Not a lot of plot or subtlety, but plenty of explosions in this macho, military story.

RIDERS

From the Riders series , Vol. 1

Bickering boys slouch toward something in this semi-apocalyptic action tale.

Feeling helpless after watching his father die, and longing for brotherhood and belonging, Gideon Blake joined the Army Rangers. When he falls from grace—and a plane—and temporarily dies, he returns as red-cuffed and rage-filled War, though he’s afraid of his fiery horse. Inexplicably abandoning his family and Ranger unit, he partners with hot but helpless Seeker Daryn on a road trip to collect the other horsemen: Sebastian/Famine, Marcus/Death, and Jode/Conquest. The seemingly interminable trip and Gideon’s painful flirtation with Daryn are punctuated by bloody encounters with the Kindred, seven former allies of Satan who now seek a realm and slaves of their own. Typical demonic villains, the Kindred are grotesque, ridiculously named, and prone to terrible dialogue. While God and spirituality are repeatedly mentioned, actual religion and Revelation are of little relevance here. Rossi relies on an interrogation as an intrusive framing device to explore all aspects of Gideon but leaves the fellow horsemen underdeveloped, though each boy gets to show off his weapon and steed. Gideon may not be great at flirting, leading the horsemen, controlling his temper, or horseback riding, but he will try to save the world with hooah and some hubris.

Not a lot of plot or subtlety, but plenty of explosions in this macho, military story. (Fantasy. 14-20)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7653-8254-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Starscape/Tom Doherty

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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

THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

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. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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