A deftly executed melding of folklore and reality grounded in contemporary issues.

WICKED AS YOU WISH

From the A Hundred Names for Magic series , Vol. 1

A cursed prince and a girl whose presence stops magic join forces to regain the kingdom of Avalon from the Snow Queen.

Prince Alexei of Avalon has lived incognito since the Snow Queen ensnared his home kingdom in ice. He is now in hiding with Tala’s family in Arizona, keeping his identity and Tala’s spell-breaking a secret given the illegality of magic in the Royal States of America. When the fabled firebird, Avalon’s protector, arrives in Arizona, Alex, Tala, and a group sent by the mysterious leader Cheshire return to Avalon in an attempt to defeat the Snow Queen once and for all. Mythology and folklore from around the world, including King Arthur, Yamato Takeru, and El Cid, meet in a single world. This mishmash does not overwhelm but instead makes for an intriguing read. Fantastical events such as the fall of Wonderland are woven seamlessly with emotionally charged real-world elements such as racist Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Tala is Scottish and Filipina, allowing for exploration of immigration and diasporic communities. Alex is gay, and other characters are nonbinary, disabled, adopted, and of various ethnicities. Incorporating modern sensibilities and a sprawling world drawn from fairy tales, Chupeco (The Never Tilting World, 2019, etc.) has brought readers a truly original novel.

A deftly executed melding of folklore and reality grounded in contemporary issues. (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7266-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends.

RED QUEEN

From the Red Queen series , Vol. 1

Amid a war and rising civil unrest, a young thief discovers the shocking power within her that sparks a revolution.

At 17, Mare knows that without an apprenticeship or job, her next birthday will bring a conscription to join the war. She contributes to her poor family’s income the only way she can, stealing from the Silvers, who possess myriad powers and force her and her fellow Reds into servitude. The Silvers literally bleed silver, and they can manipulate metal, plants and animals, among many other talents. When Mare’s best friend, Kilorn, loses his job and is doomed to conscription, she is determined to change his fate. She stumbles into a mysterious stranger after her plan goes awry and is pulled out of her village and into the world of Silver royalty. Once inside the palace walls, it isn’t long before Mare learns that powers unknown to red-blooded humans lie within her, powers that could lead a revolution. Familiar tropes abound. Mare is revealed as a great catalyst for change among classes and is groomed from rags to riches, and of course, seemingly kind characters turn out to be foes. However, Aveyard weaves a compelling new world, and Mare and the two men in her life evolve intriguingly as class tension rises. Revolution supersedes romance, setting the stage for action-packed surprises.

An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-231063-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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A must-read with a conclusion that will leave readers craving more.

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THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS

A monster spreads madness through the streets of Shanghai.

It is the autumn of 1926, and Shanghai is poised at the brink of transformation. Foreign powers have carved out portions of the city for themselves; what remains is divided between two feuding gangs, the Chinese Scarlet Gang and the Russian White Flowers. Eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai has returned home from New York City, wreathed in a reputation for ruthlessness and ready to step into her role as heir to the Scarlet Gang. Four years ago, a betrayal by the White Flowers heir, Roma Montagov, a young man of 19, led to the deaths of countless Scarlets, and Juliette is determined to avenge her gang. But when a lethal contagion strikes the city, targeting Scarlets and White Flowers alike, Juliette and Roma grudgingly agree to cooperate on an investigation in order to save their city. The slow-burning romance in this book takes a back seat to the gripping mystery grounded in immersive historical detail. Allusions to Romeo and Juliet are evident in names and specific scenes, but familiar themes of family, loyalty, and identity bear new significance in Gong’s inventive adaptation. Language is a tool wielded deftly by the multilingual characters, who switch easily among English, French, Shanghainese, Russian, and more, with Mandarin as the primary dialect for Chinese phrases. A strong supporting cast that includes a trans girl completes this striking debut.

A must-read with a conclusion that will leave readers craving more. (Historical fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5769-0

Page Count: 464

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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