THE STORYTELLER

From the The Reader Trilogy series , Vol. 3

Thoroughly immersive, thoroughly satisfying.

“What is written comes to pass”—or does it?

In this trilogy closer, Sefia struggles to help Archer escape his destiny, written in the Book that records Kelanna’s history, past and future. Archer has been severely traumatized by his time as a candidate, when he was shaped by the secretive Guard into a human killing machine who would lead their unstoppable army to victory in the Red War, so it’s Sefia who doggedly works to “rewrit[e] the future.” Their doomed—maybe—love story plays out: against the backdrop of the Red War, as the Alliance engineered by the Guard grows ever closer to its goal; in tandem with outlaw Capt. Reed’s quest for immortality; alongside Eduoar’s escape from his former life as Lonely King of Deliene. Chee (The Speaker, 2017, etc.) keeps all her stories in balance, adding additional characters as they all converge toward a bloody, heartbreaking end. With an assurance that equals her sorcerer protagonist’s, Chee constantly interrogates her central question: “who controls the story.” At one point hers reaches the high-fantasy equivalent of The Monster at the End of This Book (though with significantly more elegance). Kelanna has racial diversity, but it is not racialized. Race is as unremarkable and nonlimiting as gender and sexuality, with brown, trans, nonbinary, queer, and cis female characters enjoying equal access to power and capacity for violence.

Thoroughly immersive, thoroughly satisfying. (map) (Fantasy. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-17679-1

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

INDIVISIBLE

An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away.

A Mexican American boy takes on heavy responsibilities when his family is torn apart.

Mateo’s life is turned upside down the day U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents show up unsuccessfully seeking his Pa at his New York City bodega. The Garcias live in fear until the day both parents are picked up; his Pa is taken to jail and his Ma to a detention center. The adults around Mateo offer support to him and his 7-year-old sister, Sophie, however, he knows he is now responsible for caring for her and the bodega as well as trying to survive junior year—that is, if he wants to fulfill his dream to enter the drama program at the Tisch School of the Arts and become an actor. Mateo’s relationships with his friends Kimmie and Adam (a potential love interest) also suffer repercussions as he keeps his situation a secret. Kimmie is half Korean (her other half is unspecified) and Adam is Italian American; Mateo feels disconnected from them, less American, and with worries they can’t understand. He talks himself out of choosing a safer course of action, a decision that deepens the story. Mateo’s self-awareness and inner monologue at times make him seem older than 16, and, with significant turmoil in the main plot, some side elements feel underdeveloped. Aleman’s narrative joins the ranks of heart-wrenching stories of migrant families who have been separated.

An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7595-5605-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

DIVINE RIVALS

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

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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