A sequel that serviceably does its middle-volume job; it won’t attract new readers but should please fans of Book 1.

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LOST CROW CONSPIRACY

From the Blood Rose Rebellion Trilogy series , Vol. 2

Two surpassingly magical cousins are continually pushed into action during the European revolutions of the 19th century.

How could Anna have naïvely thought that she would destroy classism, racism, and imperialism simply because she had destroyed the magical Binding that reserved spellcasting for the nobility and imprisoned the magical praetherians? Alternating sections reveal the rising chaos that resulted from her actions in Blood Rose Rebellion (2017) from dual perspectives. Anna feels trapped in Vienna both by class and gender expectations and by the demands of the freed magical creatures. Mátyás, Anna’s cousin who was killed when Anna destroyed the Binding, has been reborn to a responsibility he desperately seeks to avoid. Both are appalled by the treatment of praetherians, who, newly freed, are being enslaved, murdered, and forced to wear identifying marks. Anna vows to speak up on their behalf, but as a young woman, her word carries little weight. Mátyás chooses banditry over leadership, but his kindness nevertheless brings more and more praetherians to join his gang. Both protagonists have revolutionary urgings, although their anti-imperialistic nationalism seems awfully selective, an unreconciled contradiction that could possibly be resolved in Book 3. Anna and Mátyás, both white, are exceptionally magical, with phenomenal cosmic powers that everyone wants to exploit, from the ancient Hungarian gods to the Hapsburg Archduchess Sophie. This all boosts expectations of series readers for a conclusion they may worry it cannot meet.

A sequel that serviceably does its middle-volume job; it won’t attract new readers but should please fans of Book 1. (author’s note, character guide, glossary) (Fantasy. 13-15)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-101-93607-8

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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Though it’s a bit of a slog, readers of Book 1 will find it worth the time for its unexpected conclusion

THE SHADOW'S CURSE

A lost prince and his ladylove must defeat the tyrant rampaging over the steppes with an army of enslaved spirits in this sequel to The Oathbreaker’s Shadow (2015).

Raim is haunted by the spirit of his best friend, Khareh—a spirit that appeared when Raim accidentally broke an oath made by another, leaving him magically marked and exiled from his nomadic tribe as an oathbreaker. Khareh yet lives, but with the best part of himself lost in the spirit, his ambition has become megalomania. Not content to be khan of his tribe alone, Khareh aims to join all the northern nomads into one massive khanate. Raim seeks control over his spirit but also yearns to rescue Wadi, the dark-skinned desert girl to whom he's given his heart. Wadi is Khareh's captive, and she is more than capable of freeing herself from the cruel young khan; nevertheless she must stay a captive. It's her destiny to make a king of Raim, she learns from a blind seer in one of the stalest tropes of superpowered disability. Raim, Khareh, and Wadi travel all over the steppes of Darhan, giving a solid glimpse of this fantasy world roughly based on the lives of Mongolian nomads. A dense narrative of tiny chapters with shifting points of view leaves little time to become invested in each character's journey.

Though it’s a bit of a slog, readers of Book 1 will find it worth the time for its unexpected conclusion . (Fantasy. 13-15)

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7387-4512-1

Page Count: 456

Publisher: Flux

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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Moving imagery is muddied by disjointed character representation in a novel that feels overcrowded.

ANGEL THIEVES

A Texas bayou holds memories and secrets, weaving together people and animals through connected histories.

Buffalo Bayou takes her place as part of an ensemble cast that spans nearly two centuries. Sixteen-year-old Cade Curtis is a white boy who works alongside his father stealing angel statues from cemeteries for an antiques dealer, and Soleil Broussard is a 16-year-old Creole Christian with a tiny honey bear jar tattooed on her wrist. The two attend school together in present-day Houston, Texas, but the story intertwines their connection with stories of slaves and an ocelot in a narrative that runs away like the rushing of a river. Texas is a gorgeous backdrop for the story, eliciting haunting imagery that spotlights the natural beauty of the state. Each character helps piece together a quilt of experiences that stream from the omnipresent bayou who sees, hears, and protects, and the revelations of their overlapping connections are well-paced throughout. The novel is less successful, however, at underscoring why there are so many voices battling for space in the text. Too-short vignettes that are rather haphazardly forced together provide glimpses into the lives of the characters but make it difficult to follow all of the threads. While an author’s note offers historical background explaining the inspiration for the characters, it does not provide sufficient cohesion.

Moving imagery is muddied by disjointed character representation in a novel that feels overcrowded. (author’s note) (Fiction. 13-15)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2109-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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