This trilogy opener will be just the thing for those readers still hungry for dystopias

THE CROSSING

From the Blood of the Lamb series , Vol. 1

Post-apocalyptic religious exploitation in Micronesia forms the theme of this dystopia.

Maryam has waited almost all her life for her Bloods to come, so she can fulfill her destiny in the Holy City. Ever since the Tribulation that churned the sea and destroyed the power sources, the people of her Pacific island—roughly based on the nation of Kiribati, according to the author’s note—have followed the guidance of the white-skinned Apostles of the Lamb. As a tiny child, Maryam was taken from her birthparents when a blood test showed she was one of the Lord's Chosen. The religious experience she's been dreaming of, however, is more like a nightmare. The white-robed and white-skinned Apostles enslave the "native" servers, keeping them hungry and sexually exploited, drunk and pregnant, and constantly in superstitious terror. Maryam learns to trust nobody (except, perhaps, for the requisite sympathetic, handsome boy). Maryam's perspective isn't as tightly drawn as it could be, with viewpoints that seem to come more from an Apostle or even a contemporary reader, rather than an islander raised among other islanders. Nonetheless, her struggle to recognize and fight exploitation that's been reinforced by religious faith is compelling. Perhaps one day Maryam will cast off her Chosen name and reclaim the name of her birth, the name given to her by her own people.

This trilogy opener will be just the thing for those readers still hungry for dystopias . (Dystopian romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-61614-698-6

Page Count: 280

Publisher: Pyr/Prometheus Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2012

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A purple page turner.

CLOCKWORK PRINCE

From the Infernal Devices series , Vol. 2

This sequel to Clockwork Angel (2010) pits gorgeous, attractively broken teens against a menacing evil.

There's betrayal, mayhem and clockwork monstrosities, and the Shadowhunters have only two weeks to discover—oh, who are we kidding? The plot is only surprisingly tasty icing on this cupcake of a melodramatic love triangle. Our heroes are Tessa, who may or may not be a warlock, and the beautiful Shadowhunter warrior boys who are moths to her forbidden flame. It's not always clear why Tessa prefers Will to his beloved (and only) friend Jem, the dying, silver-eyed, biracial sweetheart with the face of an angel. Jem, after all, is gentle and kind, her dearest confidante; Will is unpleasant to everyone around him. But poor, wretched Will—who "would have been pretty if he had not been so tall and so muscular"—has a deep, dark, thoroughly emo secret. His trauma puts all previous romantic difficulties to shame, from the Capulet/Montague feud all the way to Edward Cullen's desire to chomp on Bella Swan. Somehow there's room for an interesting steampunk mystery amid all this angst. The supporting characters (unusually well-developed for a love-triangle romance) include multiple compelling young women who show strength in myriad ways. So what if there are anachronisms, character inconsistencies and weird tonal slips? There's too much overwrought fun to care.

A purple page turner. (Fantasy. 13-16)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4169-7588-5

Page Count: 528

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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An entertaining fantasy set in a world that readers will want to revisit.

THESE HOLLOW VOWS

Brie risks the deadly land of the Fae to save her sister.

Brie doesn’t trust many people other than Jas, her eternally hopeful sister, and Sebastian, mage apprentice and Brie’s secret love (as if she had time for romance). Brie struggles to meet the payments for the magical contracts binding their lives to Madame Vivias, supplementing her cleaning work by stealing from the rich. While the land of Faerie tempts other girls with word of a castle, a lavish ball, and a fae prince seeking a wife, Brie mistrusts the creatures who capitalize on humanity’s greed. When Jas’ contract is sold to the fae, Brie braves the golden Seelie queen’s court, meets the noble Prince Ronan, and travels on to the Unseelie king’s shadow court. In the process she discovers love, historical secrets, atrocities, and her own hidden strength. While many elements regarding the fae and a love triangle will feel familiar to fans of the genre, and the magic could have been more fleshed out, discussions of power, inequity, trust, and hope expand the worldbuilding in refreshing ways. Similarly, consideration of the balance between truth and secrets, lies and stories, is intriguing as it’s applied to characters, relationships, and historical lore. Despite certain predictable reveals, the plot itself, which starts off slowly, picks up and is pleasantly convoluted with multiple satisfying surprises. Major human characters read as White.

An entertaining fantasy set in a world that readers will want to revisit. (Fantasy. 13-16)

Pub Date: July 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-38657-5

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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