An incisive story nuanced by dilemmas about love, belonging, and conflicting loyalties.

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A SPARK OF WHITE FIRE

From the Celestial Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A lost princess sets out to forge her own path and reunite with her family.

In this first book in debut author Mandanna’s Celestial Trilogy, Esmae is estranged from her family and growing up in Wychstar, a kingdom perched on a space station. The king of Wychstar, Darshan, conducts a competition for ownership of the invincible spaceship Titania. Esmae surprises everyone with her archery skills—and the revelation of her true, royal identity. Unfortunately, her victory complicates matters, and she must now walk the tightrope between helping her brothers win the kingdom of Kali and maintaining ties with her uncle, Elvar, who usurped Kali from her brothers. As Esmae struggles to determine the best path to follow and whom she should support, she discovers who her true friends are, tries to figure out where she really belongs, and realizes the sacrifices she must make to avenge her family. This is a fast-paced, engaging tale sure to keep readers hooked with its twists and turns while they wholeheartedly cheer for Esmae. Names of many characters (Amba and Rama to name a couple) and numerous snippets of the storyline are inspired by Hindu mythology, although in a somewhat random manner. Gods and goddesses are woven into the story to add to its fantastical allure.

An incisive story nuanced by dilemmas about love, belonging, and conflicting loyalties. (Space opera. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5107-3378-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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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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