Less grounded than the previous volume, which is perhaps fitting for a heroine who loses and must regain her sense of self

FURY'S FIRE

Will and Gretchen may have narrowly avoided being killed by Sirens, but they're not in safe waters yet in this lyrical, eerie fantasy.

Gretchen doesn't remember the events of Siren's Storm (2011), but her best friend, Will, does. He remembers that Gretchen saved their lives by killing the murderous seekriegers—Sirens—with fire, a fire she created with the power of her mind. Since he's decided the best way to protect his childhood sweetheart is not to tell her of her deadly superpower, Gretchen can't understand what's going on. She's trying to focus on making a place for herself in a new school; meanwhile, she's having dreams of death by fire while fending off attacks from mad dogs and crazed muggers. The only people who can help Gretchen make sense of the world are two classmates: a boy who's had a nervous breakdown and a girl who's probably a witch. In this surreal, well-drawn Long Island town, the inexplicable fires and strange behaviors seem oddly fitting, and the dangerous trust games played by the protagonists meld right in with the dreamlike setting.

Less grounded than the previous volume, which is perhaps fitting for a heroine who loses and must regain her sense of self . (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: July 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86862-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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Fast-moving and intriguing though inconsistent on multiple fronts.

NYXIA

From the Nyxia Triad series , Vol. 1

Kids endure rigorous competition aboard a spaceship.

When Babel Communications invites 10 teens to participate in “the most serious space exploration known to mankind,” Emmett signs on. Surely it’s the jackpot: they’ll each receive $50,000 every month for life, and Emmett’s mother will get a kidney transplant, otherwise impossible for poor people. They head through space toward the planet Eden, where they’ll mine a substance called nyxia, “the new black gold.” En route, the corporation forces them into brutal competition with one another—fighting, running through violent virtual reality racecourses, and manipulating nyxia, which can become almost anything. It even forms language-translating facemasks, allowing Emmett, a black boy from Detroit, to communicate with competitors from other countries. Emmett's initial understanding of his own blackness may throw readers off, but a black protagonist in outer space is welcome. Awkward moments in the smattering of black vernacular are rare. Textual descriptions can be scanty; however, copious action and a reality TV atmosphere (the scoreboard shows regularly) make the pace flow. Emmett’s first-person voice is immediate and innocent: he realizes that Babel’s ruthless and coldblooded but doesn’t apply that to his understanding of what’s really going on. Readers will guess more than he does, though most confirmation waits for the next installment—this ends on a cliffhanger.

Fast-moving and intriguing though inconsistent on multiple fronts. (Science fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-55679-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel,...

THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS

From the Girl of Fire and Thorns series , Vol. 1

Adventure drags our heroine all over the map of fantasyland while giving her the opportunity to use her smarts.

Elisa—Princess Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza of Orovalle—has been chosen for Service since the day she was born, when a beam of holy light put a Godstone in her navel. She's a devout reader of holy books and is well-versed in the military strategy text Belleza Guerra, but she has been kept in ignorance of world affairs. With no warning, this fat, self-loathing princess is married off to a distant king and is embroiled in political and spiritual intrigue. War is coming, and perhaps only Elisa's Godstone—and knowledge from the Belleza Guerra—can save them. Elisa uses her untried strategic knowledge to always-good effect. With a character so smart that she doesn't have much to learn, body size is stereotypically substituted for character development. Elisa’s "mountainous" body shrivels away when she spends a month on forced march eating rat, and thus she is a better person. Still, it's wonderfully refreshing to see a heroine using her brain to win a war rather than strapping on a sword and charging into battle.

Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel, reminiscent of Naomi Kritzer's Fires of the Faithful (2002), keeps this entry fresh. (Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-202648-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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