An exceptionally ambitious debut from an author to watch.


From the Goddess in the Machine series , Vol. 1

A girl wakes up from cryogenic sleep in an unrecognizable world.

In 2161 Andra went into stasis for space travel to a new colony. When handsome-yet-snarky Zhade wakes her on an unexpectedly devastated desert world, she learns she’s overslept—by around a thousand years. Worshipped as the last of the three goddesses (the other two having already woken), Andra’s expected to save the world. Along with differences between the world she knew and the one she awoke in, evolution of the English language into a futuristic dialect adds to her disorientation. While heavy use of this device will likely polarize readers, the dialect goes beyond a sprinkling of slang, possessing a strong intuitive internal logic, an authentic-feeling rhythm, and, sometimes, amusing origins. The characters aren’t quite as successful as the prose—love-interest Zhade is pretty stock for YA, and at times reading about Andra’s needing to be rescued gets old. Once readers (and Andra) get their bearings in Zhade’s storyline and Andra’s role, a series of twists and curveballs amps up stakes and tension, carrying the plot to its sequel-promising conclusion. Zhade is coded as white; Andra is fat and cued as biracial (with a redheaded mother and Hokkien-speaking grandmother); the world has diversity in skin tone, and Andra notes that those at the top tend to be lighter skinned.

An exceptionally ambitious debut from an author to watch. (Science fiction. 12-adult)

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-3592-5

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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


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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Sure to please fans of the author and of the vampire-romance genre.


From the Beautiful series , Vol. 1

Forbidden love is tested by suspicion and murder in this latest addition to YA vampire lore.

Celine Rousseau, a French and Asian (mother’s exact origins unknown) seamstress, sails from Europe to America in hopes of leaving her shadowy past behind. En route, she bonds with Pippa, a white English émigrée, and both girls find refuge in an Ursuline convent. Celine’s talent as a couturier leads to a commission from Odette, a beautiful member of the opulent-yet-mysterious Cour des Lions, where students of the occult practice their craft unmolested. Before long, Celine is swept up in a world of mystical forces centering around Sébastien Saint Germain, an enigmatic aristocrat to whom she is irresistibly attracted. When a fellow convent member is found murdered, Celine suspects all her acquaintances, including Sébastien. The novel, wading into the waters of forbidden romance between teenage girl and hunky immortal vampire previously navigated by Buffy Summers and Bella Swan, feels less magical than it should despite the lush Victorian-era New Orleans setting. At times the mounting attraction between Bastien and Celine is told rather than shown, which makes the central relationship feel forced rather than organic and passion filled. Ahdieh (Smoke in the Sun, 2018, etc.) brings New Orleans vibrantly to life, particularly when exploring the complicated racial and gender restrictions of high society through main and supporting characters of mixed-race origin.

Sure to please fans of the author and of the vampire-romance genre. (Fantasy. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-3817-4

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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