Patient readers will respond to this slow thriller about a girl with memory loss and magical powers, and a murderer on the...

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CONJURED

Someone is killing atypical teens, and Eve is a witness, a target or an accomplice—she just can’t remember which.

Eve doesn’t know who she is or where she came from after waking up from surgery with a new name, a new face and an underdeveloped cover story provided by the agency that now supports her. She struggles to adjust to her strange new world, finding solace only in her work as a library page with Zach, who is cute, intelligent and as agenda-free as any typical teenage boy. Everyone else—agents “Aunt” Nicki Gallo and Malcolm Harrington and a clutch of other agency-protected teens—manipulates and misleads her. Eve’s newly acquired magical abilities and resultant visions of a bizarre and brutal carnival prove vital to the agency’s work but destructive to her short-term memory. She is an unreliable and constantly confused narrator, but her pursuit of the truth and her selfless love for Zach help to transform her from a puppet into a real girl. Durst excels at describing grotesque violence and gorgeous magical transformations alike, painting a touching portrait of first love against a backdrop of Twilight Zone–type terrors.

Patient readers will respond to this slow thriller about a girl with memory loss and magical powers, and a murderer on the loose. (Fantasy. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3458-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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Second installments in trilogies sometimes slump—here’s hoping the third book is a return to the vibrancy of the...

CHILDREN OF VIRTUE AND VENGEANCE

From the Legacy of Orisha series , Vol. 2

In this follow-up to Children of Blood and Bone (2018), Zélie and company are back, and the future of Orïsha hangs in the balance.

Zélie, now a maji Reaper, has achieved her goal and brought magic back to Orïsha, but at great cost. Grief and loss are strong themes throughout the book, compounded by guilt for Zélie, who feels responsible for her father’s death. Zélie and her older brother, Tzain, try to help Princess Amari ascend the throne, believing her family dead—but Queen Nehanda, Amari’s mother, is very much alive and more formidable than they could imagine. The trio join the Iyika, a band of rebel maji working to protect their persecuted people from threats new and old. Though the characters’ trauma reads as real and understandable, their decisions don’t always feel sensible or logical, often stemming from a lack of communication or forethought, which may leave readers frustrated. Though still commendable for its detailed worldbuilding, with an ending compelling enough to keep fans interested in the next installment, much of the book feels like navigating minefields of characters’ ill-advised decisions. All characters are black except for a secondary character with silky black hair, tan skin, and gray eyes “like teardrops.”

Second installments in trilogies sometimes slump—here’s hoping the third book is a return to the vibrancy of the first. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-17099-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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An accomplished, exciting debut.

ALL THE STARS AND TEETH

A princess embarks on a dangerous path to the throne.

In the island kingdom of Visidia, where each person is allowed just one type of magic, only the members of the royal Montara family have the ability to wield the dangerous soul magic. Princess Amora is next in line to be High Animancer, but she must first prove to her people that she is powerful enough to use her magic to protect them. But something goes terribly wrong during a critical public ceremony, and Amora runs away with dashing pirate Bastian, whose rescue comes with a price: She must help him recover his own magic, stolen away by a dangerous man leading a growing rebellion that could bring down the whole kingdom. Debut author Grace wields her own magic with a skillful balancing act between high-stakes adventure (here there be monsters, mermaids, and high-seas shenanigans), bloody fantasy, and character development in a story with a lovable found family at its core. Amora yearns for adventure just as she welcomes her right to command her kingdom; her ferocious sense of duty and legitimate need to do good shine through. The novel’s further unravelling of dark secrets long kept comes with a recognized need for accountability and making amends which adds a thoughtful extra layer to the rich worldbuilding. Amora has copper-brown skin and dark, curly hair; other characters have a range of skin tones in this diverse world.

An accomplished, exciting debut. (guide to the kingdom) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-30778-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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