Epic in length if not scale, the closer puts its small-town teen ensemble through the wringer.

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THE KEY

From the Engelsfors Trilogy series , Vol. 3

The rise of a rival coven spells both complications and loyalty conflicts for the young witches charged with saving the world from a demon invasion.

Concerned readers of the previous two doorstoppers will be relieved to learn at the outset that the three members of the Chosen Ones who were killed aren’t entirely dead. Instead, they roam a misty Borderland as channel-surfing silent witnesses to past and present incidents in the Swedish town of Engelsfors. Said incidents range from the pairing off of the still-living Chosen Ones and allies as high school seniors to the formation of a new set of supposed Chosen under the direction of Walter, the ruthless Council’s power-mad leader. Warning that the original Chosen Ones aren’t strong enough to close the demonic portal that is about to open, Walter recruits Minoo, the mightiest young witch in town—leaving her to choose between abandoning her friends and (presumably) saving the world. As before, heavy friction characterizes every relationship, even amicable ones, and there is at least as much effort spent in working through personal issues as in penetrating the heavy fog of lies and obfuscations that both the Council and the subtle demons have cast around the upcoming apocalypse. In the end, the common threat remains a nebulous backdrop to the fierce emotional tides of nascent adulthood.

Epic in length if not scale, the closer puts its small-town teen ensemble through the wringer.   (castlist) (Fantasy/horror. 13-18)

Pub Date: July 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4683-0673-6

Page Count: 864

Publisher: Overlook

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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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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Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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