HER DARK CURIOSITY

From the Madman's Daughter series , Vol. 2

Juliet Moreau struggles with monsters, morals and family tragedy in this moving, if melodramatic sequel (The Madman’s Daughter, 2013).

Not content to relax in the well-appointed home of her guardian, professor von Stein, or to shop and gossip with her friend, Lucy Radcliffe, 17-year-old Juliet sneaks away to the slums to experiment in anatomy, botany and chemistry. Her father is gone—killed by her own hand—but his medical misconduct and her former poverty are not forgotten. When her former persecutors fall victim to a serial killer, Juliet suspects that someone or something made it off the island. Juliet finds herself torn again between her love for the faithful (if secretive) Montgomery and the tortured Edward Prince, who shifts between boy and Beast. Amid a whirlwind of romance, fancy dresses and death, Juliet uncovers a vast conspiracy that stretches into the highest ranks of society and touches everyone she knows. Although heavy-handed, Shepherd’s unsubtle allusions to The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Frankenstein draw readers’ attention to the classics and may provoke discussions about medical ethics and split personalities. The experiments are more fiction than science, and Juliet contradicts her supposed delicacy by dispatching threats with chemistry and violence, but the fast pace of the story overpowers the minor imperfections. Secrets and mad scientists offer a gory gothic adventure. (Gothic thriller. 14 & up)

 

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-212805-8

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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Heart-pounding.

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CEMETERY BOYS

A gay, transgender brujo with burgeoning powers seeks answers about his cousin’s death.

Sixteen-year-old Yadriel also wishes for acknowledgement from his community but unexpectedly finds himself entangled in the unresolved wishes of a strong-willed, good-looking spirit. He descends from a long line of brujx who have been granted magic power by Lady Death to heal the living and to guide spirits into the afterlife. Although he’s grown up surrounded by a close-knit community, Yadriel feels alone, excluded indefinitely from a sacred rite of passage because he is transgender. When he senses that his cousin Miguel has died suddenly but the family can’t locate him, Yadriel sees an opportunity to prove to everyone he’s a true brujo by solving the mystery and releasing his cousin’s lost spirit. His plan quickly falls apart, as he accidentally summons the spirit of Julian Diaz, a boy with unfinished business who died the same day as Miguel. Both the romance and mystery burn slow and hot until the climax. Stakes begin high, and the intensity only increases with a looming deadline and a constant risk that Julian might lose himself, turning maligno. The cast of characters represents a diversity of Latinx identities sharing a community in East Los Angeles. Julian is Colombian while Yadriel is Cuban and Mexican. Their romance provides joyful, ground-breaking representation for gay, transgender boys.

Heart-pounding. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-25046-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Swoon Reads/Macmillan

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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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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