THE SEARCH FOR DELICIOUS

What is the definition of Delicious? The King's all for apples, the Queen favors Christmas pudding, and soon the entry in Prime Minister DeCree's dictionary is a bone of contention throughout the court. Alarmed, the King dispatches young Gaylen, DeCree's foster son and Special Assistant, to take a poll of the whole kingdom. But the Queen's churlish brother Hemlock has preceded him, and the question not only raises tempers, it also seems to prove Hemlock's contention that the King plans to ban certain foods. In short order, the country is on the brink of civil war between Squashies and Crisps. So far it's a spoof of society; then Gaylen discovers, in encounterswith a woldweller, dwarfs and the winds, what the reader already knows—that long ago, before they withdrew in disgust at the folly of men, Ardis the mermaid lost the whistle that opens the door to the spring house under the lake that's the source of all water; her doll is there, and she still wants it back. Though the storm in a saucepan tempts Gaylen to echo the spirits' "It's nothing to me," loyalty and love and his own humanity prevail, and, realizing that he has the whistle (bestowed by a minstrel descended from Ardis' diverster), he bargains for her help in thwarting Hemlock's plan to dam the lake and gain control of the kingdom. A tricky, twisty plot but an intriguing one, stylishly spun by the author of The Forty-ninth Magician and other short conceits; she's doing the drawings also, which should be something to look forward to.

Pub Date: April 14, 1969

ISBN: 0312369824

Page Count: 196

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1969

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Second installments in trilogies sometimes slump—here’s hoping the third book is a return to the vibrancy of the...

CHILDREN OF VIRTUE AND VENGEANCE

From the Legacy of Orisha series , Vol. 2

In this follow-up to Children of Blood and Bone (2018), Zélie and company are back, and the future of Orïsha hangs in the balance.

Zélie, now a maji Reaper, has achieved her goal and brought magic back to Orïsha, but at great cost. Grief and loss are strong themes throughout the book, compounded by guilt for Zélie, who feels responsible for her father’s death. Zélie and her older brother, Tzain, try to help Princess Amari ascend the throne, believing her family dead—but Queen Nehanda, Amari’s mother, is very much alive and more formidable than they could imagine. The trio join the Iyika, a band of rebel maji working to protect their persecuted people from threats new and old. Though the characters’ trauma reads as real and understandable, their decisions don’t always feel sensible or logical, often stemming from a lack of communication or forethought, which may leave readers frustrated. Though still commendable for its detailed worldbuilding, with an ending compelling enough to keep fans interested in the next installment, much of the book feels like navigating minefields of characters’ ill-advised decisions. All characters are black except for a secondary character with silky black hair, tan skin, and gray eyes “like teardrops.”

Second installments in trilogies sometimes slump—here’s hoping the third book is a return to the vibrancy of the first. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-17099-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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An accomplished, exciting debut.

ALL THE STARS AND TEETH

A princess embarks on a dangerous path to the throne.

In the island kingdom of Visidia, where each person is allowed just one type of magic, only the members of the royal Montara family have the ability to wield the dangerous soul magic. Princess Amora is next in line to be High Animancer, but she must first prove to her people that she is powerful enough to use her magic to protect them. But something goes terribly wrong during a critical public ceremony, and Amora runs away with dashing pirate Bastian, whose rescue comes with a price: She must help him recover his own magic, stolen away by a dangerous man leading a growing rebellion that could bring down the whole kingdom. Debut author Grace wields her own magic with a skillful balancing act between high-stakes adventure (here there be monsters, mermaids, and high-seas shenanigans), bloody fantasy, and character development in a story with a lovable found family at its core. Amora yearns for adventure just as she welcomes her right to command her kingdom; her ferocious sense of duty and legitimate need to do good shine through. The novel’s further unravelling of dark secrets long kept comes with a recognized need for accountability and making amends which adds a thoughtful extra layer to the rich worldbuilding. Amora has copper-brown skin and dark, curly hair; other characters have a range of skin tones in this diverse world.

An accomplished, exciting debut. (guide to the kingdom) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-30778-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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