This nuanced sequel offers new perspectives and emphasizes the value and complexity of both sibling and romantic...

A HEART SO FIERCE AND BROKEN

From the Cursebreaker series , Vol. 2

A group of young people forge unexpected bonds that are tested when they must choose between love and duty.

The enchantress’s curse has been broken, but no happily-ever-after awaits Princess Harper and Prince Rhen; Rhen struggles with severe PTSD while rumors spread of an heir with magical abilities, weakening his claim to the throne. While the queen of Syhl Shallow regroups after a failed invasion, her elder daughter, 18-year-old Lia Mara, makes a doomed attempt to negotiate peace with Rhen. Meanwhile, Rhen’s former guard commander, Grey, has been captured and questioned about his knowledge of the mysterious heir. When Rhen’s conditioned fear of magic leads him to do the unthinkable, Lia Mara helps Grey escape. Their journey, told through alternating first-person perspectives, provides a Cook’s tour of both countries, prompting thoughtful consideration of their distinct social and cultural traditions—and just enough time for romance to blossom. Like Harper in A Curse So Dark and Lonely (2019), Lia Mara proves herself the undisputed hero right up to the stunning conclusion. This sweeping, romantic epic repeatedly turns the tables on the fantasy tropes that readers might be expecting. Apart from Harper’s brother’s boyfriend, who is black, the majority of characters appear to be white; Harper has cerebral palsy.

This nuanced sequel offers new perspectives and emphasizes the value and complexity of both sibling and romantic relationships. (map) (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68119-511-7

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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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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