Fun closer to the best musical theater demon trilogy around.

CURSE OF THE EVIL LIBRARIAN

From the Evil Librarian series , Vol. 3

Knudsen has a shtick and she’s sticking to it.

Demon-resistant set designer Cyn feels good about senior year. She and all her friends are blissfully coupled up; they defeated titular evil librarian and powerful demon Mr. Gabriel; and if Cyn is having sexy dreams about nice demon Peter and not boyfriend Ryan, well, they’re just dreams. Then Mr. Gabriel returns and the roller coaster of horror and humor resumes. This trilogy conclusion gives more of the same, with extra agency for best friend Annie, who has been magically gaslit by Mr. Gabriel and has emotional scars as a result, and emotional growth for alpha Cyn, who learns to accept that she’s not always in charge. Humorous beats balance the gristle and gore, and sure, it’s mostly plot and wit with emotional content largely relegated to the final denouement, but the fans—and this is purely for fans; new readers will be lost—are already on board and will happily enjoy this pacy third act, complete with musical theater references (and Cyn’s mental playlist). Physical descriptions are rare other than for inhuman demons; previous volumes indicate a white default among the main characters and a diverse extended friend group.

Fun closer to the best musical theater demon trilogy around. (Humorous horror. 13-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9427-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A disappointing delivery on a potentially gripping second volume.

THE BALLAD OF NEVER AFTER

From the Once Upon a Broken Heart series , Vol. 2

Evangeline faces new dangers in her quest for happiness in this follow-up to 2021’s Once Upon a Broken Heart.

As Evangeline Fox seeks a cure for her poisoned husband, Prince Apollo, the enticing and infuriating Fate Jacks reappears, offering to save Apollo if she unlocks the Valory Arch. Remembering the long list of ills brought upon her by the Fate, Evangeline refuses. When the new heir arrives and Apollo wakes with a new curse and glowing red eyes, she is forced to delve into the mysteries of the Valors and find the arch’s four missing magical stones whose powers are luck, truth, mirth, and youth. The inclusion of expanded Valor lore alongside the preexisting blend of fairy-tale and paranormal creatures is intriguing and fits the overarching theme of storytelling as history. The ongoing use of emotions as a scale for displaying and determining one’s humanity, especially by Fates, is equally interesting. Unfortunately, the impact of Evangeline’s often amusing narration and numerous surprising plot twists is diluted by the meandering pacing, convoluted sensory descriptions, and close focus on Evangeline’s fluctuating attraction toward her potential love interests. Despite the positive emphasis on hope and happily-ever-afters, Evangeline’s romantic relationship with Jacks borders on manipulative and toxic. Evangeline reads White; side characters are fantasy diverse.

A disappointing delivery on a potentially gripping second volume. (map) (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-26842-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 38

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

more