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THE BOOK OF PEARL

A luminous, haunting, intriguingly intricate modern fairy tale.

Exiled from the “land of fairy tales,” a melancholy youth seeks to find his way back.

In this richly textured, multilayered story, a prince named Iliån and a fairy named Oliå fall in love in the Kingdoms. Oliå renounces her magical powers to be with Iliån, but a malevolent genie banishes them with the condition Oliå never allow Iliån to see her. Arriving in Paris in 1936, Iliån remembers nothing. Sheltered by the proprietors of the Maison Pearl, Iliån’s an amiable, mysterious youth plagued by “frenzies.” A book of fairy tales unlocks his memories, triggering Iliån’s quest to return to the Kingdoms and to Oliå; he’s unaware she’s secretly with him. Enlisting in the war, Iliån is captured by the Nazis and then escapes from a German prison camp, fights in the Resistance, and continues his quest, eventually retiring in seclusion with his collection of fairy-tale “tokens of proof.” When a boy with a camera invades Iliån’s privacy, Iliån sends him away, but 25 years later, the boy, now an adult writer, becomes the teller of this tale. Alternating storylines and narrators challenge and beguile, eventually merging into a masterfully interconnected tale in which compelling themes of revenge, love, and devotion transcend both the fairy world’s fantasy and the realism of wartime Paris.

A luminous, haunting, intriguingly intricate modern fairy tale. (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9126-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Oct. 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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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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CHILDREN OF ANGUISH AND ANARCHY

From the Legacy of Orisha series , Vol. 3

A thrilling, climactic storm with an abrupt conclusion.

In this much-anticipated trilogy closer following 2019’s Children of Virtue and Vengeance, an enemy from a land across the sea carries out conquests to fulfill a prophecy that threatens the entire world.

The war between the maji and the crown of Orïsha ends when the Skulls, a tribe of masked, pale-skinned invaders, interrupt the pivotal battle, abducting Zélie, Tzain, Amari, Inan, and dozens of maji from their homeland. Caged on a ship and cut off from their magic, they have no choice but to set aside their bitterness and distrust to fight for their freedom. Ruthless and empowered by the volatile magic of bloodmetal weapons, the Skulls hunt for Zélie, “a girl with the blood of the sun,” at the command of their king, Baldyr, who prepares for his ascension to godhood during the Blood Moon. As much as she longs to return home, visions and an intertwined fate pull Zélie, along with her companions, to the land of New Gaīa in search of a girl with russet-brown skin and eyes that glitter like diamonds. United goals, fresh conflict, and impending doom provide invigorating gusts of momentum that push the story out of the doldrums of the previous book. On its own, this installment is a suspenseful and compelling expansion of the world, but as a series finale, the conflict seems disconnected from the first two books, and the resolution feels rushed.

A thrilling, climactic storm with an abrupt conclusion. (guide to clans) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 25, 2024

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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