Daddy issues aside, a creepy and compelling tale.

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A COLD LEGACY

From the Madman's Daughter series , Vol. 3

The mad scientist’s daughter, Juliet Moreau, must flee or fulfill her diabolical biological destiny in the ghoulish series ender.

After releasing monsters to kill three members of the King’s Club, Juliet and her unhappy band of misfits seek refuge in Elizabeth von Stein’s Scottish sanctuary. Edward Prince tries to recover from his self-poisoning and to battle his inner Beast, while Lucy Radcliffe frantically seeks unorthodox methods to save her split-personality lover. Montgomery James and Juliet want to marry—much to the delight of the mostly female and mysteriously mutilated household staff—but both deny and fear that she may be taking up her father’s trade. Elizabeth invites Juliet to study Victor Frankenstein’s rules for reanimation, but even the spectacularly unsettling child-thing, Hensley, cannot dissuade Juliet from (impossibly advanced) scientific experimentation. While Juliet’s ad nauseam struggles over her inheritance may grate, her determination to redefine herself, defend her friends and destroy her foes is riveting. The story employs clichéd Gothic horror elements—castles, odd servants, a Romany girl, a windmill and a windswept countryside—and relies heavily on Frankenstein and The Island of Dr. Moreau, threatening to fall under its predecessors’ shadows. However, Shepherd (albeit anachronistically) addresses gender issues, English-Scottish politics, class divisions and medical ethics, ably intermixing them with horrific, romantic and comedic moments.

Daddy issues aside, a creepy and compelling tale. (Horror. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-212808-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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A carefully researched, precisely written tour de force; unforgettable and wrenching.

CODE NAME VERITY

Breaking away from Arthurian legends (The Winter Prince, 1993, etc.), Wein delivers a heartbreaking tale of friendship during World War II.

In a cell in Nazi-occupied France, a young woman writes. Like Scheherezade, to whom she is compared by the SS officer in charge of her case, she dribbles out information—“everything I can remember about the British War Effort”—in exchange for time and a reprieve from torture. But her story is more than a listing of wireless codes or aircraft types. Instead, she describes her friendship with Maddie, the pilot who flew them to France, as well as the real details of the British War Effort: the breaking down of class barriers, the opportunities, the fears and victories not only of war, but of daily life. She also describes, almost casually, her unbearable current situation and the SS officer who holds her life in his hands and his beleaguered female associate, who translates the narrative each day. Through the layers of story, characters (including the Nazis) spring to life. And as the epigraph makes clear, there is more to this tale than is immediately apparent. The twists will lead readers to finish the last page and turn back to the beginning to see how the pieces slot perfectly, unexpectedly into place.

A carefully researched, precisely written tour de force; unforgettable and wrenching. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4231-5219-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

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A seriously satisfying, worthy, and well-crafted sequel.

DEATHLESS DIVIDE

From the Dread Nation series , Vol. 2

Two young black women kick zombie ass from the post–Civil War East to the late-1800s American West. 

This sequel to Dread Nation (2018) is told from the perspectives of the irascible Jane McKeene and her unlikely best friend, Katherine Deveraux, after they escape the unholy hell of Summerland, a social science experiment run by a maniacal minister through which black people were forced to protect whites from attacks by throat-chomping, undead shamblers. Alternating between Jane’s haunted life with its Shakespearean overtones and Katherine’s more devout but no less deadly existence, each chapter takes readers farther west, with hopes resting on happy endings for the duo in California. The pacing is steady throughout the first part of the story, building and exploding into a gut-wrenching plot twist halfway through. Then it’s a glorious race to the finish, with compelling moral examinations of human experimentation and killing for hire to fuel reader interest. At its core the book delves into a spectrum of black girls’ and women’s experiences, kinship, and necessary resilience. That focus never strays even as Ireland touches briefly on social tensions between Native and black characters along with passing commentary on immigration and relations between Chinese families and other communities. The imaginative integration of real-world historical players into an equally messy, gruesome chronology artfully developed by the author makes this stand out.

A seriously satisfying, worthy, and well-crafted sequel. (author’s note) (Historical fiction/horror. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-257063-5

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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