Readers captivated by the setting may enjoy this novel-length setup; they will hope for more plot in the next installment.

THE RING AND THE CROWN

From the Ring and the Crown series , Vol. 1

The lives of five teens intersect in turn-of-the-20th-century London, the capital of the Franco-British Empire.

Aelwyn Myrddin, daughter of the Merlin, the magical power behind the throne, has just returned from exile in Avalon. Princess Marie-Victoria, sickly daughter of the 150-year-old Queen Eleanor, reluctantly awaits her marriage to Leopold, Kronprinz of Prussia and wielder of the magical weapon that brought the mighty empire to its knees. Wolf—short for Wolfgang—Leopold’s rapscallion younger brother, has just boarded the Saturnia, on his way to London from New York. Ronan Astor, beautiful scion of the impoverished colonial family, is also on the Saturnia, hoping to snag a rich, titled lord. And Isabelle de Valois, whose family would rule France had the British not defeated the witch Jeanne of Arkk 500 years earlier, heads across the channel to salvage her engagement to Leopold. Intrigue and heartbreak ensue. De la Cruz effectively plaits real-world history together with what-ifs both magical and political to create a fizzy period soap opera. So much attention has been spent on worldbuilding, in fact, that the actual plot takes forever to start and then resolves both abruptly and all too conveniently. Moreover, incompletely explained inconsistencies with regard to the length of Aelwyn’s exile will drive some readers crazy.

Readers captivated by the setting may enjoy this novel-length setup; they will hope for more plot in the next installment. (Historical fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-5742-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s.

GRIS GRIMLY'S FRANKENSTEIN

A slightly abridged graphic version of the classic that will drive off all but the artist’s most inveterate fans.

Admirers of the original should be warned away by veteran horror artist Bernie Wrightson’s introductory comments about Grimly’s “wonderfully sly stylization” and the “twinkle” in his artistic eye. Most general readers will founder on the ensuing floods of tiny faux handwritten script that fill the opening 10 pages of stage-setting correspondence (other lengthy letters throughout are presented in similarly hard-to-read typefaces). The few who reach Victor Frankenstein’s narrative will find it—lightly pruned and, in places, translated into sequences of largely wordless panels—in blocks of varied length interspersed amid sheaves of cramped illustrations with, overall, a sickly, greenish-yellow cast. The latter feature spidery, often skeletal figures that barrel over rough landscapes in rococo, steampunk-style vehicles when not assuming melodramatic poses. Though the rarely seen monster is a properly hard-to-resolve jumble of massive rage and lank hair, Dr. Frankenstein looks like a decayed Lyle Lovett with high cheekbones and an errant, outsized quiff. His doomed bride, Elizabeth, sports a white lock à la Elsa Lanchester, and decorative grotesqueries range from arrangements of bones and skull-faced flowers to bunnies and clownish caricatures.

Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s. (Graphic classic. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-186297-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

CROOKED KINGDOM

From the Six of Crows series , Vol. 2

This hefty sequel to Six of Crows (2015) brings high-tension conclusions to the many intertwined intrigues of Ketterdam.

It's time for revenge—has been ever since old-before-his-time crook Kaz and his friends were double-crossed by the merchant princes of Ketterdam, an early-industrial Amsterdam-like fantasy city filled to the brim with crime and corruption. Disabled, infuriated, and perpetually scheming Kaz, the light-skinned teen mastermind, coordinates the efforts to rescue Inej. Though Kaz is loath to admit weakness, Inej is his, for he can't bear any harm come to the knife-wielding, brown-skinned Suli acrobat. Their team is rounded out by Wylan, a light-skinned chemist and musician whose merchant father tried to have him murdered and who can't read due to a print disability; Wylan's brown-skinned biracial boyfriend, Jesper, a flirtatious gambler with ADHD; Nina, the pale brunette Grisha witch and recovering addict from Russia-like Ravka; Matthias, Nina's national enemy and great love, a big, white, blond drüskelle warrior from the cold northern lands; and Kuwei, the rescued Shu boy everyone wants to kidnap. Can these kids rescue everyone who needs rescuing in Ketterdam's vile political swamp? This is dark and violent—one notable scene features a parade of teens armed with revolvers, rifles, pistols, explosives, and flash bombs—but gut-wrenchingly genuine. Astonishingly, Bardugo keeps all these balls in the air over the 500-plus pages of narrative.

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-213-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more