A worthy follow-up to its predecessor, with a cliffhanger of an ending that will leave readers eager for more.

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HARBINGER

From the Dragonrider Legacy series , Vol. 2

Told from the dual perspectives of Jenna Farrow, princess and dragonrider, and 16-year-old Reigh, a human boy raised in the elven jungle, Harbinger takes the baton from Savage (2017) and forges ahead.

Jenna is one of the fiercest warriors her kingdom has, much her father’s chagrin—he’d rather she pursue more ladylike endeavors. She and her brother do their best to protect Maldobar, but they prove no match for Tibran forces and are soon captured in battle and tortured for information by Lord Argonox. Jaevid Broadfeather has returned, much to the delight of the citizens of Luntharda and Maldobar, but he has his work cut out for him with the Tibran army increasing in size and brutality and with fate telling him he must join forces with Reigh to give Maldobar the victory it needs. Reigh must answer the call of the dark goddess who has chosen him or risk the destruction of the ones he loves. Can Jenna endure the cruelty of Argonox long enough to fight back? Can Jaevid be the savior his people so desperately need? The story is filled with fast-paced action and emotional arcs that pull readers in as much as the battle scenes. Main characters are implied white, and there is diversity of skin tone in secondary characters.

A worthy follow-up to its predecessor, with a cliffhanger of an ending that will leave readers eager for more. (map) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-948671-27-9

Page Count: 374

Publisher: Month9Books

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning.

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SCYTHE

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 1

Two teens train to be society-sanctioned killers in an otherwise immortal world.

On post-mortal Earth, humans live long (if not particularly passionate) lives without fear of disease, aging, or accidents. Operating independently of the governing AI (called the Thunderhead since it evolved from the cloud), scythes rely on 10 commandments, quotas, and their own moral codes to glean the population. After challenging Hon. Scythe Faraday, 16-year-olds Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova reluctantly become his apprentices. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty. The vivid and often violent action unfolds slowly, anchored in complex worldbuilding and propelled by political machinations and existential musings. Scythes’ journal entries accompany Rowan’s and Citra’s dual and dueling narratives, revealing both personal struggles and societal problems. The futuristic post–2042 MidMerican world is both dystopia and utopia, free of fear, unexpected death, and blatant racism—multiracial main characters discuss their diverse ethnic percentages rather than purity—but also lacking creativity, emotion, and purpose. Elegant and elegiac, brooding but imbued with gallows humor, Shusterman’s dark tale thrusts realistic, likable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions.

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7242-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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