Fun premise and setting with a popcorn intrigue plot.

HAVENFALL

From the Havenfall series , Vol. 1

A teen is thrust into a leadership role when conspiracies are afoot at the multiverse’s inn.

Maddie Morrow is one of the few humans in the know about Earth’s being one of the Adjacent Realms; her uncle is the Innkeeper at the crossroads between them and neutral host of the yearly diplomatic summit between the magical realms of Byrn and Fiordenkill. Solaria used to participate prior to the war that led to the door to Solaria’s being sealed shut—but with some of the shape-shifting Solarians still loose. Maddie wants nothing more than to be her uncle’s successor, but her wish comes too quickly when he’s debilitated during a chaotic night that results in Solaria’s seal being cracked. While doing her best to conceal the happenings (and just how much danger everyone is in) so as to keep the diplomacy on track, Maddie teams up with a shifting roster of allies to try to discover who is responsible for the opening door, whom she can trust, and what everyone’s true motives are. The twists are plentiful, though some are predictable. The romantic storyline with Maddie’s best friend, Fiorden Brekken, is mined for did-he-or-didn’t-he betrayal tension; readers may wish more had come from her attraction to Taya. While most characters—regardless of realm—default to white, brown-skinned characters (such as Marcus’ Fiorden husband) are represented.

Fun premise and setting with a popcorn intrigue plot. (Fantasy. 12-adult)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0379-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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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

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

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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

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