The backdrop is 1889 Paris, just weeks before the Exposition Universelle. Forging is a divine art, believed to emanate from...

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THE GILDED WOLVES

From the Gilded Wolves series , Vol. 1

Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows (2015) and Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code (2003) converge in this dazzling new fantasy.

The backdrop is 1889 Paris, just weeks before the Exposition Universelle. Forging is a divine art, believed to emanate from the broken fragments of the Tower of Babel. The French faction of the Order of Babel, which is currently in charge of protecting the West’s Babel Fragment, now consists of only two Houses after one House fell and another died without an heir. Séverin Montagnet-Alarie, infamous thief and hotelier, half-French and half–North African, is the rejected heir of the dead House Vanth who longs to claim his inheritance. Hypnos, the dark-skinned, blue-eyed son of a Martiniquan mother and French aristocrat father, is the patriarch of House Nyx and Séverin’s childhood rival. He offers to help fulfill Séverin’s desire if Séverin retrieves a Horus Eye, an artifact which can reveal the location of a Babel fragment. To accomplish his mission, Séverin enlists the help of his closest allies—his brother Tristan, a landscape artist; bisexual Enrique, a half-Filipino, half-Spanish historian; Zofia, a Polish-Jewish engineer; and Laila, an Asian Indian dancer. Readers will be fascinated by each cast member’s unique background and personal motives. Chokshi (Star-Touched Stories, 2018, etc.) creatively reimagines history, weaving fantastical elements with symbology and broadening the scope of her narrative by integrating multiethnic worldviews.

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-14454-6

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning.

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SCYTHE

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 1

Two teens train to be society-sanctioned killers in an otherwise immortal world.

On post-mortal Earth, humans live long (if not particularly passionate) lives without fear of disease, aging, or accidents. Operating independently of the governing AI (called the Thunderhead since it evolved from the cloud), scythes rely on 10 commandments, quotas, and their own moral codes to glean the population. After challenging Hon. Scythe Faraday, 16-year-olds Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova reluctantly become his apprentices. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty. The vivid and often violent action unfolds slowly, anchored in complex worldbuilding and propelled by political machinations and existential musings. Scythes’ journal entries accompany Rowan’s and Citra’s dual and dueling narratives, revealing both personal struggles and societal problems. The futuristic post–2042 MidMerican world is both dystopia and utopia, free of fear, unexpected death, and blatant racism—multiracial main characters discuss their diverse ethnic percentages rather than purity—but also lacking creativity, emotion, and purpose. Elegant and elegiac, brooding but imbued with gallows humor, Shusterman’s dark tale thrusts realistic, likable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions.

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7242-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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