An immersive, dazzling installment that journeys to new heights.

MIRROR'S EDGE

From the Impostors-Westerfeld series , Vol. 3

Frey infiltrates Shreve to rescue a friend and discovers more than she bargained for in this sequel to Shatter City (2019).

She and Col have undergone camo-surge, a full-body operation to hide their identities from the surveillance dust. Even though her twin sister, Rafi, is against the mission, Frey is determined to rescue her friend Boss X because she killed Seanan, who happened to be both his lover and the twins' brother. Now Frey navigates Shreve at the street level, uncovering secrets: A privateer gives her eyeglasses that reveal thousands of hidden messages covering every surface in the city. Used by smugglers and treasonous citizens, they offer her a glimpse into Shreve’s underbelly. She digs deeper and soon uncovers new horrors her father has committed along with his plans to maintain control. As the action escalates, Frey is locked in a silent struggle with her sister—who isn’t aware of the free cities’ plans for Frey to eventually rule Shreve—while battling her own identity dysmorphia. To take down their father, Frey and Rafi must decide who they really are, no matter the cost. Frey’s time in Shreve reveals a richer, more fully realized world than before. Each meticulously choreographed action sequence sings, building to a crescendo when Frey is thrust into a shocking new reality. The book is set in an alternate future North America with a cast that is cued as multiethnic.

An immersive, dazzling installment that journeys to new heights. (Science fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-15158-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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A second volume that sets the scene for more to come.

DEFEND THE DAWN

From the Defy the Night series , Vol. 2

As the Moonflower supply in Kandala dwindles, a ship arrives with a trade opportunity in this follow-up to Defy the Night (2021).

Moonflowers are critical for an elixir that cures the fever sickness. Prior to his assassination, King Lucas of Kandala sent a spy to neighboring Ostriary, whose connection with Kandala had been severed. Now Capt. Rian Blakemore arrives in Kandala claiming to be the spy’s son, offering Moonflowers in exchange for steel, and inviting a delegation to meet with the Ostrian king. Tessa Cade, outlaw-turned–royal apothecary, is eager to go. Since the invasion of the Royal Sector, Kandala’s King Harristan has attempted to negotiate better distribution of Moonflower petals to the poorer districts, but tension among the rebels, consuls, and royals has stalled progress. An alternate supply of Moonflowers would buy time for Tessa to find another cure. Her hope is countered by the cynicism of the King’s Justice, Prince Corrick. Nevertheless, he boards Blakemore’s ship along with Tessa and rebel leader Lochlan Cresswell. As Tessa and Corrick try to discern hidden motives and a possible trap, they reexamine their relationship, which gets tested by the mysterious captain. Chapters told in alternating perspectives draw out the plot at a measured pace, ending with a series of shocking revelations. The structure results in introspective accounts following different concurrent events, slowing the story’s forward momentum. Characters have varying skin tones.

A second volume that sets the scene for more to come. (map, cast of characters) (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5476-1007-5

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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A disappointing delivery on a potentially gripping second volume.

THE BALLAD OF NEVER AFTER

From the Once Upon a Broken Heart series , Vol. 2

Evangeline faces new dangers in her quest for happiness in this follow-up to 2021’s Once Upon a Broken Heart.

As Evangeline Fox seeks a cure for her poisoned husband, Prince Apollo, the enticing and infuriating Fate Jacks reappears, offering to save Apollo if she unlocks the Valory Arch. Remembering the long list of ills brought upon her by the Fate, Evangeline refuses. When the new heir arrives and Apollo wakes with a new curse and glowing red eyes, she is forced to delve into the mysteries of the Valors and find the arch’s four missing magical stones whose powers are luck, truth, mirth, and youth. The inclusion of expanded Valor lore alongside the preexisting blend of fairy-tale and paranormal creatures is intriguing and fits the overarching theme of storytelling as history. The ongoing use of emotions as a scale for displaying and determining one’s humanity, especially by Fates, is equally interesting. Unfortunately, the impact of Evangeline’s often amusing narration and numerous surprising plot twists is diluted by the meandering pacing, convoluted sensory descriptions, and close focus on Evangeline’s fluctuating attraction toward her potential love interests. Despite the positive emphasis on hope and happily-ever-afters, Evangeline’s romantic relationship with Jacks borders on manipulative and toxic. Evangeline reads White; side characters are fantasy diverse.

A disappointing delivery on a potentially gripping second volume. (map) (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-26842-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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