From the Shamanborn series , Vol. 2

Plenty of action—plus emotional developments worth sticking around for.

Sirscha’s new powers may help her save that which she holds dear but may also turn her into the monster she fears.

Readers are drawn back into this Asian-inspired fantasy world through the second book in the Shamanborn series which starts off a fortnight after the fight with Ronin at Spinner’s End. Sirscha is coming to terms with her soulrender powers, newly awakened by the Soulless; as the name implies, they allow her to grasp and destroy souls. She poses as a soulguide in order to gain access to information and travel safely through politically charged kingdoms looking to exploit her abilities. As the Soulless slowly recovers his strength, Sirscha searches for a way to stop him. In so doing, she discovers the dark history behind the origins of the powers they share. In this part of the journey, the characters question morality, family loyalty, and sacrifice, and, as in the last book, there is no time for romance, though the storyline does expand on her friendships. In fact, the majority of Sirscha’s time is spent fighting and traveling from one place to the next, perhaps in support of worldbuilding. When she is forced to stay put at certain points in the latter half of the novel, characterizations are expanded upon.

Plenty of action—plus emotional developments worth sticking around for. (Fantasy. 13-17)

Pub Date: June 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64567-210-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2021


From the Aurelian Cycle series , Vol. 1

Full of drama, emotional turmoil, and high stakes.

What happens to the world after the dust from a revolution has settled?

Friends Annie and Lee were children from very different circles when Atreus killed Lee’s father, dragonlord Leon Stormscourge, ending the uprising on the bloodiest day in Callipolis’ history. For too long the dragonriders held all the power while their people starved and lived in fear. Nine years later, a new generation of dragonriders is emerging, children selected and trained on merit, not bloodlines. Their dragons are finally mature enough for them to compete for Firstrider, a position of power that can give Lee back a small part of what his family lost. However, not only is Lee competing against Annie, but rumors are circulating that some of the royal family have survived and have dragons of their own. Everyone will have to make a choice: Restore the old regime, support the First Protector and the new caste system he created, or look for a new way, no matter what the cost. From the beginning, this book pulls readers in with political intrigue and action. What keeps them invested, however, are the complex relationships between many cast members. Choices are complex, and the consequences for all could be deadly. The world is well fleshed out and believable. Annie and Lee are light skinned; secondary characters are diverse, and race is a nonissue in this world.

Full of drama, emotional turmoil, and high stakes. (author’s note) (Fantasy.14-17)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51821-1

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019


From the Warning series , Vol. 1

A glossy repackaging of a jejune tale.

A reissue of the 2016 novel published as Consider.

Alexandra Lucas and her boyfriend, Dominick, are about to start their senior year of high school when 500 vertexes—each one a doorway-shaped “hole into the fabric of the universe”—appear across the world, accompanied by holographic messages communicating news of Earth’s impending doom. The only escape is a one-way trip through the portals to a parallel future Earth. As people leave through the vertexes and the extinction event draws nearer, the world becomes increasingly unfamiliar. A lot has changed in the past several years, including expectations of mental health depictions in young adult literature; Alex’s struggle with anxiety and reliance on Ativan, which she calls her “little white savior” while initially discounting therapy as an intervention, make for a trite after-school special–level treatment of a complex situation; a short stint of effective therapy does finally occur but is so limited in duration that it contributes to the oversimplification of the topic. Alex also has unresolved issues with her Gulf War veteran father (who possibly grapples with PTSD). The slow pace of the plot as it depicts a crumbling society, along with stilted writing and insubstantial secondary characterization, limits the appeal of such a small-scale, personal story. Characters are minimally described and largely racially ambiguous; Alex has golden skin and curly brown hair.

A glossy repackaging of a jejune tale. (Science fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: June 6, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-72826-839-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023

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