From the Aurelian Cycle series , Vol. 3

A satisfying, high-stakes trilogy closer.

With Callipolis newly fallen to Ixion Stormscourge, can the Guardians save what is left of their home and create something better for everyone?

Picking up midaction immediately where Flamefall (2021) ended, we find our heroes separated and facing a losing battle. While Annie was busy sparking a revolution in New Pythos, Lee has remained in Callipolis. Now he’s trying to play the part of returning lord long enough to figure out what to do. There are limited options thanks to Ixion’s violent crackdowns on dissenters and Princess Freyda’s circling the city with her goliathan dragon to maintain order. However, when Freyda approaches Lee in secret with a plan to overthrow Ixion and take power for themselves, he has difficult choices to make. Will he marry Freyda and become the leader he was born to be or throw himself into exile with Annie and the other Guardians and brace for a war they are woefully unprepared for? The strong pacing balances aerial dragon battles and political machinations. The characters are well developed, growing as they face war’s moral dilemmas. The love stories (one straight, one gay) are complex and believable, woven seamlessly into the story. Point-of-view chapters from several characters allow readers to see different perspectives and become invested in multiple characters (and their dragons). The text includes some reminders to help readers track the cast and their various complex relationships.

A satisfying, high-stakes trilogy closer. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-525-51827-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022


Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy.

A war between gods plays havoc with mortals and their everyday lives.

In a time of typewriters and steam engines, Iris Winnow awaits word from her older brother, who has enlisted on the side of Enva the Skyward goddess. Alcohol abuse led to her mother’s losing her job, and Iris has dropped out of school and found work utilizing her writing skills at the Oath Gazette. Hiding the stress of her home issues behind a brave face, Iris competes for valuable assignments that may one day earn her the coveted columnist position. Her rival for the job is handsome and wealthy Roman Kitt, whose prose entrances her so much she avoids reading his articles. At home, she writes cathartic letters to her brother, never posting them but instead placing them in her wardrobe, where they vanish overnight. One day Iris receives a reply, which, along with other events, pushes her to make dramatic life decisions. Magic plays a quiet role in this story, and readers may for a time forget there is anything supernatural going on. This is more of a wartime tale of broken families, inspired youths, and higher powers using people as pawns. It flirts with clichéd tropes but also takes some startling turns. Main characters are assumed White; same-sex marriages and gender equality at the warfront appear to be the norm in this world.

Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-85743-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023


An atmospheric and promising first installment.

A series opener blending fantasy and horror with an undercurrent of romance.

The sudden disappearance 50 years ago of the Sun Goddess, Raina, left the realm of Asidia awash in moonlight and misery. The annual Calling drafts boys, such as 18-year-old Kiara’s sickly brother, Liam, into the Knights of Eternal Star, who then venture into the accursed land of the Mist in search of answers. But Kiara’s brazenness captures the attention of the Hand of Death, the Commander of the Knights, and she’s recruited in her brother’s stead. Years of rigorous combat training have prepared Kiara well for the Knights—but not for the growing attraction between her and the Hand of Death himself, enigmatic Commander Jude Maddox. As they journey into the Mist, they must trust each other in order to survive and untangle the legends that just might save the realm. In a crowded fantasy field, the novel distinguishes itself by leaning into the macabre nature of its literally dark world, complete with shadow beasts, flesh-eating spiders, and the mercurial Mist itself. The unrelenting action sequences are not for the squeamish, and the dead (and undead) body count piles up. Cutscenes provide necessary narrative magic, reviving Kiara and Jude’s romance and buttressing the worldbuilding lore that opens many of the chapters. Main characters are cued white.

An atmospheric and promising first installment. (map) (Fantasy/horror. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 28, 2023

ISBN: 9781649374318

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2023

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