As Jenny and Jack prevail over curses, thorns, blood tithes and hidden identities, this fairy-myth blooms past floridness...

THE TREACHERY OF BEAUTIFUL THINGS

Entrapment in a faerie forest has never been so delectable yet thorny, green yet purple, romantic yet sacrificial.

Years ago, Jenny and her brother walked past a copse. His flute-playing excited the trees, which grabbed him and stole him. After seven years of nightmares and psychiatrists, Jenny returns to the copse and gets swirled into the Realm, which is teeming with fae. These range from Folletti, whose “wings [make] different colored lights as they fluttered,” to archetypal figures Titania, Oberon and Puck (though this is no Midsummer Night’s Dream). Trees, leaves and soil make a palpable forest setting through which Jenny runs, bleeds and swoons, seeking her brother. She’s fierce and steely when necessary, yet falls for a broken fae boy so she can fix him; when he warns her he’s dangerous, she doesn't believe him, which the text constructs as love. Amid tangled vines of motive and alliance, savvy readers can discern secrets before Jenny does. Prose grows like weeds (“a flash of light, golden, as bright as newly restored hope”), particularly the descriptions of eyes, which "glisten" both in the sunlight and “like broken glass.” However, there's real gravity beneath the overgrowth through a seemingly mundane name—Jack—and the layered meanings of its common-noun forms.

As Jenny and Jack prevail over curses, thorns, blood tithes and hidden identities, this fairy-myth blooms past floridness into a worthy, memorable read (with movie potential). (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3580-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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For princess fans and lovers of fairy tales.

COLD HEARTED

A TALE OF THE WICKED STEPMOTHER

From the Villains series

How did Cinderella’s stepmother come to be so wicked?

She may have been self-focused, but at least she wasn’t always so cruel. Lady Tremaine, mother of two spoiled daughters, is a lonely widow hoping for a bit of happiness. Unfortunately, when Sir Richard appears at her friend’s house party, she’s swept off her feet and fails to heed the frantic warnings of her dedicated, elderly lady’s maid. Had she ever bothered to read the book of fairy tales her late husband purchased years before, she might have recognized the perils of assuming the role of stepmother. Entranced by Sir Richard, she agrees to a hasty marriage and a move to the Many Kingdoms, where he reverts to his true, domineering nature and she and her daughters become virtual prisoners in his home. Although the Odd Sisters—clever, manipulative witches—try to intervene on her behalf, it seems her fate is already written; she becomes as cruel and demented as the story described. However, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother and her sister, Nanny, have plans to rescue Lady Tremaine’s daughters as they develop much-needed, rehabilitative insights into the family’s dynamics. Mostly told from the Lady’s shallow, self-centered perspective, this is an entertaining retelling of the Disney “Cinderella” story from a different viewpoint, with references to the rest of the series woven throughout. Characters follow a White default.

For princess fans and lovers of fairy tales. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-02528-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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Fans of the previous entry will enjoy following the story of a young woman who changes the fates of two countries.

THE BETRAYED

Lady Hollis flees her country after her new husband is killed.

In The Betrothed (2020), Hollis fell in love with Silas, the son of an Isolten family who sought asylum from their cruel king, and chose him over her intended match, King Jameson. Since Silas, his father, his brothers, and her parents have been killed, she decides to travel to Isolte with her mother-in-law and sister-in-law. Formerly primarily interested in dresses, dancing, and romance, Hollis now proves her mettle. Etan, Silas’ cousin, arrives to escort the family, and he clashes with Hollis from the moment they meet. The society they live in, modeled after medieval Europe, with castles, tournaments, kings, queens, and nobles, generally follows traditional gender roles, but Hollis sometimes breaks through the accepted boundaries. When Etan wants to lead a revolt against his own King Quinten, who is just one of the novel’s major betrayers, Hollis uses her wits to get the evidence needed to convince others that he is guilty of crimes against his own people. She bravely returns to Coroa to confront King Jameson when she finds out that he, too, has carried out unspeakable crimes. Hollis and Etan’s verbal wars are fun, predictably leading to love, but the political intrigue sometimes drags the novel down. Characters default to White.

Fans of the previous entry will enjoy following the story of a young woman who changes the fates of two countries. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-229166-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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