THE QUEEN'S SECRET

Romantic fantasy turns into lovelorn politicking in this duology closer and follow-up to The Queen’s Assassin (2020).

Formerly feisty assassin-in-training Shadow is now Queen Lilac of Montrice, still secretly meeting her lover, Chief Assassin Caledon Holt, while managing to avoid her (nice, hound-loving) husband. But the evil Aphrasian monks are still a threat, and when Cal rides off with attractive apprentice Rhema, 19-year-old Lilac fears she’s lost him. Cal’s adventures take him back to Renovia and to the frightening Aphrasian stronghold of Baer Abbey; Lilac, previously accustomed to a similarly adventurous life, feels increasingly imprisoned in the Montrician castle. While the somewhat flimsy fantasy world offers some decent adventure and intrigue, most of the alternating narrative (Lilac’s in first-person present tense, Cal’s from close third-person) consists of the lovers’ being jealous and angry while circumstances hold them apart while Lilac works much harder to avoid consummating her year-old marriage than she does to govern. Sometimes-awkward writing, usually due to the limitations of present-tense narration, inconsistent characterization, and uneven pacing plague the text. Physical descriptors are few and far between, but the world is established as diverse in terms of race (for example, Lilac’s mother is dark-skinned) and sexuality (Lilac’s aunt is in a same-sex marriage).

Purely for completists. (map) (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-51594-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else.

ALL THIS TIME

A modern-day fairy tale about two teenagers suffering from loss who find healing in one another.

Despite the ups and downs in their relationship, Kyle and Kimberly have always made up, and Kyle looks forward to attending college together after graduation. But on the night they should be celebrating, Kimberly confesses that she has committed to a different college and breaks up with him. As they argue, their car crashes, and Kyle later wakes up in the hospital and learns that Kimberly is dead. In his grief, Kyle blames himself for her death. He struggles to leave his bed most days, ignores calls from his and Kimberly’s best friend, Sam, and has visions of Kimberly and life before the accident. One day, while visiting Kimberly’s grave, he meets Marley, a girl who likes telling stories and is mourning the death of her twin sister. Predictably, their natural affinity for one another evolves into romance. It is unfortunate that Kyle essentially moves from one romantic relationship to another on his journey to better understanding himself and his co-dependence on those closest to him, although his gradual development into a more considerate person redeems him. The pacing remains even until the critical plot disruption, resulting in the rest of the story feeling disjointed and rushed. All characters are White.

For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6634-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more