-329-1

Page Count: 406

Publisher: Egmont USA

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

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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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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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