A bright spark of a promising series.

INFINITY SON

From the Infinity Cycle series , Vol. 1

Magic goes viral in Silvera’s (contributor: Color Outside the Lines, 2019, etc.) fantasy debut. But can it win a war?

For brothers Brighton and Emil, their 18th birthday is “off to a rough start.” The two dream of being celestials (people with magic abilities) but are reminded yet again that they’re “painfully ordinary.” Or are they? When potions dealers attack the brothers, Emil discovers that he has phoenix fire within. Brighton uploads a video of the fight online, propelling Emil—whom the celestial-obsessed dub “Fire-Wing”—to superstardom. The brothers find themselves caught in the crossfire between the heroic Spell Walkers, who fight for the end of celestial persecution, and the power-hungry Blood Casters, who gain magic by stealing it from creatures. With its raw, complex characters, Silvera’s latest packs his signature high-stakes emotionalism alongside a politically charged premise. The alternate New York City setting mixes current tech (e.g., virtual reality and Instagram) with magical tech (e.g., wands and gem-grenades) to create a richly contemporary urban landscape. Though Silvera mostly switches between Emil’s and Brighton’s strong, first person, present-tense narration, the perspectives of a Spell Walker and a Blood Caster are also magnified. The cast primarily consists of people of color, several of whom are also queer (including Emil, who is gay).

A bright spark of a promising series. (Fantasy. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-245782-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre.

SHATTER ME

A dystopic thriller joins the crowded shelves but doesn't distinguish itself.

Juliette was torn from her home and thrown into an asylum by The Reestablishment, a militaristic regime in control since an environmental catastrophe left society in ruins. Juliette’s journal holds her tortured thoughts in an attempt to repress memories of the horrific act that landed her in a cell. Mysteriously, Juliette’s touch kills. After months of isolation, her captors suddenly give her a cellmate—Adam, a drop-dead gorgeous guy. Adam, it turns out, is immune to her deadly touch. Unfortunately, he’s a soldier under orders from Warner, a power-hungry 19-year-old. But Adam belongs to a resistance movement; he helps Juliette escape to their stronghold, where she finds that she’s not the only one with superhuman abilities. The ending falls flat as the plot devolves into comic-book territory. Fast-paced action scenes convey imminent danger vividly, but there’s little sense of a broader world here. Overreliance on metaphor to express Juliette’s jaw-dropping surprise wears thin: “My mouth is sitting on my kneecaps. My eyebrows are dangling from the ceiling.” For all of her independence and superpowers, Juliette never moves beyond her role as a pawn in someone else’s schemes.

Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-208548-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Artful, cathartic, and most needed.

AIN'T BURNED ALL THE BRIGHT

A profound visual testimony to how much changed while we all had to stay inside and how much—painfully, mournfully—stayed the same.

Reynolds’ poetry and Griffin’s art perform a captivating dance on pages of mixed-media collage and emotive reflection on the pronounced threats facing a contemporary Black family. In “Breath One,” the opening of the verse narrative, the unnamed boy protagonist struggles with the onslaught of TV news coverage of the systemic violence and death experienced by Black people—coverage that is both overwhelming and insufficient. The television then forms the backdrop of the narrator’s concerns for his bedridden father, who is struggling with an acute respiratory illness while isolated in a bedroom. The art is sometimes spare and monochrome before shifting to a bright and striking palette as Griffin deploys aesthetics that enliven the rich flow and rhythm of Reynolds’ words. The two skillfully go back and forth like rap duos of old, each with a distinct voice that enriches the other. The result is an effective critique of the ways we’ve failed as a society to care for one another. By “Breath Three,” however, a complicated optimism shines through for a family that perseveres through closeness and connection despite what is broadcast from their TV. While grounded in 2020, many of the issues touched on explicitly are very much not over and not even new, making this remarkable work both timely and timeless.

Artful, cathartic, and most needed. (conversation between creators) (Illustrated poetry. 12-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3946-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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