Readers will eagerly barrel over the edge of this cliffhanger.

AN ANATOMY OF BEASTS

From the Faloiv series , Vol. 2

Picking up directly after the events in A Conspiracy of Stars (2018), this volume follows Octavia in her search for answers and her discovery of yet more questions.

After losing her mother and uncovering the sinister plans of N’Terra’s most influential and extremist leader, Octavia flees her home, enduring another shock when she encounters her supposedly dead grandparents. Safe in the bewildering and amazing Faloii city of Mbekenkanush, Octavia discovers over 100 humans—Acclimates who left N’Terra to learn from the Faloii. Their peace is shattered, however, when one of Dr. Albatur’s weaponized experiments attacks and the Faloii become aware of N’Terra’s violations of Faloiv’s delicate natural order—crimes that risk open war not just with the Faloii, but with the planet itself. Octavia is frantic to stem the tide of conflict, but every move she makes only seems to unearth more treacherous secrets and deeper connections between the N’Terrans and the Faloii stretching back long before the humans ever crashed onto the planet. As with the first book, readers who hunger for immersive worldbuilding and for the moral ambiguity that is native to sci-fi as a genre will be well-sated here. Plot development that initially teeters toward a colonizer-savior narrative (much like Avatar) frenetically swings into greater, if still anthropocentric, complexity toward its conclusion. Octavia and several other characters are black; ethnicity is unclear for other humans.

Readers will eagerly barrel over the edge of this cliffhanger. (Science fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: April 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-264424-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A disappointing delivery on a potentially gripping second volume.

THE BALLAD OF NEVER AFTER

From the Once Upon a Broken Heart series , Vol. 2

Evangeline faces new dangers in her quest for happiness in this follow-up to 2021’s Once Upon a Broken Heart.

As Evangeline Fox seeks a cure for her poisoned husband, Prince Apollo, the enticing and infuriating Fate Jacks reappears, offering to save Apollo if she unlocks the Valory Arch. Remembering the long list of ills brought upon her by the Fate, Evangeline refuses. When the new heir arrives and Apollo wakes with a new curse and glowing red eyes, she is forced to delve into the mysteries of the Valors and find the arch’s four missing magical stones whose powers are luck, truth, mirth, and youth. The inclusion of expanded Valor lore alongside the preexisting blend of fairy-tale and paranormal creatures is intriguing and fits the overarching theme of storytelling as history. The ongoing use of emotions as a scale for displaying and determining one’s humanity, especially by Fates, is equally interesting. Unfortunately, the impact of Evangeline’s often amusing narration and numerous surprising plot twists is diluted by the meandering pacing, convoluted sensory descriptions, and close focus on Evangeline’s fluctuating attraction toward her potential love interests. Despite the positive emphasis on hope and happily-ever-afters, Evangeline’s romantic relationship with Jacks borders on manipulative and toxic. Evangeline reads White; side characters are fantasy diverse.

A disappointing delivery on a potentially gripping second volume. (map) (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-26842-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 16

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

more