A delectably immersive, eerie experience.

WINTERWOOD

A girl descended from witches becomes entangled in a lethal mystery.

Taking place in a shared universe with Ernshaw’s The Wicked Deep (2018), this novel is set in a mountainous lakeside area in the Pacific Northwest. The few year-round residents include the Walker family—witches—and those living at the Jackjaw Camp for Wayward Boys. The night of a terrible winter storm, one boy goes missing and another dies. Two weeks later, in the dangerous Wicker Woods, Nora Walker miraculously finds Oliver Huntsman. Oliver remembers nothing of how he survived the winter conditions. Nora warms him up and returns him to the camp; unsettled and untrusting of his cabin mates, he keeps returning to her. When Nora learns of the other camper’s death, she follows a thread of suspicion that the missing and dead boys’ fates are related—though she wants to trust Oliver, she can’t be sure. She wishes she had a nightshade, like the Walkers before her—a special magical gift like those chronicled in chapter interludes from the family spellbook that contain brief biographies capped by a spell. She knows enough to recognize that the bone moth she keeps seeing is an imminent death omen. The claustrophobic mystery unwinds at an accelerating pace for the undersupervised teens, and the malicious, haunting Wicker Woods are lovingly characterized and as compelling as the formidable heroine. Most characters seem to default to white.

A delectably immersive, eerie experience. (Paranormal thriller. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3941-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A lushly written story with an intriguing heart.

ONCE UPON A BROKEN HEART

From the Once Upon a Broken Heart series , Vol. 1

After praying to a Fate for help, Evangeline discovers the dangerous world of magic.

When her father passes away, Evangeline is left with her cold stepmother and kind but distant stepsister, Marisol. Despite inheriting a steady trust in magic, belief in her late mother’s homeland of the mystical North (where fantastical creatures live), and philosophy of hope for the future, her dreams are dashed when Luc, her love, pledges to marry Marisol instead. Evangeline desperately prays to the Prince of Hearts, a dangerous and fickle Fate famed for his heart that is waiting to be revived by his one true love—and his potentially lethal kisses. The bargain they strike sends her on a dark and magical journey throughout the land. The writing style fluctuates from clever and original to overly verbose and often confusing in its jumble of senses. While the pervasive magic and concept of the Fates as a religious system add interest, other fantasy elements are haphazardly incorporated without enough time devoted to building a cohesive world. However, the themes of love, the power of story, family influence, and holding onto belief are well rounded and add depth. The plot contains welcome surprises, and the large cast piques curiosity; readers will wish more time was spent getting to know them. Evangeline has rose-gold hair and, like other main characters, reads as White; there is diversity among the fantasy races in this world.

A lushly written story with an intriguing heart. (map) (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26839-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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

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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