Overcoming a slow start and Hollywood clichés, this sequel eventually delivers, accelerating to a satisfying cliffhanger...

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SLAY

From the Freya series , Vol. 2

The Florida deity-exploiting facility may be toast, but to confront the corporation behind it Norse goddess Freya needs friends, good fortune, and the power boost that comes from worshipers, or, as they’re known in the 21st century, fans.

Freya’s high priest, Nathan, and lion-headed Egyptian goddess friend, Sekhmet, have her back. Although Freya’s portfolio of talents can clash with Sekhmet’s, goddess sisterhood proves powerful. Alerted by an ally inside corporate giant Finemdi to Ares’ prominent role there, Freya’s inner Valkyrie spurs her to take him on. But humanity’s wars have strengthened her nemesis, and Freya needs worshipers, too. After Nathan observes that celebrities attract them in droves, it’s Hollywood ho! Gorgeous, blonde Freya’s soon on a fast track to HBO-miniseries stardom. While she revels in adulation, romance blossoms between Nathan and Sekhmet, leaving Freya conflicted; she’s all about love and desire, but Nathan’s her priest. Following a succession of attacks by Finemdi, Freya attempts escape via a portal in a luxury spa operated by the Graces but accidentally delivers her crew to Finemdi headquarters. Unlike the story’s mostly white mortals, deities manifest in diverse colors, cultures, and abilities. Make-me-a-star tropes excepted, Freya retains her quirky appeal, offering wry comments and an intriguing take on deity-human interactions.

Overcoming a slow start and Hollywood clichés, this sequel eventually delivers, accelerating to a satisfying cliffhanger ending. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-08819-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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Powerful, captivating, and raw—Adeyemi is a talent to watch. Exceptional

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CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE

From the Legacy of Orisha series , Vol. 1

Seventeen-year-old Zélie and companions journey to a mythic island seeking a chance to bring back magic to the land of Orïsha, in a fantasy world infused with the textures of West Africa.

Dark-skinned Zélie is a divîner—someone with latent magical abilities indicated by the distinctive white hair that sets them apart from their countrymen. She saves Princess Amari, who is on the run from her father, King Saran, after stealing the scroll that can transform divîners into magic-wielding maji, and the two flee along with Zélie’s brother. The scroll vanished 11 years ago during the king’s maji genocide, and Prince Inan, Amari’s brother, is sent in hot pursuit. When the trio learns that the impending solstice offers the only chance of restoring magic through a connection to Nana Baruku, the maternal creator deity, they race against time—and Inan—to obtain the final artifact needed for their ritual. Over the course of the book allegiances shift and characters grow, change, and confront traumas culminating in a cliffhanger ending that will leave readers anxiously awaiting the next installment. Well-drawn characters, an intense plot, and deft writing make this a strong story. That it is also a timely study on race, colorism, power, and injustice makes it great.

Powerful, captivating, and raw—Adeyemi is a talent to watch. Exceptional . (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17097-2

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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