A nifty idea clumsily executed.

THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE CURSED

From the Dispossessed Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A newish supernatural being arrives in this straight-out gothic saga.

Gargoyles, forced to protect humans from demons, lurk overhead on the old Gothic church in Paris bought by a titled English family in 1899. Gargoyle Luc tries to protect the family’s two daughters as they roam Paris looking for their missing brother, Grayson. Proper in name only, Ingrid, 17 and the story’s main heroine, doesn’t bother with chaperones, while Gabby, at 15, dresses in a sexy red dress and goes out to visit men alone. Meanwhile, hellhounds are slaughtering Paris’ population of young ladies. Readers learn early that Grayson is a prisoner in the Underneath, where gargoyles and humans cannot go. Luc can’t seem to do his protecting job properly even with the help of the Alliance, a group of humans who also fight demons. Forbidden romance and hot kissing scenes abound. Gargoyles are not yet overexposed in books for teens, and Morgan’s description of the Underneath also stands out as inventive. However, the gothic genre leads her into the usual conventions of sentence fragments and hyperbole (“Hesitation meant death”). Her execution of the story comes across as awkward and inexpert, with much repetition. The concept may be somewhat new, but the plotline could have been lifted from any 1930s monster movie, including the villain who obligingly explains all before attacking.

A nifty idea clumsily executed. (Paranormal suspense. 12 & up)

Pub Date: May 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-385-74311-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A slo-mo environmental disaster story.

THE NATURE OF WITCHES

Weather witches confront climate change in this fantasy.

Clara Densmore is her generation’s sole Everwitch and is unwilling to embrace her powers. Unlike the male and female autumn, winter, spring, and summer witches, whose powers peak during their respective seasons, Clara thrives year-round. At the Eastern School of Solar Magic in Pennsylvania, 17-year-old Clara shuns friendships and only does short-term flings, as her love can be lethal and has already killed her parents and best friend. Losing her powers seems like the selfless solution, but nonmagical shaders have pushed the planet too far with their environmental destruction. Seasonal witches are starting to die amid accelerated natural disasters—and only Clara can save the world. A budding romance with magical mentor/visiting botany student 18-year-old Sang Park from California helps Clara bloom. Redheaded, blue-eyed Clara is cued as White, and Sang is Korean American—but race, class, and other identity-related concerns are rarely a factor in this world. Debut author Griffin unfortunately fails to breathe new life into chosen one fantasy tropes—the obligatory villain, the unavoidable romance, the overly dramatic sacrifice—but excels at lush and lovely descriptions of nature and the weather and delivers a stern, if heavy-handed, message about environmental consequences of modern living.

A slo-mo environmental disaster story. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72822-942-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

CROOKED KINGDOM

From the Six of Crows series , Vol. 2

This hefty sequel to Six of Crows (2015) brings high-tension conclusions to the many intertwined intrigues of Ketterdam.

It's time for revenge—has been ever since old-before-his-time crook Kaz and his friends were double-crossed by the merchant princes of Ketterdam, an early-industrial Amsterdam-like fantasy city filled to the brim with crime and corruption. Disabled, infuriated, and perpetually scheming Kaz, the light-skinned teen mastermind, coordinates the efforts to rescue Inej. Though Kaz is loath to admit weakness, Inej is his, for he can't bear any harm come to the knife-wielding, brown-skinned Suli acrobat. Their team is rounded out by Wylan, a light-skinned chemist and musician whose merchant father tried to have him murdered and who can't read due to a print disability; Wylan's brown-skinned biracial boyfriend, Jesper, a flirtatious gambler with ADHD; Nina, the pale brunette Grisha witch and recovering addict from Russia-like Ravka; Matthias, Nina's national enemy and great love, a big, white, blond drüskelle warrior from the cold northern lands; and Kuwei, the rescued Shu boy everyone wants to kidnap. Can these kids rescue everyone who needs rescuing in Ketterdam's vile political swamp? This is dark and violent—one notable scene features a parade of teens armed with revolvers, rifles, pistols, explosives, and flash bombs—but gut-wrenchingly genuine. Astonishingly, Bardugo keeps all these balls in the air over the 500-plus pages of narrative.

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-213-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more