For fans of the series: fun but not noteworthy.



From the Effigies series , Vol. 3

The second book of the Effigies trilogy, Siege of Shadows (2017), ended with Maia Finley’s twin sister, June, having returned from the dead to fight for the villains.

This novel opens with Maia floating in the English Channel after Ice Effigy Belle stabbed her in the chest. Maia, Chae Rin, and Lake now have to join forces with what is left of those loyal to the Sect to fight the terrorist Saul, traitorous Sect agents, genetically engineered Effigies, and Belle, who’s gone off script. Maia also has to scry into the memories of Marian, the original Fire Effigy, so she can defeat Saul for good. However, she must face Natalya in order to see them, and she fears she is not strong enough. The more memories of Marian’s she sees, the more unbelievable the arrival of the phantoms and beginning of the Effigies’ legacy seems. While this book features ample ethnic diversity both in main and secondary characters, as well as impressive worldbuilding with fun science-fiction gadgets and a visit to the three Fates, it reads much like a wild soap opera. The plot lacks originality, and there is little to no character development throughout the series. Although there are some wonderful ideas and the writing is engaging, readers may feel as if they have read this story before.

For fans of the series: fun but not noteworthy. (Fantasy. 13-17)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6683-7

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.


From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.


From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

Did you like this book?