The thrilling middle episode of a trilogy that delivers authentic character conflict.

The Greenstone Garden

In Dauphin’s (The Turquoise Tattoo, 2012) second installment of her Elementals of Aotearoa trilogy for young adults, an Australian teen who possesses elemental magical powers finds herself surrounded by intrigue, danger and romance in her quest to locate her birthparents and reach her destiny.

After discovering her elemental abilities, complete with electric anger storms and swirling hair, Scarlet struggles to get some sense of her new powers. Despite rules forbidding it, Scarlet magically tattoos the boy she loves, Sterling. The pair continues to quietly tango around their feelings in the wake of a friend’s kidnapping and torture at the hands of a demon, not to mention the taboo resurrection—resurrecting is evidently frowned upon—of Scarlet’s beloved pet. Scarlet must cope not only with her forbidden love for Sterling but with conflicted emotions about her father, the Lizard-god of the Dead. This volume traces Scarlet’s journey to find her birth mother, from whom she inherited the legacy of a Greenstone goddess, a gift that proves to be both a treasure and a curse. Also along for the ride is a new character, the delightfully troublemaking Mer, a distant relative with a hidden agenda, and a returning character, sinister Isaac, a dark figure who hides a tragic secret. While the trilogy’s setting in New Zealand provides an already exotic locale for American readers, the rich, original world of the Elementals, based on Maori culture and myths, provides an even more unfamiliar, exciting backdrop for the story. Despite a seemingly familiar supporting cast—the devoted love interest, the spunky sidekick, the father who lies to protect his daughter, and the quiet, supportive foster mom—Dauphin infuses each character with emotion and complex, sophisticated motives; it’s more J.K. Rowling than Stephenie Meyer. Scarlet’s story barrels forward in an adventure filled with action and suspense, hurtling toward a cliffhanger conclusion. Refreshingly, Dauphin favors plot-driven anguish instead of shallow, unfounded angst, which helps put this series on the upper tier of YA novels.

The thrilling middle episode of a trilogy that delivers authentic character conflict.

Pub Date: April 28, 2013

ISBN: 978-1742843469

Page Count: 297

Publisher: BookPal

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2013

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A masterful debut from a must-read new voice in fantasy.

FOR THE WOLF

Twin princesses—one fated to become a queen, the other a martyr—find themselves caught up in an unexpected battle of dark magic and ancient gods.

Four hundred years ago, a Valleydan princess facing a loveless betrothal sought refuge in the Wilderwood with her lover, the Wolf. The legendary Five Kings—including her father and her husband-to-be—pursued them only to be trapped in the Wilderwood. Now, according to legend, the only hope of restoring the Five Kings to power lies in the ritual sacrifice of every Second Daughter born to Valleyda's queen. There hasn't been a second daughter for 100 years—until now. On her 20th birthday, Redarys accepts her fate and walks into the Wilderwood to become the Wolf's next victim only to find that the stories she grew up on were lies. The handsome man who lives in a crumbling castle deep in the forest is not the original Wolf but his son, and he wants nothing to do with Red or her sacrifice. Afraid of her wild magic abilities and the danger they pose to her sister, Neverah, Red refuses to leave the Wilderwood. Instead, she clings to the new Wolf, Eammon, who will do whatever it takes to protect her from the grisly fate of the other Second Daughters. Meanwhile, in the Valleydan capital, Neve's desperation to bring her sister home sets her on a path that may spell disaster for Red, Eammon, and the Wilderwood itself. Whitten weaves a captivating tale in this debut, in which even secondary characters come to feel like old friends. The novel seamlessly blends "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Beauty and the Beast" into an un-put-down-able fairy tale that traces the boundaries of duty, love, and loss.

A masterful debut from a must-read new voice in fantasy.

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-59278-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Orbit

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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