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REDEMPTION

To vampires, werewolves, zombies, pixies, merpeople, angels, demons and fairies, we can now add gargoyles.

Guillaume has been affixed to a Montréal church since the 1940s, paying scant attention to the doings of the humans below, when a girl oozing "essence" is attacked and, astonishingly, awakens Guillaume and his three gargoyle companions, who revert to their original, human forms. Aude, 16, is predictably freaked out by the attack and the strange voices, chanting and drumming she hears in her head, but she shakes it off so she can concentrate on her band, Lucid Pill. Glacially, Launier reveals the gargoyles' back story (created 800 years ago, they are the protectors of a line of female witches, or "essentialists," thought to have died out) and current dilemma (the Iroquois "Prophecy of the Seventh Generation" tells of a time of apocalypse, when "stone monsters"—not the gargoyles, different stone monsters—rampage and other bad stuff happens). The narration alternates between Guillaume's past tense and Aude's present tense, as they agonizingly figure out what is happening (kind of) and realize they love each other. Frustratingly, Aude's rejection of her French heritage (she prefers to be called Odd) goes unexplored, along with numerous other plot threads. The promise of the compelling opening chapter goes unfulfilled, as the debut author struggles with voice (would an 800-year-old French gargoyle really say "you guys" and "anyways"?), sentence structure and storytelling.

Skip. (Paranormal romance. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7387-3074-5

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Flux

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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May well beguile readers with its mix of magic and political intrigue.

SHIELDED

From the Shielded series , Vol. 1

A princess fights to save her kingdom while trying to conceal her magic.

On the eve of her 17th birthday, Princess Jennesara learns of her betrothal to the prince of Turia, an alliance made by her father to secure the neighboring kingdom’s military support in quelling the fighting at his borders. Before she is sent away to safety in Turia, she learns of other worrying developments brewing at home: A burned letter references a search for the mages’ library, illicit magic is being used in skirmishes at the borders, and there is a potential betrayal within her father’s circle of trust. She frets, too, about her own secret magic being discovered, for only her older brother, Ren, is supposed to possess magic. On their way to Turia, Jenna’s party is ambushed and she narrowly escapes. She is forced to fend for herself and find her own way to Turia to discover who betrayed her family and what secrets lie in the rumored mages’ library. Jenna conceals her identity and ingratiates herself with her betrothed’s family as she eludes the threat of a shadowy, sinister foe. Though overflowing with common fantasy tropes and featuring lengthy expository passages, this series opener nevertheless features affable characters and moves at a solid clip that will keep readers entertained. Jenna’s people are fair-haired while Turians are olive-skinned with dark hair.

May well beguile readers with its mix of magic and political intrigue. (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: July 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-11853-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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Not much forward momentum but a tasty array of chills, thrills, and chortles.

A MAP OF DAYS

From the Peculiar Children series , Vol. 4

The victory of Jacob and his fellow peculiars over the previous episode’s wights and hollowgasts turns out to be only one move in a larger game as Riggs (Tales of the Peculiar, 2016, etc.) shifts the scene to America.

Reading largely as a setup for a new (if not exactly original) story arc, the tale commences just after Jacob’s timely rescue from his decidedly hostile parents. Following aimless visits back to newly liberated Devil’s Acre and perfunctory normalling lessons for his magically talented friends, Jacob eventually sets out on a road trip to find and recruit Noor, a powerful but imperiled young peculiar of Asian Indian ancestry. Along the way he encounters a semilawless patchwork of peculiar gangs, syndicates, and isolated small communities—many at loggerheads, some in the midst of negotiating a tentative alliance with the Ymbryne Council, but all threatened by the shadowy Organization. The by-now-tangled skein of rivalries, romantic troubles, and family issues continues to ravel amid bursts of savage violence and low comedy (“I had never seen an invisible person throw up before,” Jacob writes, “and it was something I won’t soon forget”). A fresh set of found snapshots serves, as before, to add an eldritch atmosphere to each set of incidents. The cast defaults to white but includes several people of color with active roles.

Not much forward momentum but a tasty array of chills, thrills, and chortles. (Horror/Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-3214-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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