As decadent and delicious as it is dense.

QUEEN OF VOLTS

From the Shadow Game series , Vol. 3

Foody lays all the cards on the table as New Reynes’ power players, from crime lords to politicians, play a final, deadly game in this trilogy conclusion.

In this sequel to King of Fools (2019), the curse holding the Shadow Game together is broken, and malison Bryce is using his shade-making blood talent to replace it with a new curse game in a gambit designed to draw in a notorious figure of New Reynes legend, the Bargainer, as a last-ditch effort at saving the life of his lover, Rebecca. It’s an elaborate game of Assassin, in which each of the 22 participants finds a name written on the back of a special Shadow Game card, specifying their target. The first to collect a chain of five cards wins, and anyone who doesn’t hold their assigned target’s card at the end of the game will die. Alongside the game, the true history of New Reynes and the Revolution—and Enne’s mysterious heritage—are among the secrets that unravel. At times, the sprawling plot (with many viewpoints) could use some pruning, but part of the charm is savoring the large number of well-rounded, shades-of-gray characters as they love, make mistakes, hurt, betray, and try to forgive each other. Relationships are particularly strong—familial, friendships, and romances both toxic and healthy; plentiful queer representation thwarts bisexual erasure in particular. As in previous volumes, the cast is racially diverse.

As decadent and delicious as it is dense. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-335-14586-4

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Review Posted Online: July 27, 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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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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