First in a trilogy, this lush blend of folklore, fantasy, and romance is a welcome antidote to South Asian stereotypes of...

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THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT

From the Tiger at Midnight series , Vol. 1

In an alternate ancient India, a rebel assassin and a reluctant soldier find forbidden love while they battle to save their lands from war and disaster.

Dharka and Jansa were once twin countries, bound by the blood magic of demigods and blessed with a celestial river. But the younger brother of the Dharkan king broke that bond when he murdered the Jansan queen and took over Jansa in a coup. Now, the Southern Lands teeter on the brink of catastrophic drought in a fragile cease-fire. Kunal, the nephew of the ruthless Jansan Gen. Hotha, has just been promoted to the elite Senap Guard, feared and despised for their cruelty. But Kunal would rather make art than kill innocents. And why is he so drawn to Esha, a Dharkan rebel? Esha is the Viper, the masterful but merciless assassin who is driven by her need to avenge the usurper king’s murder of her family. But what she longs for is a normal life and lasting love. Esha leads Kunal on a wild chase across borders where they discover secret plots, old bonds, and new perspectives. Debut author Teerdhala’s prose can be convoluted and often purple. Still, the push-pull romance between the main characters and their struggle to define their own identities move the story forward.

First in a trilogy, this lush blend of folklore, fantasy, and romance is a welcome antidote to South Asian stereotypes of toxic men and repressed women. (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: April 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-286921-0

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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

THE BETROTHED

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

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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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