A fast and ferocious finale sure to please fans.

STORMBREAK

From the Seafire series , Vol. 3

Following Steel Tide (2019), a high-stakes trilogy conclusion on the high seas.

No longer after simple revenge against Lir or even the rescue of her brother, Donnally, Caledonia’s goal is huge: to completely change the world, liberating everyone from the Bullets (and the Bullets from Silt, the drug used to control them). She’s still outnumbered, though, and so must add to her unlikely coalition of allies as well as take advantage of shake-ups in the ranks of the Bullets while Lir consolidates his power. Caledonia struggles under the mantle of leadership, especially when plans go awry and when she’s forced to make brutal choices that have her fearing that to beat Lir, she must become too much like him. The conflict plays out in sabotage, espionage, naval battles large and small, and close-combat with fists and knives; action sequences are obstacle-packed and skillfully drawn. What makes the action land, though, is that the stakes stay real: Characters can (and do) die, and those that do (including those who died in earlier books) are missed and mourned. Romantic storylines of many different gender constellations anchor personal stakes for the characters while not slowing down the action. Refreshingly, female friendships are given equal weight to romance. Though Caledonia, Donnally, and Lir are White, the world is racially diverse (and Caledonia’s love interest and best friend both have brown skin).

A fast and ferocious finale sure to please fans. (Science fiction. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-451-47886-3

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula.

HOCUS POCUS AND THE ALL-NEW SEQUEL

In honor of its 25th anniversary, a Disney Halloween horror/comedy film gets a sequel to go with its original novelization.

Three Salem witches hanged in 1693 for stealing a child’s life force are revived in 1993 when 16-year-old new kid Max completes a spell by lighting a magical candle (which has to be kindled by a virgin to work). Max and dazzling, popular classmate Allison have to keep said witches at bay until dawn to save all of the local children from a similar fate. Fast-forward to 2018: Poppy, daughter of Max and Allison, inadvertently works a spell that sends her parents and an aunt to hell in exchange for the gleeful witches. With help from her best friend, Travis, and classmate Isabella, on whom she has a major crush, Poppy has only hours to keep the weird sisters from working more evil. The witches, each daffier than the last, supply most of the comedy as well as plenty of menace but end up back in the infernal regions. There’s also a talking cat, a talking dog, a gaggle of costumed heroines, and an oblique reference to a certain beloved Halloween movie. Traditional Disney wholesomeness is spiced, not soured, by occasional innuendo and a big twist in the sequel. Poppy and her family are white, while Travis and Isabella are both African-American.

A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula. (Fantasy. 10-15)

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-02003-9

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Freeform/Disney

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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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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