An exhilarating and endlessly charming series finale with a striking hero and a sinister witch.

SEND ME THEIR SOULS

From the Bring Me Their Hearts series , Vol. 3

An immortal teenager vows to stop a powerful witch whose rampage threatens the world in this conclusion to a fantasy/romance trilogy.

Zera Y’shennria’s heart is no longer in the possession of the witch Varia d’Malvane. Now Varia’s witch brother and Zera’s love, Prince Lucien, has it. He offers to return her heart, but Zera declines since her immortality as a Heartless is an asset. She, Lucien, and their friends will need their strength to face Varia, who may now be the most potent witch in the world. She has the power of the Bone Tree, which Zera, as Varia’s Heartless, helped her find. Though Varia no longer has her heart, Zera connects with her via dreams—seeing through the witch’s eyes as the hate-filled figure kills and destroys. Ending Varia’s frenzy, which entails controlling the valkerax (gargantuan “wyrms”), involves the Glass Tree, which, like the Bone Tree, is a source of magic for witches. While some believe the solution is splitting each of the two Trees, which have a shared history, Zera has an entirely different plan with which others don’t concur. She hopes to save as many lives as she can even if that means sacrificing her own. Wolf’s rousing tale is rife with dilemmas. The Trees, for example, consume witches. While some characters suggest merely waiting for the Bone Tree to finish eating Varia (despite myriad deaths in the interim), the Glass Tree may very well do the same to Lucien. Meanwhile, Zera remains encumbered with guilt over her part in Varia’s locating the Bone Tree. But notwithstanding Zera’s past transgressions, she’s strongly sympathetic in this final installment. Her first-person descriptions of her “unheart”—somehow capable of skipping a beat or melting at Lucien’s romantic gestures—are frequently endearing and indicative of the author’s sublime prose.

An exhilarating and endlessly charming series finale with a striking hero and a sinister witch. (acknowledgements, author bio)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68281-507-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Entangled: Teen

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2020

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An epic series opener of old-school high fantasy catering to modern audiences.

REALM BREAKER

When the realm is in danger, only a small band of misfits can save Allward.

An in medias res prologue, told from the point of view of the lone squire accompanying the 12 Companions of the Realm, tosses readers into the thick of a quest. Half the Companions are human heroes and half are immortal Elders; they seek to stop a rogue thief and his wizard accomplice from using a magical Spindle to tear a passage between worlds for nefarious ends. A disastrous battle sends squire Andry fleeing with Cortael’s sword so villain Taristan can’t get his hands on it. Grieving Elder Dom requires both a person of Corblood (a descendant of human travelers from another realm) and the Spindleblade Andry protects to stop Taristan from bringing ruin to the realm. Dom seeks Cortael’s secret daughter, Corayne, a bright but sheltered teenager with a pirate mother. At times the narrative tension is undermined by flashbacks that readers already know the conclusions to and by occasional repetition caused by the multiple point-of-view jumps, but there’s a wide variety of action scenes, daring escapes, and betrayals. Many tropes and character types are familiar, but exquisite descriptions and clashing motivations result in a nuanced, sprawling realm with a sense of complicated history. This world is highly diverse in terms of both skin tone and in the refreshing range of roles female characters inhabit.

An epic series opener of old-school high fantasy catering to modern audiences. (map) (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-287262-3

Page Count: 576

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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A love letter to fans who will forgive (and even revel in) its excesses and indulgences.

MIDNIGHT SUN

From the Twilight series , Vol. 5

A long-awaited Twilight (2005) companion novel told from vampire Edward’s point of view.

Edward Cullen, a 104-year-old vampire (and eternal 17-year-old), finds his world turned upside down when new girl Bella Swan’s addictive scent drives a primal hunger, launching the classic story of vampire-meets-girl, vampire-wants-to-eat-girl, vampire-falls-in-love-with-girl. Edward’s broody inner monologue allows readers to follow every beat of his falling in love. The glacial pace and already familiar plot points mean that instead of surprise twists, characterization reigns. Meyer doesn’t shy away from making Edward far less sympathetic than Bella’s view of him (and his mind reading confirms that Bella’s view of him isn’t universal). Bella benefits from being seen without the curtain of self-deprecation from the original book, as Edward analyzes her every action for clues to her personality. The deeper, richer characterization of the leads comes at the expense of the secondary cast, who (with a few exceptions) alternate primarily along gender lines, between dimwitted buffoons and jealous mean girls. Once the vampiric threat from James’ storyline kicks off, vampire maneuvering and strategizing show off the interplay of the Cullens’ powers in a fresh way. After the action of the climax starts in earnest, though, it leans more into summary and monologue to get to the well-known ending. Aside from the Quileutes and the occasional background character, the cast defaults to White.

A love letter to fans who will forgive (and even revel in) its excesses and indulgences. (Paranormal romance. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-70704-6

Page Count: 672

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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