This one is strictly for history buffs.


Gulland (The Shadow Queen, 2014, etc.) writes about Hortense de Beauharnais, daughter of Josephine Bonaparte and stepdaughter of Gen. Napoleon Bonaparte.

Four years after the Reign of Terror, Hortense is 15 and on the brink of adulthood. She is smart, beautiful, musically talented, and seemingly has it all. Hortense lives in a boarding school for aristocrats with her close friend Adèle Auguié and her cousin Émilie de Beauharnais. The girls work diligently under the guidance of the strict but kind headmistress, Maîtresse Campan. Despite Hortense’s outward calm, she struggles to come to terms with her father’s death by beheading and constantly worries about losing her beloved brother Eugène as well, as a result of his military posting in Egypt. To complicate matters further, Hortense is torn as to whether or not to believe the rumors circulating about her mother’s extramarital affair with a family friend, Hippolyte Charles. Despite the initially slow-moving plot, Gulland’s attention to minor details—such as Josephine’s interactions with her in-laws and visiting fortunetellers—brings to life the essence of living as a young noblewoman in the year 1798 amid newfound political peace. The largely underdeveloped characters and choppy plot, however, force readers to work hard to remain invested in the narrative.

This one is strictly for history buffs. (afterword, historical information, cast of characters, glossary, map) (Historical fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-425-29101-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s.


A slightly abridged graphic version of the classic that will drive off all but the artist’s most inveterate fans.

Admirers of the original should be warned away by veteran horror artist Bernie Wrightson’s introductory comments about Grimly’s “wonderfully sly stylization” and the “twinkle” in his artistic eye. Most general readers will founder on the ensuing floods of tiny faux handwritten script that fill the opening 10 pages of stage-setting correspondence (other lengthy letters throughout are presented in similarly hard-to-read typefaces). The few who reach Victor Frankenstein’s narrative will find it—lightly pruned and, in places, translated into sequences of largely wordless panels—in blocks of varied length interspersed amid sheaves of cramped illustrations with, overall, a sickly, greenish-yellow cast. The latter feature spidery, often skeletal figures that barrel over rough landscapes in rococo, steampunk-style vehicles when not assuming melodramatic poses. Though the rarely seen monster is a properly hard-to-resolve jumble of massive rage and lank hair, Dr. Frankenstein looks like a decayed Lyle Lovett with high cheekbones and an errant, outsized quiff. His doomed bride, Elizabeth, sports a white lock à la Elsa Lanchester, and decorative grotesqueries range from arrangements of bones and skull-faced flowers to bunnies and clownish caricatures.

Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s. (Graphic classic. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-186297-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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


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

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