An exciting, layered, action-filled tale with a cast of sympathetic characters.

SKYHUNTER

From the Skyhunter series , Vol. 1

A group of young soldiers defend their home against the evil Karensa Federation.

Talin is a Basean refugee in Mara, treated with xenophobic cruelty by many but recognized for her skill by her battle partner, Corian, and friends Rooke and Jeran. The capture of a former Federation fighter named Redlen with magnificent, strange abilities forces her into new territory and life-altering decisions. Redlen exposes details about the Federation’s genetically engineered army of Ghosts, zombielike creatures, leading Talin and the rest to hatch a desperate scheme to infiltrate their stronghold and sabotage their production—against explicit orders. Their mission and its aftermath help Talin understand more about her role in Mara and her reasons for defending a nation where she is often persecuted. In this cinematically imagined dystopia, Talin uses sign language to communicate since early trauma in her homeland at the hands of the Federation resulted in the cessation of her speech. In a deftly plotted first-person narrative that is both expansive and detailed in its depiction of the setting and includes quick-moving battle sequences, Talin’s trajectory is convincing. In a few instances, her earnest realizations about her own motivations can feel a bit pat, but this is a mostly nuanced and poignant story that is left wide open for a welcome sequel. Characters have a range of skin tones; one male character is in love with another man.

An exciting, layered, action-filled tale with a cast of sympathetic characters. (map) (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-22168-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic.

ALL OUR HIDDEN GIFTS

An Irish teen grapples with past misdeeds and newfound ties to magic.

When 16-year-old Maeve discovers a deck of tarot cards stashed with a mixtape of moody indie music from 1990, she starts giving readings for her classmates at her all-girls private school. Though her shame over dumping her strange friend Lily during an attempt to climb the social ladder at St. Bernadette’s is still palpable, it doesn’t stop her from trying to use the tarot in her favor to further this goal. However, after speaking harsh words to Lily during a reading, Maeve is horrified when her former friend later disappears. As she struggles to understand the forces at play within her, classmate Fiona proves to be just the friend Maeve needs. Detailed, interesting characters carry this contemporary story of competing energy and curses. Woven delicately throughout are chillingly eerie depictions of the Housekeeper, a figure who shows up on an extra card in the deck, echoing the White Lady legend from Irish folklore. Even more disturbing is an organization of young people led by a homophobic but charismatic figurehead intent on provoking backlash against Ireland’s recent civil rights victories. Most characters are White; Fiona is biracial, with a Filipina mother and White Irish father. Roe, Maeve’s love interest and Lily’s sibling, is a bisexual, genderqueer person who is a target for intolerance in their small city of Kilbeg.

An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic. (Paranormal. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1394-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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

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THE CRUEL PRINCE

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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