ONLY HALF HUMAN

An engaging coming-of-age tale that quickly takes wing.

In Wright’s debut YA fantasy novel, a teenage girl must decide whether to make a deal with a devil.

Lesley Robinson managed to make it all the way to high school without knowing anything about her absent father or that her mother has been hiding a huge secret. While visiting kindly old neighbor Mrs. McKee, the elderly woman surprisingly reveals that Lesley’s mother is a witch and that she senses “a great change” in the teen’s near future. The girl never imagined that change would also involve finding out that her father is a demon—specifically, her dad is an incubus and a servant of Asmodeus, a powerful demon prince. The surprises continue as Lesley develops horns, batlike wings, and even a tail. When Lesley is no longer able to hide her true nature, she and her mother move to Misty Hollow, a haven for fae creatures like herself. Now she must deal with a new town, a new school, and Asmodeus himself, who shows up to stake a claim on Lesley as his newest servant. When he offers her a chance to learn magic—including a spell that would allow her to appear human again and possibly return to her old life—she strongly considers striking a bargain. In this fantasy novel, Wright offers readers a brisk tale of a young half-demon as she struggles to decide her own fate. The plot moves along with some speed, as when Lesley goes from learning about her ancestry to starting to grow wings in the space of only a few pages. It results in a sense of consistent forward momentum that will likely keep younger readers interested and invested. Wright keeps the action intriguing by introducing a host of other creatures in Lesley’s new school, including such monstrous types as vampires, werewolves, and harpies, among others. Overall, it makes for an offbeat blend of brand-new fae creatures and beloved familiar ones.

An engaging coming-of-age tale that quickly takes wing.

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2022

ISBN: 979-8986709826

Page Count: 222

Publisher: Battle Crow Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2022

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  • New York Times Bestseller

DIVINE RIVALS

Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

A war between gods plays havoc with mortals and their everyday lives.

In a time of typewriters and steam engines, Iris Winnow awaits word from her older brother, who has enlisted on the side of Enva the Skyward goddess. Alcohol abuse led to her mother’s losing her job, and Iris has dropped out of school and found work utilizing her writing skills at the Oath Gazette. Hiding the stress of her home issues behind a brave face, Iris competes for valuable assignments that may one day earn her the coveted columnist position. Her rival for the job is handsome and wealthy Roman Kitt, whose prose entrances her so much she avoids reading his articles. At home, she writes cathartic letters to her brother, never posting them but instead placing them in her wardrobe, where they vanish overnight. One day Iris receives a reply, which, along with other events, pushes her to make dramatic life decisions. Magic plays a quiet role in this story, and readers may for a time forget there is anything supernatural going on. This is more of a wartime tale of broken families, inspired youths, and higher powers using people as pawns. It flirts with clichéd tropes but also takes some startling turns. Main characters are assumed White; same-sex marriages and gender equality at the warfront appear to be the norm in this world.

Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-85743-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

POWERLESS

From the Powerless Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes.

The Plague has left a population divided between Elites and Ordinaries—those who have powers and those who don’t; now, an Ordinary teen fights for her life.

Paedyn Gray witnessed the king kill her father five years ago, and she’s been thieving and sleeping rough ever since, all while faking Psychic abilities. When she inadvertently saves the life of Prince Kai, she becomes embroiled in the Purging Trials, a competition to commemorate the sickness that killed most of the kingdom’s Ordinaries. Kai’s duties as the future Enforcer include eradicating any remaining Ordinaries, and these Trials are his chance to prove that he’s internalized his brutal training. But Kai can’t help but find Pae’s blue eyes, silver hair, and unabashed attitude enchanting. She likewise struggles to resist his stormy gray eyes, dark hair, and rakish behavior, even as they’re pitted against each other in the Trials and by the king himself. Scenes and concepts that are strongly reminiscent of the Hunger Games fall flat: They aren’t bolstered by the original’s heart or worldbuilding logic that would have justified a few extreme story elements. Illogical leaps and inconsistent characterizations abound, with lighthearted romantic interludes juxtaposed against genocide, child abuse, and sadism. These elements, which are not sufficiently addressed, combined with the use of ableist language, cannot be erased by any amount of romantic banter. Main characters are cued white; the supporting cast has some brown-skinned characters.

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9798987380406

Page Count: 538

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023

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