Reads like an Arthur C. Clarke–Stephen King collaboration set in Silent Hill—fans of dark sci-fi will enjoy.

REFRACTION

Marty will do anything to get to his brother, even sell deadly, black-market mirrors.

A year ago an alien ship appeared above Earth, and when humans destroyed it, the ShatterRing stretched around the planet and mirrors everywhere released a fog that hid deadly Beings. Now only Cisco Island (off the coast of Florida), London, and Singapore remain. Ty, Marty’s older brother, is in London, and the only way Marty, who suffers from OCD, can think to raise the money to get to him is to sell reflective items like glasses and telescopes, which have been outlawed by repressive Mayor Ackermann. When that gets Marty caught and exiled with Ackermann’s hunky son, Elliott, the two have to set aside their mutual distrust to survive on the fog-shrouded mainland; what they discover there changes their perception of reality and sets them on a new course that may save Earth—or get them killed. Hughes’ (Afterimage, 2018) genre mashup starts with relentless action and then eases up a bit to allow for good character development and some hefty, fun plot twists. Marty’s OCD is integral and well explained and explored. Characters hew to the white default.

Reads like an Arthur C. Clarke–Stephen King collaboration set in Silent Hill—fans of dark sci-fi will enjoy. (Science fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62414-890-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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A lushly written story with an intriguing heart.

ONCE UPON A BROKEN HEART

From the Once Upon a Broken Heart series , Vol. 1

After praying to a Fate for help, Evangeline discovers the dangerous world of magic.

When her father passes away, Evangeline is left with her cold stepmother and kind but distant stepsister, Marisol. Despite inheriting a steady trust in magic, belief in her late mother’s homeland of the mystical North (where fantastical creatures live), and philosophy of hope for the future, her dreams are dashed when Luc, her love, pledges to marry Marisol instead. Evangeline desperately prays to the Prince of Hearts, a dangerous and fickle Fate famed for his heart that is waiting to be revived by his one true love—and his potentially lethal kisses. The bargain they strike sends her on a dark and magical journey throughout the land. The writing style fluctuates from clever and original to overly verbose and often confusing in its jumble of senses. While the pervasive magic and concept of the Fates as a religious system add interest, other fantasy elements are haphazardly incorporated without enough time devoted to building a cohesive world. However, the themes of love, the power of story, family influence, and holding onto belief are well rounded and add depth. The plot contains welcome surprises, and the large cast piques curiosity; readers will wish more time was spent getting to know them. Evangeline has rose-gold hair and, like other main characters, reads as White; there is diversity among the fantasy races in this world.

A lushly written story with an intriguing heart. (map) (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26839-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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A dazzling debut.

BEASTS OF PREY

Opposites come together hoping to capture a menacing creature, only to find a greater purpose.

Ekon Okojo, studious and cautious, aspires to continue his family’s legacy as a Son of the Six, one of the city of Lkossa’s class of anointed warriors. Passionate and impulsive Koffi, who dreams of being free, is an indentured beastkeeper of the Night Zoo—a collection of exotic species owned by the greedy Baaz Mtombé. In the span of a single night, their paths cross and their destinies are forever altered: Ekon is cast out of the warrior class, and Koffi faces a lifetime of servitude. The pair form a tenuous partnership and venture into the Greater Jungle to hunt the Shetani, a powerful, vicious monster, hoping this will solve both their problems. As they are both headstrong and mistrustful, they get off to a rough start, but they become closer with each brush with death. Their quest for vengeance on the Shetani, which is wreaking havoc on Lkossa, turns into something more when they make an unanticipated discovery. Saving their village—and humanity—comes down to Ekon’s warrior instinct and Koffi’s ability to control the magic her people call the splendor. This pan-African story, rife with betrayal and narrated through poetic language that evokes vivid imagery, will ensnare readers, keeping them engaged with its energetic pace. The beautiful blend of mythology, romance, and action ends with a hint at more to come. All characters are Black.

A dazzling debut. (maps, author’s note) (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-40568-0

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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