Fantasy for well-read adults.

WITCHES OF EAST END

From the Witches of East End series , Vol. 1

First in de la Cruz’s debut adult series about the adventures of a family of Long Island witches.

The author, known for her Blue Bloods YA series featuring undead Manhattan debutantes, again does not have to stretch for likely settings—the Hamptons are the ideal home base for the Beauchamps, a mother and two daughters, longtime residents. Quite a longtime in fact—ever since Salem witch hunters hanged the two daughters, Ingrid and Freya, who were later reborn to their mother, Joanna. After Salem, witchly higher-ups restricted the open deployment of magical powers. The Beauchamps are so deep undercover that the community they inhabit, “North Hampton,” does not appear on any map. This Hampton is refreshingly devoid of rich people until two brothers, Bran and Killian, arrive to restore Fair Haven, their ancestral mansion. Freya, a bartender, recognizes an ancient soul mate in Bran, and they announce their engagement at a lavish Fair Haven party. Nevertheless, she can’t resist shagging preternaturally handsome Killian in the bathroom during the party. Public librarian Ingrid is chafing at the magic ban—with a simple incantation, she could easily cure a distraught co-worker’s infertility. Soon Ingrid is exchanging salutary spells for contributions to the library fund. When she’s not torn between two lovers, Freya lapses back into her own peculiar brand of magic—her aphrodisiac cocktails perform as advertised. Most daringly of all, Joanna raises a local artist from the dead. But once unleashed, the white magic provokes dark retribution: An undersea miasma is killing off fish and wild life, children are contracting a deadly influenza, vampires (vacationing Blue Bloods?) are infiltrating and the police are “liking” the witches for homicide. But this is secular 21st-century New York, not puritan colonial Massachusetts. Things have changed—haven’t they? A decidedly weird mishmash of mythologies, a serpentine plot and a thicket of back stories intertwine as de la Cruz sets up the continuing saga, but it all gels magnificently.

Fantasy for well-read adults.

Pub Date: June 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4013-2390-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

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With an aura of both enchantment and authenticity, Bardugo’s compulsively readable novel leaves a portal ajar for equally...

NINTH HOUSE

Yale’s secret societies hide a supernatural secret in this fantasy/murder mystery/school story.

Most Yale students get admitted through some combination of impressive academics, athletics, extracurriculars, family connections, and donations, or perhaps bribing the right coach. Not Galaxy “Alex” Stern. The protagonist of Bardugo’s (King of Scars, 2019, etc.) first novel for adults, a high school dropout and low-level drug dealer, Alex got in because she can see dead people. A Yale dean who's a member of Lethe, one of the college’s famously mysterious secret societies, offers Alex a free ride if she will use her spook-spotting abilities to help Lethe with its mission: overseeing the other secret societies’ occult rituals. In Bardugo’s universe, the “Ancient Eight” secret societies (Lethe is the eponymous Ninth House) are not just old boys’ breeding grounds for the CIA, CEOs, Supreme Court justices, and so on, as they are in ours; they’re wielders of actual magic. Skull and Bones performs prognostications by borrowing patients from the local hospital, cutting them open, and examining their entrails. St. Elmo’s specializes in weather magic, useful for commodities traders; Aurelian, in unbreakable contracts; Manuscript goes in for glamours, or “illusions and lies,” helpful to politicians and movie stars alike. And all these rituals attract ghosts. It’s Alex’s job to keep the supernatural forces from embarrassing the magical elite by releasing chaos into the community (all while trying desperately to keep her grades up). “Dealing with ghosts was like riding the subway: Do not make eye contact. Do not smile. Do not engage. Otherwise, you never know what might follow you home.” A townie’s murder sets in motion a taut plot full of drug deals, drunken assaults, corruption, and cover-ups. Loyalties stretch and snap. Under it all runs the deep, dark river of ambition and anxiety that at once powers and undermines the Yale experience. Alex may have more reason than most to feel like an imposter, but anyone who’s spent time around the golden children of the Ivy League will likely recognize her self-doubt.

With an aura of both enchantment and authenticity, Bardugo’s compulsively readable novel leaves a portal ajar for equally dazzling sequels.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-31307-2

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Fantasy fans will love this fast-paced adventure, with its complex magic system, thoughtful hero and bold heroine.

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC

From the Shades of Magic series , Vol. 1

A fast-paced fantasy adventure that takes readers into a series of interconnected worlds ruled by magic—or the lack of it.

Long ago, the doors between worlds were open, and anyone with magic could travel from one to the next. Now the doors are closed, and only a chosen few have the power to travel between Grey London, a world without magic, Red London, a world suffused with it, and White London, a world where magic is scarce, coveted and jealously guarded. As for Black London, the city consumed, no one would be so foolish as to risk a trip—not even Kell. Officially, he’s a royal messenger, carrying letters among the rulers of the three Londons. Unofficially, he’s a smuggler who collects artifacts from other worlds. It’s that habit that leads him to accept a dangerous relic, something that shouldn’t exist. And it’s when a wanted Grey London thief named Lila steals the artifact that the real trouble starts—for both of them. Schwab (Vicious, 2013, etc.) creates a memorable world—actually, three memorable worlds—and even more memorable characters. Lila in particular is a winningly unconventional heroine who, as she declares, would “rather die on an adventure than live standing still.” The brisk plot makes this a page-turner that confronts darkness but is never overwhelmed by it.

Fantasy fans will love this fast-paced adventure, with its complex magic system, thoughtful hero and bold heroine.

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7653-7645-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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