Inconsistent but intriguing.


Every year, 12 girls are sacrificed to sea god Poseidon to save the Ithacan people from starvation.

Leto is an orphan in a poor village, selling her half-formed prophecies, when the fate of execution befalls her. Miraculously spared, she is washed ashore on the island of Pandou unconscious but alive, and there she makes her new home with mysterious Melantho, who is something more than human. Leto, like Melantho, has been changed—able to become a scaled, aquatic creature and graced with watery magic. Leto and Melantho form a daring plan to kill the prince whose orders doom girls like them to death, though Leto also feels affection for and attraction to him. As they slowly succumb to their desire for revenge and love for each other, Prince Mathias attempts to right the wrongs of his ancestors. In this feminist retelling, Underwood takes a lesser-known portion of The Odyssey, mining what it has to say about queerness, legacies of violence, and women’s roles in mythology. Unfortunately, the characterizations are underdeveloped, the timelines confusing, and the pacing off. Relationships and plot elements are developed primarily through exposition rather than unfolding naturally. For example, elements such as what precisely defines the attraction between scrappy Leto and Melantho and who Matthias is as a person beg for deeper examination. The retelling works best when it leans into the more monstrous and surreal aspects of the story’s larger mythology and is willing to examine complications in morality and love.

Inconsistent but intriguing. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 7, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-06-323447-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2023

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

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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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Fiendishly romantic from start to (eventual) finish.


From the Last Hours series , Vol. 3

Belial, Prince of Hell, makes his move on London in this trilogy closer.

With 11 ensemble characters (not counting the odd Greater Demon) to juggle, Clare uses up most of her chunky page count untangling the romantic snarls of the first two volumes—plus chucking in occasional attacks by lesser demons or raving maniac Tatiana Blackthorn to give her demon-slaying Edwardian-era Nephilim something to do besides steamily tonguing one another, lengthily weltering in secret longing and self-loathing, or (at last!) explicitly consummating their ardor. The angular figures posing stiffly in Curte’s randomly scattered tableaux do little to either raise or turn down the heat of a narrative that runs to lines like: “He was about to crush his lips to Alastair’s…when a scream split the air. The scream of someone in anguished pain.” Eventually Belial does get around to launching his evil scheme to take over London and then the world despite already bleeding from two wounds previously dealt by legendary magic sword Cortana. The love matches among the tight circle of friends are notably diverse, involving couples whose various members include some who are part Indian or Persian, those who are gay or straight, and even the formerly undead. The book closes with a tidying-up epilogue and even a bonus story, “Aught but Death,” which focuses on Cordelia and Lucie.

Fiendishly romantic from start to (eventual) finish. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2023

ISBN: 9781481431934

Page Count: 800

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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