Though it is a little challenging to sort through the abundance of slick, clichéd politicians, this is a well-paced...

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RECLAIMING SHILO SNOW

From the Evaporation of Sofi Snow series , Vol. 2

After being framed for a terrorist attack at the Fantasy Fighting Games, gamer Sofi Snow is determined to find her missing younger brother, Shilo, who is believed by everyone to have been killed during the bombing.

Joined by her ex-boyfriend, the black-eyed, Spanish-speaking Ambassador Miguel Perez, brown-skinned Sofi has infiltrated the planet Delon in an attempt to find Shilo. The Delonese, an alien species who have parked their planet next to Earth’s moon, have been using human children in medical experiments in exchange for their technologically advanced cures, a secret agreement orchestrated by Corp 30 CEO Inola, who is also Sofi’s estranged mother. While searching for Shilo, Sofi and Miguel discover a horrifying secret that could have catastrophic results for Earth’s citizens and the Delonese. While Inola uses her security forces to track Sofi, time is running out, as the Delonese have captured both her and Miguel. In this sequel to The Evaporation of Sofi Snow (2017), Weber takes a darker tone, delving into alien abduction, experimentation on children, the machinations of power-hungry politicians, and black-market corruption.

Though it is a little challenging to sort through the abundance of slick, clichéd politicians, this is a well-paced page-turner . (Science fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7180-8094-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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Don’t look over sea or under stone, this is the fantasy novel for all once and future fans of suspense-filled storytelling.

LEGENDBORN

From the Legendborn series , Vol. 1

Sixteen-year-old Black whiz kid Bree Matthews battles grief and demonic forces on her college campus.

After her mother dies in an accident, Bree begins a residential program for enterprising teens at her mother’s alma mater and, soon after her arrival, witnesses a magical attack that triggers hidden memories about the evening her mother was killed. Haunted by the fact that their final conversation was an argument, Bree begins a redemptive quest to uncover the connection between her mother’s death and the university’s secret society, the Order of the Round Table, joining their ranks as an initiate and unwittingly stumbling into a centuries-old supernatural war. While competing in the tournament that determines entry to the society, Bree discovers the truth about her heretofore unknown magical abilities, unwinding a complex history that showcases the horrors chattel slavery in the American South perpetuates on the descendants of all involved. Push through clunky expositions and choppy transitions that interrupt the cohesion of the text to discover solid character development that brings forward contemporary, thoughtful engagement with the representation, or lack thereof, of race in canonical Arthurian lore and mythologies. Representation of actualized, strong queer characters is organic, not forced, and so are textual conversations around emotional wellness and intergenerational trauma. Well-crafted allusions to established legends and other literary works are delightful easter eggs.

Don’t look over sea or under stone, this is the fantasy novel for all once and future fans of suspense-filled storytelling. (author's note) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4160-6

Page Count: 512

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning.

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SCYTHE

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 1

Two teens train to be society-sanctioned killers in an otherwise immortal world.

On post-mortal Earth, humans live long (if not particularly passionate) lives without fear of disease, aging, or accidents. Operating independently of the governing AI (called the Thunderhead since it evolved from the cloud), scythes rely on 10 commandments, quotas, and their own moral codes to glean the population. After challenging Hon. Scythe Faraday, 16-year-olds Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova reluctantly become his apprentices. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty. The vivid and often violent action unfolds slowly, anchored in complex worldbuilding and propelled by political machinations and existential musings. Scythes’ journal entries accompany Rowan’s and Citra’s dual and dueling narratives, revealing both personal struggles and societal problems. The futuristic post–2042 MidMerican world is both dystopia and utopia, free of fear, unexpected death, and blatant racism—multiracial main characters discuss their diverse ethnic percentages rather than purity—but also lacking creativity, emotion, and purpose. Elegant and elegiac, brooding but imbued with gallows humor, Shusterman’s dark tale thrusts realistic, likable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions.

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7242-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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