An innovative take on magic and the price of transformation, this will tempt readers to reach for Book 2—and expect some...

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SPINDLE FIRE

From the Spindle Fire series , Vol. 1

An innovative take on “Sleeping Beauty,” this first novel in a two-book arc weaves the tale of polar-opposite half sisters facing a dark threat from a mysteriously diabolical faerie queen.

Although headstrong Isabelle, the king’s illegitimate daughter, is blind and beautiful princess Aurora cannot speak and has no sense of touch, the two white girls share a close, complicated relationship. After Aurora pricks her finger on a spindle, Isabelle must travel widely, seeking a prince to wake her sister and to ally two kingdoms against Malfleur and her ominous army. Recognizable fairy-tale references blend with radical departures (christening faeries cruelly “tithe” senses such as sight and speech in exchange for gifts of beauty and grace). This present-tense narrative unfolds through alternating points of view (including Isabelle’s, Aurora’s, Malfleur’s, and that of Malfleur’s mysterious twin, Belcoeur), depicting complex characters and thorny sibling relationships within an equally complex plot. Inventing a distinctively gritty netherworld that weaves reality with shimmering magic and smoky-mirrored illusions, Hillyer’s writing is freshly vivid. Unfortunately, plotting in the second part of the book spins out of control, entangling readers in a web of too many unresolved questions (who is Isabelle’s mother, what does Malfleur really want, which romantic partnerships will be fulfilled?), and the book ends abruptly, without closure.

An innovative take on magic and the price of transformation, this will tempt readers to reach for Book 2—and expect some answers. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-244087-7

Page Count: 368

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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Powerful, captivating, and raw—Adeyemi is a talent to watch. Exceptional

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CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE

From the Legacy of Orisha series , Vol. 1

Seventeen-year-old Zélie and companions journey to a mythic island seeking a chance to bring back magic to the land of Orïsha, in a fantasy world infused with the textures of West Africa.

Dark-skinned Zélie is a divîner—someone with latent magical abilities indicated by the distinctive white hair that sets them apart from their countrymen. She saves Princess Amari, who is on the run from her father, King Saran, after stealing the scroll that can transform divîners into magic-wielding maji, and the two flee along with Zélie’s brother. The scroll vanished 11 years ago during the king’s maji genocide, and Prince Inan, Amari’s brother, is sent in hot pursuit. When the trio learns that the impending solstice offers the only chance of restoring magic through a connection to Nana Baruku, the maternal creator deity, they race against time—and Inan—to obtain the final artifact needed for their ritual. Over the course of the book allegiances shift and characters grow, change, and confront traumas culminating in a cliffhanger ending that will leave readers anxiously awaiting the next installment. Well-drawn characters, an intense plot, and deft writing make this a strong story. That it is also a timely study on race, colorism, power, and injustice makes it great.

Powerful, captivating, and raw—Adeyemi is a talent to watch. Exceptional . (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17097-2

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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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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