ARCHANGEL'S VIPER

Readers just can’t get enough of Singh (Silver Silence, 2017, etc.) and her exquisitely rendered paranormal romance.

Holly Chang, formerly known as Sorrow, is still coming to terms with the brutal attack that left her uniquely immortal, but when she discovers there’s a hefty reward for her capture, she has to work with the powerful but aggravating vampire Venom to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Nearly four years have passed since Holly Chang was attacked by the psychotically insane Archangel Uram and forced to drink his blood, changing her into an immortal being who’s not quite vampire but definitely not human. No one is quite sure what to do with her, but she knows it’s time to move away from the deeply angry and violent persona Sorrow and reconnect with her old self, including re-establishing ties to her human family. She also thinks her journey may be tied in a very deep—and possibly romantic—way to Venom, the vampire member of the powerful Seven, immortals who serve Raphael, the Archangel of New York. Venom is also a unique being, more vampire than Holly but also possessing snakelike aspects, like the capacity to mesmerize and a poisonous bite, two paranormal facets that Holly shares, though no one is sure why. Holly is learning to control her strength and these elements, but everything is disrupted when she's nearly kidnapped and learns there’s an enormous bounty to capture her alive. Meanwhile, Holly is feeling a psychic pull to Europe, and she worries that somehow Uram may be trying to control her from beyond the grave. As Viper and Holly race for answers, they may find salvation in each other by healing their profound, shared sense of otherness. Another Guild Hunter title replete with complex worldbuilding and the perfect balance of horror, heroism, passion, honor, and, always, always, a message of redemptive love.

Readers just can’t get enough of Singh (Silver Silence, 2017, etc.) and her exquisitely rendered paranormal romance.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-451-48824-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA

A breezy and fun contemporary fantasy.

A tightly wound caseworker is pushed out of his comfort zone when he’s sent to observe a remote orphanage for magical children.

Linus Baker loves rules, which makes him perfectly suited for his job as a midlevel bureaucrat working for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, where he investigates orphanages for children who can do things like make objects float, who have tails or feathers, and even those who are young witches. Linus clings to the notion that his job is about saving children from cruel or dangerous homes, but really he’s a cog in a government machine that treats magical children as second-class citizens. When Extremely Upper Management sends for Linus, he learns that his next assignment is a mission to an island orphanage for especially dangerous kids. He is to stay on the island for a month and write reports for Extremely Upper Management, which warns him to be especially meticulous in his observations. When he reaches the island, he meets extraordinary kids like Talia the gnome, Theodore the wyvern, and Chauncey, an amorphous blob whose parentage is unknown. The proprietor of the orphanage is a strange but charming man named Arthur, who makes it clear to Linus that he will do anything in his power to give his charges a loving home on the island. As Linus spends more time with Arthur and the kids, he starts to question a world that would shun them for being different, and he even develops romantic feelings for Arthur. Lambda Literary Award–winning author Klune (The Art of Breathing, 2019, etc.) has a knack for creating endearing characters, and readers will grow to love Arthur and the orphans alongside Linus. Linus himself is a lovable protagonist despite his prickliness, and Klune aptly handles his evolving feelings and morals. The prose is a touch wooden in places, but fans of quirky fantasy will eat it up.

A breezy and fun contemporary fantasy.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21728-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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THE PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE

A celebration of fantasy that melds modern ideology with classic tropes. More of these dragons, please.

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After 1,000 years of peace, whispers that “the Nameless One will return” ignite the spark that sets the world order aflame.

No, the Nameless One is not a new nickname for Voldemort. Here, evil takes the shape of fire-breathing dragons—beasts that feed off chaos and imbalance—set on destroying humankind. The leader of these creatures, the Nameless One, has been trapped in the Abyss for ages after having been severely wounded by the sword Ascalon wielded by Galian Berethnet. These events brought about the current order: Virtudom, the kingdom set up by Berethnet, is a pious society that considers all dragons evil. In the East, dragons are worshiped as gods—but not the fire-breathing type. These dragons channel the power of water and are said to be born of stars. They forge a connection with humans by taking riders. In the South, an entirely different way of thinking exists. There, a society of female mages called the Priory worships the Mother. They don’t believe that the Berethnet line, continued by generations of queens, is the sacred key to keeping the Nameless One at bay. This means he could return—and soon. “Do you not see? It is a cycle.” The one thing uniting all corners of the world is fear. Representatives of each belief system—Queen Sabran the Ninth of Virtudom, hopeful dragon rider Tané of the East, and Ead Duryan, mage of the Priory from the South—are linked by the common goal of keeping the Nameless One trapped at any cost. This world of female warriors and leaders feels natural, and while there is a “chosen one” aspect to the tale, it’s far from the main point. Shannon’s depth of imagination and worldbuilding are impressive, as this 800-pager is filled not only with legend, but also with satisfying twists that turn legend on its head. Shannon isn’t new to this game of complex storytelling. Her Bone Season novels (The Song Rising, 2017, etc.) navigate a multilayered society of clairvoyants. Here, Shannon chooses a more traditional view of magic, where light fights against dark, earth against sky, and fire against water. Through these classic pairings, an entirely fresh and addicting tale is born. Shannon may favor detailed explication over keeping a steady pace, but the epic converging of plotlines at the end is enough to forgive.

A celebration of fantasy that melds modern ideology with classic tropes. More of these dragons, please.

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63557-029-8

Page Count: 848

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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