Will leave readers ravenous for more.

HEIR OF FIRE

From the Throne of Glass series , Vol. 3

Magic, painful truths and dangerous military escalations characterize this series continuation.

Celaena Sardothien’s in Wendlyn, ordered by the villainous king of Adarlan to assassinate Wendlyn’s royals, or he’ll execute her ex and the family of her dead best friend, Nehemia. Celaena—the presumed-dead rightful queen of the conquered Terrasen—plans on finding a way to destroy the king of Adarlan’s sources of power, in fulfillment of a vow made on Nehemia’s grave. Celaena seeks out the Fae Queen Maeve for information; cunning Maeve refuses until Celaena proves herself (with the help of a prickly, elite warrior Fae trainer) by embracing her hated demi-Fae heritage and magic. Celaena, grieving, goes through dark emotional times and must confront her scarred psyche in order to return to the unapologetically awesome heroine readers know and love. Meanwhile, there’s a lot going on: A witch deals with clan politics (Adarlan’s king makes them his wyvern-riding airborne cavalry), Chaol attempts to protect Dorian from his own magic, a healer falls for Dorian and more. The jumps from narrative to narrative initially detract from the story’s momentum, but multiple perspectives on Adarlan’s grotesque schemes and tactics eventually pay off. Despite the slow beginning, tension snowballs into devastating twists and an absolutely riveting ending. Maas’ usual hallmarks—an epic fantasy setting and the little-exploited truth that platonic relationships can be more intense and compelling than romantic—are present in force.

Will leave readers ravenous for more. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61963-065-9

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

CROOKED KINGDOM

From the Six of Crows series , Vol. 2

This hefty sequel to Six of Crows (2015) brings high-tension conclusions to the many intertwined intrigues of Ketterdam.

It's time for revenge—has been ever since old-before-his-time crook Kaz and his friends were double-crossed by the merchant princes of Ketterdam, an early-industrial Amsterdam-like fantasy city filled to the brim with crime and corruption. Disabled, infuriated, and perpetually scheming Kaz, the light-skinned teen mastermind, coordinates the efforts to rescue Inej. Though Kaz is loath to admit weakness, Inej is his, for he can't bear any harm come to the knife-wielding, brown-skinned Suli acrobat. Their team is rounded out by Wylan, a light-skinned chemist and musician whose merchant father tried to have him murdered and who can't read due to a print disability; Wylan's brown-skinned biracial boyfriend, Jesper, a flirtatious gambler with ADHD; Nina, the pale brunette Grisha witch and recovering addict from Russia-like Ravka; Matthias, Nina's national enemy and great love, a big, white, blond drüskelle warrior from the cold northern lands; and Kuwei, the rescued Shu boy everyone wants to kidnap. Can these kids rescue everyone who needs rescuing in Ketterdam's vile political swamp? This is dark and violent—one notable scene features a parade of teens armed with revolvers, rifles, pistols, explosives, and flash bombs—but gut-wrenchingly genuine. Astonishingly, Bardugo keeps all these balls in the air over the 500-plus pages of narrative.

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-213-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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In the end, it’s just another violent dystopian series opener for all its yellow-brick veneer, but it’s a whole lot more fun...

DOROTHY MUST DIE

When a cyclone deposits a 21st-century Kansas teen in Oz, she and readers discover there’ve been some changes made.

Dirt-poor “Salvation Amy” Gumm lives in a trailer park, effectively parenting her alcoholic mom (her dad ran off years ago), who seems to care more about her pet rat, Star, than her daughter. That doesn’t mean Amy is eager to be in Oz, particularly this Oz. Tyrannized by a megalomaniacal Dorothy and mined of its magic, it’s a dystopian distortion of the paradise Baum and MGM depicted. In short order, Amy breaks the wholly capricious laws and is thrown into a cell in the Emerald City with only Star for company. There, she’s visited first by the mysterious but sympathetic Pete and then by the witch Mombi, who breaks her out and takes her to the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked (among whom is the very hot Nox). Amy may well be the salvation of Oz—only someone from the Other Place can take Dorothy down. Paige has clearly had the time of her life with this reboot, taking a dystopian-romance template and laying it over Oz. Readers of Baum’s books will take special delight in seeing new twists on the old characters, and they will greet the surprise climactic turnabout with the smugness of insiders.

In the end, it’s just another violent dystopian series opener for all its yellow-brick veneer, but it’s a whole lot more fun than many of its ilk. (Dystopian fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-228067-1

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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