A new, magical world full of rich folklore and hitting all the right notes.

BALLAD & DAGGER

From the Outlaw Saints series , Vol. 1

A striking adventure in a secret world.

Sixteen-year-old Mateo Matisse now calls Brooklyn home, but that’s not where he was born. He’s originally from San Madrigal, a Caribbean island that was kept hidden from history books and maps. Finally, it sank as mysteriously as it had first erupted from the ocean. Feeling caught in between two worlds among the other San Madrigalero diaspora folks in the tightknit community that has formed in New York City, he is thrust headfirst into his community’s dark secrets when, during a night of celebration, he sees Chela Hidalgo, his crush and the daughter of a rabbi, murder someone. Soon after, Mateo discovers he is more pivotal to the future of the people of San Madrigal and the island itself than he ever realized. This first entry for YA readers from Rick Riordan Presents offers the same heart and adventure that work so well in the imprint’s middle-grade titles, with the addition of Older’s finely tuned teenage voice and worldbuilding details that will make readers long for a place that feels believable enough to be real. The first book of the duology ends on a satisfying note, leaving readers excited for the conclusion. The population of San Madrigal, which avoided colonization and never had slavery, is descended from West African, European Jewish, and Indigenous peoples.

A new, magical world full of rich folklore and hitting all the right notes. (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-368-07082-9

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents/Disney

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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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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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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