Enthralling magic-and-crime escapism.

KING OF FOOLS

From the Shadow Game series , Vol. 2

Following Ace of Shades (2018), Enne and Levi delve deeply into the politics of New Reynes.

The brush with the Phoenix Club leaves Enne vowing to avenge her mother and Levi determined to rebuild himself into legend—but first, they both must contend with the Augustine crime Family. Vianca Augustine orders Enne to help secure the election of the monarchist candidate in the senate election and to embrace her new street lord notoriety as Séance in starting her own street gang. Rookie Enne insists on doing it her way, maintaining her prim decorum and recruiting fellow girls (like gothic-styled Grace), which results in female friendship and not-terribly-subtle empowerment themes. Levi’s been offered a way out from under Vianca’s thumb and secretly works to support her estranged son’s candidacy—at the price of keeping his distance from Enne (so that Vianca can’t use them against each other—though it frees him up for a dalliance with handsome Narinder), sending third narrator Jac, a recovering addict, into drug dens owned by the Torren Family. The dizzying number of moving plot parts results in a cascade of alliances, betrayals, and reversals as the sprawling cast has romances of various sexual orientations but also friendships and other bonds—and not all bonds survive. Enne, Jac, Grace, and the crime Families are White; Levi and Narinder are brown-skinned; the supporting cast has a range of skin tones.

Enthralling magic-and-crime escapism. (map) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: April 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-335-66134-0

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2020

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

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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