RESURRECTION MEN

Pandering to audiences that relish historical fiction slathered with filth and suffering, Welsh pits an orphaned beggar lad with a shattered leg and some martial-arts training against a pair of genial body snatchers in the employ of a prominent doctor who likes to molest girls and infect kidnapped children with cholera in the name of scientific discovery. The setting is, unsurprisingly, that open running sewer (now) known as Dickensian London, to which young Victor comes inside a coffin he is sharing with a deliquescent occupant. Anything that good being worth repeating, he does the same later on, hiding out after witnessing the clinical dissection of his best friend’s diseased, mutilated corpse. Though against all odds, things are looking up in the end for Victor and the blind beggar with whom he falls in love, Welsh plays this lurid stomach-churner, which he loosely bases on historical events, strictly for shock value, leaving the stage strewn with corpses and gruesome relics. Steer readers with even an ounce of squeamishness (or, for that matter, self respect) to Kathleen Karr’s similarly themed but less graphic Skullduggery (2000). (Historical fiction. YA)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-525-47699-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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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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An inspiring, powerful tale of belonging.

CAZADORA

From the Wolves of No World series , Vol. 2

The follow-up to Lobizona (2020) sees its protagonist’s fight for equality and acceptance reach new heights.

After the events of the first book, Manu and her friends flee their magical school and are on the run to avoid the Cazadores who aim to capture anyone who doesn’t conform to the stringent gender binary laws of their world. Manu, as the first ever known female werewolf and a Septimus/human hybrid to boot, could lose her life if she’s discovered. Illegal in both worlds, Manu’s only chance is to find the Coven, a legendary underground movement of outcasts who she hopes will welcome them with open arms. Once she meets the people of the Coven, Manu encounters a world full of Septimus who are willing to risk anything for change. But how far is Manu willing to go? In this effervescent sequel full of magic and beautiful imagery, Manu learns to reclaim her own narrative and, together with her lovable found family, including misfits Saysa and Cata as well as boyfriend Tiago, stake out a place in the world where she belongs. Refreshingly, Manu and her friends are not presented as uniquely positioned to change the world: They join a multigenerational, ongoing fight against oppression that aims to give voice to the nonconforming voiceless. All characters are Argentine, with a variety of skin tones, gender identities, and sexualities.

An inspiring, powerful tale of belonging. (Paranormal. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-23915-0

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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