A deliciously dark coming-of-age fairy tale brimming with magic, monsters, and hope.

AMONG THE BEASTS & BRIARS

A lowly gardener’s daughter enters the cursed Wildwood to save her kingdom.

Cerys, the royal gardener’s daughter, always believed she would stay in Village-in-the-Valley, inheriting the care of the castle’s flowers from her father. With only Princess Anwen, her father, and a mischievous fox for friendship, Cerys has accepted her quiet life, which includes being gossiped about by others for the magic in her blood that, when spilled, causes greenery to grow exponentially. As Cerys mourns missing loved ones, Anwen’s upcoming coronation looms; as ruler, her friend will wear the crown of Aloriya, whose magic keeps the evil of the Wilds at bay. When the coronation is disrupted by the woodcurse, Cerys and the fox rush into the Wildwood, searching for the possibly mythical city of Voryn in hopes of saving the kingdom. Beautifully dark and descriptive prose creates a grim fairy-tale atmosphere that blends with horrific descriptions of bone-eaters, twisted magic, and the ominous adventure through the Wilds. The voice of Cerys, whose lack of self-confidence makes her a convincingly unwilling hero, contrasts with the talking fox’s witty narration. The romance is relatively low-key, and the developing trust and friendship between characters shines. Some aspects may feel familiar to fans of this genre, but the writing and pacing will sweep readers along. Main characters are White; queerness is accepted without comment in this world.

A deliciously dark coming-of-age fairy tale brimming with magic, monsters, and hope. (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-284736-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

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THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends.

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RED QUEEN

From the Red Queen series , Vol. 1

Amid a war and rising civil unrest, a young thief discovers the shocking power within her that sparks a revolution.

At 17, Mare knows that without an apprenticeship or job, her next birthday will bring a conscription to join the war. She contributes to her poor family’s income the only way she can, stealing from the Silvers, who possess myriad powers and force her and her fellow Reds into servitude. The Silvers literally bleed silver, and they can manipulate metal, plants and animals, among many other talents. When Mare’s best friend, Kilorn, loses his job and is doomed to conscription, she is determined to change his fate. She stumbles into a mysterious stranger after her plan goes awry and is pulled out of her village and into the world of Silver royalty. Once inside the palace walls, it isn’t long before Mare learns that powers unknown to red-blooded humans lie within her, powers that could lead a revolution. Familiar tropes abound. Mare is revealed as a great catalyst for change among classes and is groomed from rags to riches, and of course, seemingly kind characters turn out to be foes. However, Aveyard weaves a compelling new world, and Mare and the two men in her life evolve intriguingly as class tension rises. Revolution supersedes romance, setting the stage for action-packed surprises.

An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-231063-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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