Care and attention to details of the ballet cannot compensate for slipshod plotting; both balletomanes and urban-fantasy...

DANCE OF SHADOWS

An overheated debut mixes high-stakes ballet education with the occult.

Fifteen-year-old Vanessa, though astonishingly gifted, didn’t apply to the ultraprestigious New York Ballet Academy because she wants a career in dance—she did it in the hope of finding her older sister, Margaret, who disappeared from the school after being cast as the Firebird as a freshman three years ago. Once at NYBA, she draws the attention of choreographer Josef and two senior boys, the obnoxious Justin and the lustrous-eyed Zeppelin (a name so hilariously unballetic it could only have been meant ironically—except it seems not to be). It will surprise no one except the catty senior girls that Vanessa is cast as the Firebird, just as her sister was before….Vanessa’s investigation proceeds in fits and starts; irritatingly, an early mystical warning she receives during a hazing incident is dropped. That she does not recall this while rehearsing the mysterious “Danse du Feu” in an underground studio whose charred walls are interrupted only by the white silhouettes of dancers, one of whom resembles Margaret and that sometimes seem to dance with her, will have readers grinding their teeth. A lengthy midsection devolves into a rushed and chaotic conclusion that turns out to be little more than a setup for a sequel.

Care and attention to details of the ballet cannot compensate for slipshod plotting; both balletomanes and urban-fantasy fans should look elsewhere . (Urban fantasy. 13-16)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59990-940-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Oct. 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2012

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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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A purple page turner.

CLOCKWORK PRINCE

From the Infernal Devices series , Vol. 2

This sequel to Clockwork Angel (2010) pits gorgeous, attractively broken teens against a menacing evil.

There's betrayal, mayhem and clockwork monstrosities, and the Shadowhunters have only two weeks to discover—oh, who are we kidding? The plot is only surprisingly tasty icing on this cupcake of a melodramatic love triangle. Our heroes are Tessa, who may or may not be a warlock, and the beautiful Shadowhunter warrior boys who are moths to her forbidden flame. It's not always clear why Tessa prefers Will to his beloved (and only) friend Jem, the dying, silver-eyed, biracial sweetheart with the face of an angel. Jem, after all, is gentle and kind, her dearest confidante; Will is unpleasant to everyone around him. But poor, wretched Will—who "would have been pretty if he had not been so tall and so muscular"—has a deep, dark, thoroughly emo secret. His trauma puts all previous romantic difficulties to shame, from the Capulet/Montague feud all the way to Edward Cullen's desire to chomp on Bella Swan. Somehow there's room for an interesting steampunk mystery amid all this angst. The supporting characters (unusually well-developed for a love-triangle romance) include multiple compelling young women who show strength in myriad ways. So what if there are anachronisms, character inconsistencies and weird tonal slips? There's too much overwrought fun to care.

A purple page turner. (Fantasy. 13-16)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4169-7588-5

Page Count: 528

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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