Good historical fiction with a paranormal twist.

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THE MANY LIVES OF JOHN STONE

What happens when a girl meets a man who has been alive for centuries?

Stella, who calls herself “Spark,” takes an internship with an attractive man who lives in an odd, secluded mansion in England. Her job is to organize old journals written in a cipher that she cannot read. Her employer, John Stone, lives rather mysteriously with a housekeeper, Martha, and a groundskeeper, Jacob, who both behave oddly. Martha seems unfamiliar with electricity and cooks on a woodstove. Joseph acts with constant hostility toward Spark. The book alternates between Spark’s story and John Stone’s diaries. Readers learn early that Stone, although he still looks young, is nearly 350 years old and moved at the age of 15 to Louis XIV’s court in 1685, becoming a confidant of the king and falling in love with Isabelle, a girl who seemed forever out of his reach. John Stone’s story, in his earlier identity as Jean-Pierre, works well as a separate narrative, involving intricate court intrigues that can have severe consequences for himself and for Isabelle. Spark’s story is less successful, seeming almost pointless until she finds a connection between herself and Stone very late in the book. Although the book seems nearly as lengthy as Stone’s life (only one, despite the title), Buckley-Archer paints an absorbing portrait of the court of Versailles.

Good historical fiction with a paranormal twist. (Paranormal historical fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-2637-4

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell...

SIX OF CROWS

Adolescent criminals seek the haul of a lifetime in a fantasyland at the beginning of its industrial age.

The dangerous city of Ketterdam is governed by the Merchant Council, but in reality, large sectors of the city are given over to gangs who run the gambling dens and brothels. The underworld's rising star is 17-year-old Kaz Brekker, known as Dirtyhands for his brutal amorality. Kaz walks with chronic pain from an old injury, but that doesn't stop him from utterly destroying any rivals. When a councilman offers him an unimaginable reward to rescue a kidnapped foreign chemist—30 million kruge!—Kaz knows just the team he needs to assemble. There's Inej, an itinerant acrobat captured by slavers and sold to a brothel, now a spy for Kaz; the Grisha Nina, with the magical ability to calm and heal; Matthias the zealot, hunter of Grishas and caught in a hopeless spiral of love and vengeance with Nina; Wylan, the privileged boy with an engineer's skills; and Jesper, a sharpshooter who keeps flirting with Wylan. Bardugo broadens the universe she created in the Grisha Trilogy, sending her protagonists around countries that resemble post-Renaissance northern Europe, where technology develops in concert with the magic that's both coveted and despised. It’s a highly successful venture, leaving enough open questions to cause readers to eagerly await Volume 2.

Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family . (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-212-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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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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