A must-read for fans of heart-wrenching, sob-your-heart-out YA.

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THE BIRD AND THE BLADE

A Mongol slave must choose between escaping her captivity and saving the man she loves.

When the Chinese Song dynasty is conquered by the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty in 1279, Jinghua is enslaved by the Khipchak khanate. In autumn of 1280, the khanate itself is overthrown by enemy forces, and the exiled Timur Khan and his youngest son, Prince Khalaf, must flee. Jinghua joins their fugitive party disguised as a boy. Traveling across the vast Mongol Empire, Khalaf finds comfort in Jinghua’s companionship, and they bond over Hanyu (Mandarin Chinese) lessons and poetry as, against her better judgment, she falls in love with him. Alas, Khalaf devises a plan of last resort to save his kingdom—he will marry Turandokht (yes, as in Puccini’s Turandot), the beautiful but heartless daughter of the Great Khan; however, potential suitors must solve three riddles or face execution. With Khalaf’s life at stake, Jinghua must prove her mettle, even if it means sacrificing the one thing that she holds most dear. Though the tale is ancient and epic, this is a fast-paced page-turner. Thorough research helps build a believable 13th-century Mongolia, and the Romanized Mandarin Chinese is used precisely, right down to the tonal inflections. Lavish, sweeping, and powerful, this is a love story, tragicomedy, and history lesson rolled into one.

A must-read for fans of heart-wrenching, sob-your-heart-out YA. (cast of characters, map, historical notes, author’s note, glossary) (Historical fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267415-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 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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