From the Riders series , Vol. 2

For readers who want a military twist to their apocalyptic adventure/romance.

Three apocalyptic horsemen and one former Seeker search for their fourth rider in this sequel.

In averting an apocalypse and defeating the demonic Kindred, Gideon (War), Marcus (Death), and Jode (Conquest) also lost Sebastian (Famine), who was mistakenly trapped with the violent Samrael in another realm by Seeker Daryn. Now allied with the government and equipped with money and top-notch tech as well as their supernatural steeds and weapons, yet unable to rescue Sebastian, the riders discover life—or technically, afterlife—goes on. Without the Sight, which estranged her from her family and led her around the world, teen Daryn is homesick, powerless, and guilt-stricken. When Daryn finds a way to open a portal, one-handed, celiac-suffering, ex-military Gideon reunites and begins a romance with Daryn but struggles to forgive his enemy. As the retrieval missions go awry, the riders and Daryn confront their worst memories and fears as the surreal Rift reflects past trauma and spawns new monsters. Daryn and Gideon, Rossi’s white co-narrators, and their more diverse supporting characters engage in realistic dialogue and abundant, cinematically depicted action sequences, but the plot is tortuous, the high-stakes scenes are achieved illogically, and the angst-y teen emotions are described repetitively. Despite the violence, the emphasis on forgiveness, redemption, and higher purpose may appeal to faith-based audiences.

For readers who want a military twist to their apocalyptic adventure/romance. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: May 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7653-8256-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Tor Teen

Review Posted Online: Jan. 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017


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


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

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