An absorbing story with tantalizing hints of more to come.

BEASTS OF RUIN

After a perilous adventure, a disgraced warrior and a newly minted daraja must face the consequences of their actions in this follow-up to Beasts of Prey (2021).

Ekon and Koffi return, each having experienced life-altering events that have caused them to reevaluate themselves and their futures. Koffi awakes in Thornkeep, a strange land belonging to Fedu, the god of death. After she freed the Shetani of her splendor, Fedu kidnapped Koffi and secreted her away with other darajas he holds captive for their skills at channeling energy from the earth. Realizing he plans to use her as his weapon, Koffi finds allyship with like-minded darajas who wish to escape: She promises to guide them through the treacherous forest, and in return, they will help her learn about her heritage. Ekon has been hiding in the city of Lkossa with Themba, Koffi’s estranged grandmother, since learning shocking truths. He and Themba search for leads as to where Fedu took Koffi, and as they leave Lkossa, they meet a group of spice merchants who agree to let them join their caravan. Ultimately, both Ekon and Koffi will need to rely on their newfound communities to overcome powerful forces. Readers will be entranced as themes of heritage, betrayal, and erasure are brought to life with vivid details in this riveting, fast-paced volume that lives up to its predecessor. All characters are Black.

An absorbing story with tantalizing hints of more to come. (map, list of orders) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-40571-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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Summery fun and games with feeling.

THE SUMMER OF BROKEN RULES

A summer trip helps break 18-year-old Meredith Fox out of a haze of mourning.

Her cousin’s wedding means a return to Martha’s Vineyard, a well-loved destination but one filled with bittersweet memories. It’s been a year and a half since the sudden loss of Meredith’s sister, Claire, and the grief remains strong. Meredith, though, resolves to take this time to celebrate family and bridge the rifts resulting from ghosting friends. She didn’t plan on a meet-cute/embarrassing encounter with the groom’s stepbrother, Wit. Nor did she expect a wedding-week game of Assassin, a water-gun–fueled family tradition. What starts off as a pact of sharing strategic information with Wit grows into something more as the flirting and feelings develop. Only one person can win, though, and any alliance has an expiration date. To win and honor Claire, who was a master of the game, Meredith must keep her eye on the prize. Taking place over the course of a week, the narrative is tight with well-paced reveals that disrupt predictability and keep the plot moving. Early details are picked back up, and many elements come satisfyingly full circle. The short time frame also heightens the tension of this summer romance: What will happen when they leave the bubble of the Vineyard? The mix of budding romance, competitive hijinks, a close-knit circle, as well as dealing with loss make for a satisfying read. The main cast is White.

Summery fun and games with feeling. (family tree) (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72821-029-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell...

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SIX OF CROWS

Adolescent criminals seek the haul of a lifetime in a fantasyland at the beginning of its industrial age.

The dangerous city of Ketterdam is governed by the Merchant Council, but in reality, large sectors of the city are given over to gangs who run the gambling dens and brothels. The underworld's rising star is 17-year-old Kaz Brekker, known as Dirtyhands for his brutal amorality. Kaz walks with chronic pain from an old injury, but that doesn't stop him from utterly destroying any rivals. When a councilman offers him an unimaginable reward to rescue a kidnapped foreign chemist—30 million kruge!—Kaz knows just the team he needs to assemble. There's Inej, an itinerant acrobat captured by slavers and sold to a brothel, now a spy for Kaz; the Grisha Nina, with the magical ability to calm and heal; Matthias the zealot, hunter of Grishas and caught in a hopeless spiral of love and vengeance with Nina; Wylan, the privileged boy with an engineer's skills; and Jesper, a sharpshooter who keeps flirting with Wylan. Bardugo broadens the universe she created in the Grisha Trilogy, sending her protagonists around countries that resemble post-Renaissance northern Europe, where technology develops in concert with the magic that's both coveted and despised. It’s a highly successful venture, leaving enough open questions to cause readers to eagerly await Volume 2.

Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family . (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-212-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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