THE DAMNED

From the Beautiful series , Vol. 2

Following The Beautiful (2019), Bastien and Celine struggle with the consequences of her deal with Nicodemus.

After Celine traded her memories of them in exchange for his powerful vampire uncle Nico’s turning him, Bastien’s reborn as a vampire—and he’s not happy about it. Volatile, he embraces vices until his uncle, having given up on molding Bastien as a human legacy, decides on even higher aspirations for Bastien, ambitions in the Otherworld that the vampires had been banished from. The mythologies hinted at before (the Fallen, the Brotherhood, the Otherworld, the Sylvan Wyld’s Winter Court, and the Summer Court of the Sylvan Vale) are unveiled in expansive worldbuilding. On top of that, multiple members of the Saint Germains’ vampire family gain greater prominence in third-person point-of-view chapters that frequently reveal their backstories. Meanwhile, Celine recovers from residual traumas from experiences that she can’t remember—because of a head injury, or so she’s been told. Handsome detective Michael is patient with her every step of the way; she wishes she could return his feelings, but nagging flashes of memory have her looking for someone else. But those returning bits of memory shouldn’t be possible, not with how powerful Nico is. Eventually, the romantic storyline gets quite steamy. Historical, multicultural New Orleans is depicted with all its racism—Bastien is multiracial (quadroon and Taíno) and Celine’s French father was always secretive about her Asian mother.

Decadent escapism. (map) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-984812-58-2

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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A love letter to fans who will forgive (and even revel in) its excesses and indulgences.

MIDNIGHT SUN

From the Twilight series , Vol. 5

A long-awaited Twilight (2005) companion novel told from vampire Edward’s point of view.

Edward Cullen, a 104-year-old vampire (and eternal 17-year-old), finds his world turned upside down when new girl Bella Swan’s addictive scent drives a primal hunger, launching the classic story of vampire-meets-girl, vampire-wants-to-eat-girl, vampire-falls-in-love-with-girl. Edward’s broody inner monologue allows readers to follow every beat of his falling in love. The glacial pace and already familiar plot points mean that instead of surprise twists, characterization reigns. Meyer doesn’t shy away from making Edward far less sympathetic than Bella’s view of him (and his mind reading confirms that Bella’s view of him isn’t universal). Bella benefits from being seen without the curtain of self-deprecation from the original book, as Edward analyzes her every action for clues to her personality. The deeper, richer characterization of the leads comes at the expense of the secondary cast, who (with a few exceptions) alternate primarily along gender lines, between dimwitted buffoons and jealous mean girls. Once the vampiric threat from James’ storyline kicks off, vampire maneuvering and strategizing show off the interplay of the Cullens’ powers in a fresh way. After the action of the climax starts in earnest, though, it leans more into summary and monologue to get to the well-known ending. Aside from the Quileutes and the occasional background character, the cast defaults to White.

A love letter to fans who will forgive (and even revel in) its excesses and indulgences. (Paranormal romance. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-70704-6

Page Count: 672

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge.

THE LAKE

Two teens with a dark secret return to their old summer camp.

Childhood friends Esme and Kayla can’t wait to return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors-in-training, ready to try everything they couldn’t do when they were younger: find cute boys, stay up late, and sneak out after hours. Even Andy, their straight-laced supervisor, can’t dampen their excitement, especially after they meet the crushworthy Olly and Jake. An intuitive 17-year-old, Esme is ready to jump in and teach her cute little campers. But when a threatening message appears, Esme and Kayla realize the secret they’ve kept hidden for nearly a decade is no longer safe. Paranoia and fear soon cause Esme and Kayla to revisit their ominous secret and realize that nobody in the camp can be trusted. The slow buildup of suspense and the use of classic horror elements contrast with lighthearted camp activities, bonding with new friends, and budding romance. Similarly, Esme’s first-person point of view allows for increased tension and action as well as offering insight into her emotional and mental well-being. Discussions of adulthood, trauma, and recovery are subtle and realistic, but acts of sexism and machismo aren’t fully analyzed. While the strong buildup of action comes late, it leads to a shockingly satisfying finale. Major characters are White.

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12497-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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