An ambitious entry in a series that continues to improve.

INFINITY REAPER

From the Infinity Cycle series , Vol. 2

The war between the Spell Walkers and Blood Casters rages on.

This fast-paced sequel to Infinity Son (2020) starts with Brighton drinking Reaper’s Blood, an elixir that might give him the powers he so desperately craves. Meanwhile, his brother, Emil, is in critical condition after trying to prevent the elixir from being made. As the brothers regroup and recover, celestial-hating Sen. Iron coerces his son, Ness, to use his shape-shifting abilities to impersonate and further stigmatize gleamcrafters. Maribelle tracks down her lover’s murderer to exact revenge. Despite their different methods, the Spell Walkers each share the goal of finding a way to defeat the Blood Casters and right the world. But as Brighton’s new powers manifest, his views on those heroics start to change. Can they still save the world? First-person narration jumps between the same four characters from the first book but delves even deeper into their individual stories. Silvera also adds the sizzle of sexual tension as the brothers each navigate feelings for their respective crushes—and for Emil, a new boy further complicates things. Aided by a necessary glossary, the ambitious worldbuilding expands to include even more magical parallels to real-life America (e.g., wand violence, enforcer reform, and alternative facts). The cast continues to be mostly brown-skinned and/or queer. Another cliffhanger ending adds to the anticipation for the final book in the planned trilogy.

An ambitious entry in a series that continues to improve. (dramatis personae) (Fantasy. 12-adult)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-288231-8

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

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Star-crossed lovers carve their own paths in an explosive conclusion that lives up to its title.

OUR VIOLENT ENDS

From the These Violent Delights series , Vol. 2

New monsters terrorize Shanghai amid political upheaval and the reignition of the blood feud between the Chinese Scarlet Gang and the Russian White Flowers.

The death of Marshall Seo unleashed a new wave of violence, but when a mysterious figure wielding control over more deadly-insect–releasing monsters begins extorting money from both gangs, their leaders agree to temporarily cooperate in the interests of eliminating a mutual foe. They order their respective heirs to find the blackmailer, and so, once again, Roma Montagov and Juliette Cai must work together for the benefit of those under their protection. But their feelings for each other—complicated by hidden truths, lingering love, and unforgiving duty—prove difficult to repress. Meanwhile, the time of revolution draws near: Workers continue to organize protests decrying both foreign occupation and gangster rule as the Nationalist Army marches toward Shanghai in its campaign to unite and reclaim the country. Secrets abound and loyalties are tested in this tightly plotted sequel featuring a multinational cast and told through multiple third-person perspectives, including those of supporting characters introduced in These Violent Delights (2020). Stubborn Rosalind, obliging Kathleen, and grief-stricken Benedikt all return to play vital roles that blend seamlessly into Roma’s and Juliette’s storylines as they each are forced to consider what it is they truly want and the lengths they will go to protect it.

Star-crossed lovers carve their own paths in an explosive conclusion that lives up to its title. (Historical fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-534-45772-0

Page Count: 512

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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