The unusual, satisfyingly indulgent conclusion will leave fans emotionally satiated.

CLOCKWORK PRINCESS

From the Infernal Devices series , Vol. 3

Politics, clockworks and epic angst complete this slow but satisfying finale to The Infernal Devices trilogy.

Tessa is in love with both her fiance, Jem, and his parabatai—shield brother—Will. As this Victorian trilogy draws to a close, there’s politics and plotting aplenty, but the trio, each member of which adores the other two wholeheartedly, is preoccupied with its own schmaltzy romance. (Will’s Byronic, self-loathing man-pain is palpable enough to practically be a character in its own right.) Despite the florid drama of their triangle, they successfully fight both internal Shadowhunter politics and the moustache-twirling villain Mortmain. Chapter epigraphs from Poe, Milton, Saint Augustine and more introduce grandiloquent prose peppered with Latin, Welsh and Mandarin, sometimes untranslated, but there’s plenty of substance mixed in with the bombast. The trio’s voices often make way for those of the found family comprising the Shadowhunters of the London Institute: the shamed and love-struck Lightwood brothers, Will’s determined sister Cecily, maternal Charlotte, warlike former victim Sophie. This loving if dysfunctional collective comes together for Clare’s trademark climactic battle, cinematic as always. Clare loyalists will be pleased by connections to the contemporary Mortal Instruments series.

The unusual, satisfyingly indulgent conclusion will leave fans emotionally satiated. (Steampunk. 13-17)

Pub Date: March 19, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4169-7590-8

Page Count: 592

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2013

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A derivative mess.

ASHFALL LEGACY

A half alien teenager sets out for the stars in search of his missing dad.

In what rapidly devolves into a jumble of well-worn science-fiction tropes and typecast settings glued together by adolescent behavior and muddy thinking, the story follows 16-year-old Sydney, who has been on the lam with his gun-toting default-White human mom for 10 years. Syd meets and agrees to join his alien uncle on a training voyage to planet Denza, where he can take classes at the local star fleet academy and find his father, who vanished on an exploratory voyage years before. Syd discovers that all humans become super strong and super tough when they leave Earth—but die when they return. Might his father have come upon a cure hidden among the relics of a…wait for it…mysterious race of vanished galactic overlords? In his typically unsubtle way, the pseudonymous Lore chucks discrimination into the mix too—being a “mutt,” as one hostile shipmate put it, Syd gets a decidedly mixed reception from the specist Denzans, and a fellow hybrid angrily informs him that she identifies as human. Before arbitrarily cutting off midway through, the climax collapses into a glutinous mass of revelations including the fate of Syd’s father and the nature of the aforementioned overlords. Oh, and there are space monsters and a magic ring.

A derivative mess. (Science fiction. 14-17)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-284536-8

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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Part exciting adventure, part thoughtful coming-of-age novel, this story retells and overturns familiar tropes.

SIX CRIMSON CRANES

From the Six Crimson Cranes series , Vol. 1

Girl meets magic. Hijinks ensue.

Shiori’anma, Princess of Kiata and eldest daughter of Emperor Hanariho, is the intrepid protagonist in this folktale retelling. About to turn 17 and be married off to a third-rank barbarian lord, Shiori desperately looks for ways out of the engagement. Her emerging talents in forbidden magic and a run-in with a young shape-shifting dragon help to pass the time before she is doomed to relocate to the cold North. Things take an even worse turn, however, when she uncovers her stepmother’s secrets. As a consequence, her six brothers are cursed into assuming the form of cranes by day. Shiori is whisked away and coerced into silence, for every word that escapes her lips will mean the death of one of her brothers. She must learn to survive on her own and use her wits and hard-won experience to save both her family and country. Readers here revisit the East Asian–inspired world established in Lim’s The Blood of Stars duology. Despite a few hiccups in the logic of the magic, the author cleverly maintains the basic structure of this well-known European folktale type while weaving in rich elements of Asian mythology, including dragon pearls and the goddess of the moon. The exploration of complicated family dynamics is a particular strength, especially the challenging of the evil stepmother cliché.

Part exciting adventure, part thoughtful coming-of-age novel, this story retells and overturns familiar tropes. (map) (Fantasy. 13-17)

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30091-6

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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