LADY KNIGHT

From the Protector of the Small series , Vol. 4

This fourth and final entry in the compelling Protector of the Small series finds 18-year-old Keladry of Mindelan (finally a full knight) handed a profound and confusing destiny by an immortal source. The Chamber of the Ordeal, a small room in which candidates for knighthood are tested, has ordered Kel to find and destroy the Nothing Man, a death mage using children’s souls to fuel brutal killing machines. Meanwhile, however, her kingdom of Tortall is going to war, and Kel is required to serve alongside other knights and armies. Her assignment is to run a refugee camp near the warring border, a job which entails everything from military command of the camp to settling arguments between squabbling refugees. As the war rages on and Tortall begins to lose—largely because of the metal killing machines sent by the Nothing Man—Kel experiences an expertly written tension between her military assignment and her crucial, preordained task. But when her refugees are kidnapped by henchmen of the Nothing Man himself, Kel disobeys orders and risks execution in order to pursue her protectees into enemy territory and do what she does best: fight. Friends—human, dog, cat, horse, sparrow—offer the occasional tender moment and indispensable battle help. Appropriately larger in scope than the other volumes in this series and featuring vivid involvement with the young knight’s dogged determination and physical feats, this gripping climax sees Kel fulfill her destiny and earn her legend-name. (Fantasy. YA)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2002

ISBN: 0-375-81465-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2002

POWERLESS

From the Powerless Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes.

The Plague has left a population divided between Elites and Ordinaries—those who have powers and those who don’t; now, an Ordinary teen fights for her life.

Paedyn Gray witnessed the king kill her father five years ago, and she’s been thieving and sleeping rough ever since, all while faking Psychic abilities. When she inadvertently saves the life of Prince Kai, she becomes embroiled in the Purging Trials, a competition to commemorate the sickness that killed most of the kingdom’s Ordinaries. Kai’s duties as the future Enforcer include eradicating any remaining Ordinaries, and these Trials are his chance to prove that he’s internalized his brutal training. But Kai can’t help but find Pae’s blue eyes, silver hair, and unabashed attitude enchanting. She likewise struggles to resist his stormy gray eyes, dark hair, and rakish behavior, even as they’re pitted against each other in the Trials and by the king himself. Scenes and concepts that are strongly reminiscent of the Hunger Games fall flat: They aren’t bolstered by the original’s heart or worldbuilding logic that would have justified a few extreme story elements. Illogical leaps and inconsistent characterizations abound, with lighthearted romantic interludes juxtaposed against genocide, child abuse, and sadism. These elements, which are not sufficiently addressed, combined with the use of ableist language, cannot be erased by any amount of romantic banter. Main characters are cued white; the supporting cast has some brown-skinned characters.

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9798987380406

Page Count: 538

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023

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DIVINE RIVALS

Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy.

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A war between gods plays havoc with mortals and their everyday lives.

In a time of typewriters and steam engines, Iris Winnow awaits word from her older brother, who has enlisted on the side of Enva the Skyward goddess. Alcohol abuse led to her mother’s losing her job, and Iris has dropped out of school and found work utilizing her writing skills at the Oath Gazette. Hiding the stress of her home issues behind a brave face, Iris competes for valuable assignments that may one day earn her the coveted columnist position. Her rival for the job is handsome and wealthy Roman Kitt, whose prose entrances her so much she avoids reading his articles. At home, she writes cathartic letters to her brother, never posting them but instead placing them in her wardrobe, where they vanish overnight. One day Iris receives a reply, which, along with other events, pushes her to make dramatic life decisions. Magic plays a quiet role in this story, and readers may for a time forget there is anything supernatural going on. This is more of a wartime tale of broken families, inspired youths, and higher powers using people as pawns. It flirts with clichéd tropes but also takes some startling turns. Main characters are assumed White; same-sex marriages and gender equality at the warfront appear to be the norm in this world.

Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-85743-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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