BELOW THE ROOT

The future-fantasy world of Greensky — where a race called Kindar, clad in winged shubas, practice daily ceremonies of Love, Peace and Joy in their grundtree-top nid-places and children in the Garden exercise the skills of pensing, teleporting and grunspreking — is a long way from Snyder's usual contemporary settings, but the concerns and attitudes expressed here are less remote. Settled by survivors from another world destroyed by war, Greensky is a vegetarian society where the words hate and kill do not exist and the only threat is from the dreaded Pash-shan who live below the root and who capture and enslave babies and occasional adults who fall or venture to the forest floor. Lately however the protective vine is withering, citizens fall ill of the Wasting or overindulge in Berry-dreaming, and thirteen-year-old Raamo D'ok, unusually gifted in spirit-power and newly chosen to join the ruling priestly Ol-zhaan, finds suspicion and subterfuge even in the inner sanctums. But where until recent years the hero might have led a glorious victory over the Pash-shan or at least uncovered a plot between them and certain of the Ol-zhaan, here Raamo, alerted by a suspicious older novice named Neric and aided by his female counterpart Genaa, discovers that the dwellers below the root are not monsters after all but exiled Kindar who had become too curious about the forest floor and the secrets of their guardian priests. Greensky is a bit too ritualized and bloodless for our taste and we miss the stronger personalities of Snyder's previous, less highly evolved characters, but as revisionist fantasy this is worth the trip.

Pub Date: March 12, 1975

ISBN: 0595370314

Page Count: 244

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1975

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A gripping revenge story with enough twists to avoid becoming formulaic.

LORE

To get revenge for her family’s murder seven years ago, Lore must reenter a deadly contest from her past.

Leaving the conflict of gods and their hunters behind, Lore thought she had forged a new life. However, the Agon has begun again and brought with it an injured Athena, who promises her revenge on the one who ordered her family killed—in exchange for an oath binding their fates together. Lore must hunt down the god once known as Aristos Kadmou, with the catch that she only has eight days. Also, failure means the deaths of both Lore and Athena. Depictions of graphic violence and discussions of sexual assault are frequent, creating a tale as violent and unforgiving as its source material, albeit narrated through a feminist lens. Much like the heroes of ancient epics, Lore is a morally ambiguous but ultimately likable character, struggling to eliminate the monsters of her world while not falling into the brutality of her youth. She is contrasted with the idealistic Castor, her childhood friend and love interest, with whom she has plenty of chemistry. Bracken builds a rich world around a skeleton of ancient Greek mythology that is perfect to read on a dull weekend and sure to delight readers. Most main characters are cued as White; there are two men of color, both gay.

A gripping revenge story with enough twists to avoid becoming formulaic. (cast of characters) (Fantasy. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4847-7820-3

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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An accomplished, exciting debut.

ALL THE STARS AND TEETH

From the All the Stars and Teeth series , Vol. 1

A princess embarks on a dangerous path to the throne.

In the island kingdom of Visidia, where each person is allowed just one type of magic, only the members of the royal Montara family have the ability to wield the dangerous soul magic. Princess Amora is next in line to be High Animancer, but she must first prove to her people that she is powerful enough to use her magic to protect them. But something goes terribly wrong during a critical public ceremony, and Amora runs away with dashing pirate Bastian, whose rescue comes with a price: She must help him recover his own magic, stolen away by a dangerous man leading a growing rebellion that could bring down the whole kingdom. Debut author Grace wields her own magic with a skillful balancing act between high-stakes adventure (here there be monsters, mermaids, and high-seas shenanigans), bloody fantasy, and character development in a story with a lovable found family at its core. Amora yearns for adventure just as she welcomes her right to command her kingdom; her ferocious sense of duty and legitimate need to do good shine through. The novel’s further unravelling of dark secrets long kept comes with a recognized need for accountability and making amends which adds a thoughtful extra layer to the rich worldbuilding. Amora has copper-brown skin and dark, curly hair; other characters have a range of skin tones in this diverse world.

An accomplished, exciting debut. (guide to the kingdom) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-30778-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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