A mess, but at least it’s a hot one.

BLOODSWORN

From the Ashlords series , Vol. 2

The action moves from phoenix races to all-out war in this sequel to Ashlords (2020).

The novel opens with victorious Ashlord Pippa leading an army against her previous foes in the Races: Imelda, a Dividian, and Adrian, a Longhand. The narrative shifts from one character to another as all three discover links to the underworld where the seven Ashlord gods live with their slaves, and they begin to see the gods, not each other, as the enemy. The pace here is frenetic, the writing smooth and exciting. The worldbuilding continues to feel illogical and inconsistent in terms of technological development, and most of the time it’s hard, if not impossible, to follow the plot. The phoenix horses around which the first novel centered are incidental to this book, but readers who haven’t read the first entry will feel lost and have difficulty understanding the characters or setup. Halfway through, the confusion begins to matter less as the characters become more fully developed. If readers don’t worry about understanding it all, the action will be interesting enough to carry things along as the story rockets to a somewhat comprehensible happy ending. Although in the first book the Ashlords were described as dark-skinned and the Dividians and Longhands as light, that difference is downplayed in this entry.

A mess, but at least it’s a hot one. (dramatis personae) (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11921-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 14

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

more