An atmospheric and complicated vampire tale that’s worth the effort of reading it.

THE GATHERING STORM

From the Katerina Trilogy series , Vol. 1

Sixteen-year-old Katerina, a descendant of Russian royalty, is threatened with the evil sorcery of vampires in this first of a trilogy.

Attending a school for young noblewomen, Katerina feels she’s valued only for her potential for a good marriage but she wants a career in medicine, her true passion—not likely for a young woman in 1888 Russia. When classmates fall deathly ill, Katerina’s convinced that her roommate, Elena, Princess of Montenegro, one of a long line of “blood drinkers,” is causing the illnesses. Elena is also trying to force Katerina into an unwanted relationship with her handsome, controlling older brother, Danilo. Katerina possesses the dark magic of necromancy—the ability to reanimate dead things. Could that power be motivating the vampire’s domineering drive to marry her? Perhaps the ring Katerina has been given by an elderly woman with her own agenda can help her fend him off, or maybe George, the tsar’s younger son, an apparent ally and potential love interest, will help? The fully realized setting, a fantastical version of pre-revolutionary Russia, adds a level of believability to this debut. Many key players are well-rounded, though with most aligned with Dark or Light forces, readers may need a scorecard to keep track of all the alliances, as well as the complex, never clearly explained back story.

An atmospheric and complicated vampire tale that’s worth the effort of reading it. (Historical fantasy. 11 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-74022-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011

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Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre.

SHATTER ME

A dystopic thriller joins the crowded shelves but doesn't distinguish itself.

Juliette was torn from her home and thrown into an asylum by The Reestablishment, a militaristic regime in control since an environmental catastrophe left society in ruins. Juliette’s journal holds her tortured thoughts in an attempt to repress memories of the horrific act that landed her in a cell. Mysteriously, Juliette’s touch kills. After months of isolation, her captors suddenly give her a cellmate—Adam, a drop-dead gorgeous guy. Adam, it turns out, is immune to her deadly touch. Unfortunately, he’s a soldier under orders from Warner, a power-hungry 19-year-old. But Adam belongs to a resistance movement; he helps Juliette escape to their stronghold, where she finds that she’s not the only one with superhuman abilities. The ending falls flat as the plot devolves into comic-book territory. Fast-paced action scenes convey imminent danger vividly, but there’s little sense of a broader world here. Overreliance on metaphor to express Juliette’s jaw-dropping surprise wears thin: “My mouth is sitting on my kneecaps. My eyebrows are dangling from the ceiling.” For all of her independence and superpowers, Juliette never moves beyond her role as a pawn in someone else’s schemes.

Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-208548-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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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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