With a happily-ever-after reminiscent of beloved fairy tales, this is a great pick for voracious readers who like their...

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A CROWN OF WISHES

From the Star-Touched Queen series , Vol. 2

Set in the same Indian-inflected fantasy world as The Star-Touched Queen (2016), Chokshi's sophomore effort examines fear, desire, and ambition as three protagonists compete in the Tournament of Wishes.

The most compelling of the characters is Aasha, a vishakanya curious about the human life she left behind when she received the Blessing and became a poisonous courtesan. Her subplot is a beautiful exploration of vengeance and healing. It is here that the worldbuilding is most nuanced and deftly woven. At other times, the prose is exceedingly allegorical and overwrought. The two human contestants—Vikram, the puppet prince of Ujijain, and Gauri, the exiled princess of Bharata—make an unlikely pair. Their relationship relies heavily on witty banter punctuated by imminent peril that is designed to draw them closer together. In many respects the book reads like nested fables. Alaka, the otherworldly Kingdom of Desire where the tournament takes place, is full of wondrous creatures and deities from Indian mythologies, all representative of lessons the protagonists need to learn as they complete their Herculean tasks.

With a happily-ever-after reminiscent of beloved fairy tales, this is a great pick for voracious readers who like their bejeweled princesses to have hard edges. (glossary) (Fantasy. 12 & up)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-08549-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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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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