Mind-bending and incisive.


In a declining world in which humans can access the power of banished demigods through self-sacrifice, a girl with a secret becomes a catalyst for change.

Long ago, the humans who served and sacrificed to the Noble and the Vile overthrew them and claimed their magic. Now, the Crown, peerage, and common council maintain control over the noblewrought and vilewrought with intricate contracts and magical bindings. Lorena is the only living dualwrought—possessing both creative and destructive wrights—besides the Crown herself. Unlike the Crown, she’s unbound and untrained. Free from the limitations of formal contracts, Lorena prefers nonphysical sacrifices like memories over gory self-mutilation. After a chance encounter with the Crown’s infamous vilewrought heir, Alistair, lands her in his laboratory researching a mysterious Door that is hungry for human sacrifices, Lorena must choose between the quiet life she’s built and the values she holds dear. The text’s anti-capitalist thrust is grounded in depictions of extreme economic stratification, including Lorena’s memories of childhood poverty and her mother’s untimely death, as well as her growing awareness of how those who crave power like hers don’t grasp the sacrifices required. Excellent asexual representation in Lorena, rich worldbuilding, political intrigue, and a cast of prickly, passionate characters round out the satisfyingly complex plot. Particularly masterful are the shifts in Lorena’s narrative perspective that reflect the sacrifices of significant memories. A White default is assumed for primary characters.

Mind-bending and incisive. (map) (Dark fantasy. 16-adult)

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7925-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre.


A dystopic thriller joins the crowded shelves but doesn't distinguish itself.

Juliette was torn from her home and thrown into an asylum by The Reestablishment, a militaristic regime in control since an environmental catastrophe left society in ruins. Juliette’s journal holds her tortured thoughts in an attempt to repress memories of the horrific act that landed her in a cell. Mysteriously, Juliette’s touch kills. After months of isolation, her captors suddenly give her a cellmate—Adam, a drop-dead gorgeous guy. Adam, it turns out, is immune to her deadly touch. Unfortunately, he’s a soldier under orders from Warner, a power-hungry 19-year-old. But Adam belongs to a resistance movement; he helps Juliette escape to their stronghold, where she finds that she’s not the only one with superhuman abilities. The ending falls flat as the plot devolves into comic-book territory. Fast-paced action scenes convey imminent danger vividly, but there’s little sense of a broader world here. Overreliance on metaphor to express Juliette’s jaw-dropping surprise wears thin: “My mouth is sitting on my kneecaps. My eyebrows are dangling from the ceiling.” For all of her independence and superpowers, Juliette never moves beyond her role as a pawn in someone else’s schemes.

Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-208548-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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

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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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