A decent but unremarkable addition to the flock of teen faerie tales.

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THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS

On her 17th birthday, Selkie Stewart learns of her magical heritage, parentage and destiny.

Raised by her great-aunts to be anti-social and secretive, Selkie blurts out her birthdate to her crush, Ben, accidentally unraveling her enchanted and illusory life. She discovers not only that she is half-faerie (and half-ogre) and that Boston was built and is inhabited by other supernatural creatures, but also that she is one of four fay prophesied to overthrow the Seelie Court...and that her mother, the queen, wants to kill her. Trading in a lavishly described Boston for a Carrollian Otherworld, Selkie risks murderous parental wrath to save her sort-of boyfriend, armed only with her newfound powers. Selkie’s relationship with Ben feels both artificial and shallow—as do all her interactions with other characters—and their romance swings from PG cuddling to vows of eternal love. Selkie is an unreliable, if poetic, narrator, first dazed by the enchantments and then disoriented by the bizarre faerie court, but she also wavers between childish frustration and adult astuteness in dialogue and behavior. Dorset excels in physical descriptions but falters with an arbitrary adventure and a clichéd faerie self-discovery/romance/prophecy plot.

A decent but unremarkable addition to the flock of teen faerie tales. (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4022-9253-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Second installments in trilogies sometimes slump—here’s hoping the third book is a return to the vibrancy of the...

CHILDREN OF VIRTUE AND VENGEANCE

From the Legacy of Orisha series , Vol. 2

In this follow-up to Children of Blood and Bone (2018), Zélie and company are back, and the future of Orïsha hangs in the balance.

Zélie, now a maji Reaper, has achieved her goal and brought magic back to Orïsha, but at great cost. Grief and loss are strong themes throughout the book, compounded by guilt for Zélie, who feels responsible for her father’s death. Zélie and her older brother, Tzain, try to help Princess Amari ascend the throne, believing her family dead—but Queen Nehanda, Amari’s mother, is very much alive and more formidable than they could imagine. The trio join the Iyika, a band of rebel maji working to protect their persecuted people from threats new and old. Though the characters’ trauma reads as real and understandable, their decisions don’t always feel sensible or logical, often stemming from a lack of communication or forethought, which may leave readers frustrated. Though still commendable for its detailed worldbuilding, with an ending compelling enough to keep fans interested in the next installment, much of the book feels like navigating minefields of characters’ ill-advised decisions. All characters are black except for a secondary character with silky black hair, tan skin, and gray eyes “like teardrops.”

Second installments in trilogies sometimes slump—here’s hoping the third book is a return to the vibrancy of the first. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-17099-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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