A historical-hodgepodge guilty pleasure.

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THE GLITTERING COURT

A runaway countess escapes an arranged marriage through a business that brings brides to the most eligible bachelors of the New World of Adoria.

The Countess of Rothford descends from one of Osfrid’s noblest bloodlines, but her family’s financial desperation leads her grandmother to arrange a marriage for her with a dull, itchy noble whose own grandmother can’t wait to control her life. Opportunity knocks when Ada, a former attendant, is selected for the Glittering Court, an intensive finishing school that furnishes brides to the New World’s new elites. Ada doesn’t want to go, so the countess goes instead, taking both the name Adelaide and Ada’s place. Fish-out-of-water Adelaide’s an expert at the niceties the school teaches yet comically incompetent at basic commoner skills; if she fails to fit in, she’ll be discovered and sent back home. She befriends her roommates, ambitious Tamsin and Sirminican refugee Mira (who stands out among the evidently white, English-cognate Osfridians and suffers for it), and is helped by the Glittering Court owner’s handsome son, who knows her secret but has a dangerous one of his own. Soon, the girls are sent to Adoria, the frontier where Adelaide has a chance of marrying for money—or love. The story, genially narrated by Adelaide, offers few surprises, but it goes down easy, abetted by worldbuilding that borrows freely from both Regency- and frontier-novel tropes without questioning either very hard.

A historical-hodgepodge guilty pleasure. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-59514-841-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

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Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell...

SIX OF CROWS

Adolescent criminals seek the haul of a lifetime in a fantasyland at the beginning of its industrial age.

The dangerous city of Ketterdam is governed by the Merchant Council, but in reality, large sectors of the city are given over to gangs who run the gambling dens and brothels. The underworld's rising star is 17-year-old Kaz Brekker, known as Dirtyhands for his brutal amorality. Kaz walks with chronic pain from an old injury, but that doesn't stop him from utterly destroying any rivals. When a councilman offers him an unimaginable reward to rescue a kidnapped foreign chemist—30 million kruge!—Kaz knows just the team he needs to assemble. There's Inej, an itinerant acrobat captured by slavers and sold to a brothel, now a spy for Kaz; the Grisha Nina, with the magical ability to calm and heal; Matthias the zealot, hunter of Grishas and caught in a hopeless spiral of love and vengeance with Nina; Wylan, the privileged boy with an engineer's skills; and Jesper, a sharpshooter who keeps flirting with Wylan. Bardugo broadens the universe she created in the Grisha Trilogy, sending her protagonists around countries that resemble post-Renaissance northern Europe, where technology develops in concert with the magic that's both coveted and despised. It’s a highly successful venture, leaving enough open questions to cause readers to eagerly await Volume 2.

Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family . (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-212-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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Powerful, captivating, and raw—Adeyemi is a talent to watch. Exceptional

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CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE

From the Legacy of Orisha series , Vol. 1

Seventeen-year-old Zélie and companions journey to a mythic island seeking a chance to bring back magic to the land of Orïsha, in a fantasy world infused with the textures of West Africa.

Dark-skinned Zélie is a divîner—someone with latent magical abilities indicated by the distinctive white hair that sets them apart from their countrymen. She saves Princess Amari, who is on the run from her father, King Saran, after stealing the scroll that can transform divîners into magic-wielding maji, and the two flee along with Zélie’s brother. The scroll vanished 11 years ago during the king’s maji genocide, and Prince Inan, Amari’s brother, is sent in hot pursuit. When the trio learns that the impending solstice offers the only chance of restoring magic through a connection to Nana Baruku, the maternal creator deity, they race against time—and Inan—to obtain the final artifact needed for their ritual. Over the course of the book allegiances shift and characters grow, change, and confront traumas culminating in a cliffhanger ending that will leave readers anxiously awaiting the next installment. Well-drawn characters, an intense plot, and deft writing make this a strong story. That it is also a timely study on race, colorism, power, and injustice makes it great.

Powerful, captivating, and raw—Adeyemi is a talent to watch. Exceptional . (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17097-2

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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