A high-fantasy riff on The Princess Bride lacking both humor and heart.

THE PRINCESS WILL SAVE YOU

From the Princess Will Save You series , Vol. 1

When Princess Amarande’s true love is kidnapped, she doesn’t hesitate to set out to rescue him.

Princess Amarande and Luca, who is in charge of the king’s stables, have always shared a special bond. But recently, it’s felt different; a charged feeling simmers between them. Before either finds the courage to confront it, tragedy strikes: Her father, King Sendoa, falls dead. Amarande reels; she doesn’t believe the Warrior King died naturally—it must have been murder. But the Royal Council cares more about succession: In order to rule, Amarande must wed. Despite her resistance, it isn’t long before other kingdoms send eager suitors. The princess finds them abhorrent, conniving, and power hungry. Amarande spits in the face of tradition, pulling her sword on a suitor at her father’s funeral and declaring that she won’t settle. In the midst of her rebellion, Luca is kidnapped. A note left behind instructs her to marry a specific suitor or she’ll never see her love again. Ever fearless, Amarande sets off, determined to save Luca and her kingdom. Though the princess rallies valiantly against entrenched patriarchy, Amarande reads as one-note. Well-plotted action sequences and intricate political machinations can’t make up for Luca’s similar one dimensionality, which makes their love story—the backbone of the story—difficult to care about. Most characters appear to be white; some have brown skin.

A high-fantasy riff on The Princess Bride lacking both humor and heart. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-23742-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Tor Teen

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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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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Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell...

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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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