Intelligent cli-fi fantasy with Fab Four wish-fulfillment tossed into the Magical Mystery Tour.

THE EDGE OF ELSEWHERE

In this debut novel, three teenagers in the parched, dying world of 2079 use Albert Einstein’s time-travel secrets to go back a century and warn humanity via a surprised music superstar.

Stea’s book joins the field of “cli-fi” climate-change tales, with time travel and real-life eminences involved. A prologue indicates that Einstein discovered time travel and thus beheld the New York World’s Fair in 1964, years after his official death. Now it’s 2079, 40 years after the eco-collapse, mass extinction, and calamitous fires that accompanied global warming. In dusty, mostly deserted New Jersey, adolescent Abbey Lane subsists with her holdout family and friends while most everyone else has migrated to the Great Lakes for scarce fresh water. Exploring the ruins of Princeton University with her friend Max Sutter, Abbey finds Einstein’s secret journal hidden in an antique desk. Her asthmatic, invalid brother, Paul, possesses an awesome intellect, and he deciphers “Uncle Albert’s” time-travel methods from the journal’s pages—how to use naturally occurring, invisible wormholes in time/space to voyage back and forth chronologically. When Paul locates a scheduled wormhole within travel distance, the three kids sneak away from home on a mission to go back in time and warn the world about the future fate that will ensue from industrial emissions and apathy. They do indeed teleport to 1971, and the trio winds up in a New York City filled with hippie idealists and Vietnam War protesters, who sense something special about the three teens who act like they’ve never seen green grass or rain before. Stea somehow avoids a campy tone amid the Greenwich Village and Bleecker Street counterculture (not an easy feat). When the kids enter the orbit of legendary rock musician John Lennon, the handling of Lennon as a fictional character is realistic and persuasive where a more star-struck SF narrative might have gone off the rails. Indeed, readers will suddenly notice Beatles references insinuated throughout. Though modulated for a YA readership, all ages can jam to the leisurely narrative, and older ones who still remember the period may appreciate the what-if treatment that’s brought off well. While the author credits numerous writers, thinkers, and rockers as influences, AWOL is Jack Finney, whose nostalgic time-travel tales echo this one.

Intelligent cli-fi fantasy with Fab Four wish-fulfillment tossed into the Magical Mystery Tour. (acknowledgments, author bio)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73313-591-7

Page Count: 438

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre.

SHATTER ME

A dystopic thriller joins the crowded shelves but doesn't distinguish itself.

Juliette was torn from her home and thrown into an asylum by The Reestablishment, a militaristic regime in control since an environmental catastrophe left society in ruins. Juliette’s journal holds her tortured thoughts in an attempt to repress memories of the horrific act that landed her in a cell. Mysteriously, Juliette’s touch kills. After months of isolation, her captors suddenly give her a cellmate—Adam, a drop-dead gorgeous guy. Adam, it turns out, is immune to her deadly touch. Unfortunately, he’s a soldier under orders from Warner, a power-hungry 19-year-old. But Adam belongs to a resistance movement; he helps Juliette escape to their stronghold, where she finds that she’s not the only one with superhuman abilities. The ending falls flat as the plot devolves into comic-book territory. Fast-paced action scenes convey imminent danger vividly, but there’s little sense of a broader world here. Overreliance on metaphor to express Juliette’s jaw-dropping surprise wears thin: “My mouth is sitting on my kneecaps. My eyebrows are dangling from the ceiling.” For all of her independence and superpowers, Juliette never moves beyond her role as a pawn in someone else’s schemes.

Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-208548-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more