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STAR WARS: THE HIGH REPUBLIC

DEFY THE STORM

From the Star Wars: The High Republic series

An adventure with a slow start but one that’s worth the wait.

The Stormwall blockades hundreds of worlds from Republic aid, but as the Nihil expand their empire, cracks in the wall threaten the future of their impenetrable domination.

Avon Starros loathes everything about the Nihil. She lacks the ruthlessness that drove her ambitious senator mother to betray the Republic for a seat beside Marchion Ro. One year ago, during the fall of Starlight Beacon, Avon helped her friend Imri, a Jedi Padawan, hide from the Force Eaters, but it’s only a matter of time before the Nihil find him. With the help of an unlikely team, all with their own motives for breaking through the Stormwall, Avon embarks on a mission of rescue and revenge. Only one person, a Jedi, has ever cracked the Stormwall’s defenses, but that’s enough to give Avon hope. Chapters alternate between the perspectives of Avon (a teen genius), Xylan Graf (an opportunistic theoretician held hostage by the Nihil), Jordanna Sparkburn (a San Tekka in search of her family), and Vernestra Rwoh (a grieving Jedi Knight, who’s on sabbatical). The first half of the book lags due to the slow setup, but once the characters set off on their personal missions, the pace flies at hyperspeed toward a satisfying cliffhanger ending. Most characters have brown or tan skin, and the story casually includes representation of queer characters and relationships.

An adventure with a slow start but one that’s worth the wait. (timeline) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 5, 2024

ISBN: 9781368093811

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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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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THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

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

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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. 25, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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