Readers will breathlessly anticipate their next venture into this exquisite world.

DARK SKIES

From the Dark Shores series , Vol. 2

An infernal threat rises in the west in this story that takes place concurrently with Dark Shores (2019).

Roguish Killian, son of a High Lord, has been marked by the god of war; under his command, trickery allows the enemy Derin (who worship the sinister Seventh god) to breech Mudamora. Killian is saved from execution by the king’s daughter, who claims him as her sworn sword—and brings him into her conspiracy to depose her inept father and save their kingdom from Derin’s foul magic. Meanwhile, Lydia navigates the political landscape of Celendrial, where her adopted status makes her position perilous. Her story begins slightly before Teriana’s arrival, continuing until her fateful encounter with Marcus—who has been ordered to kill her—before a leap of faith brings her to Mudamora’s capital, which is under an increasingly desperate siege. The magical elements of the story—from the miraculous works of the marked to disgusting blight and abominations—are seamlessly woven with storylines comparing the plight of common people to the complicated political games the powerful play. Responsibility is the grounding theme that unites the protagonists in their heroic strivings; trauma and the fully rounded characters’ emotional vulnerabilities take their tolls. Readers will be delighted both by further exploring the expertly crafted world and the story’s twists. Lydia is fair-skinned, Killian olive-skinned; race isn’t significant in this diverse world.

Readers will breathlessly anticipate their next venture into this exquisite world. (Fantasy. 12-adult)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-31776-6

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Tor Teen

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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A must-read with a conclusion that will leave readers craving more.

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THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS

A monster spreads madness through the streets of Shanghai.

It is the autumn of 1926, and Shanghai is poised at the brink of transformation. Foreign powers have carved out portions of the city for themselves; what remains is divided between two feuding gangs, the Chinese Scarlet Gang and the Russian White Flowers. Eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai has returned home from New York City, wreathed in a reputation for ruthlessness and ready to step into her role as heir to the Scarlet Gang. Four years ago, a betrayal by the White Flowers heir, Roma Montagov, a young man of 19, led to the deaths of countless Scarlets, and Juliette is determined to avenge her gang. But when a lethal contagion strikes the city, targeting Scarlets and White Flowers alike, Juliette and Roma grudgingly agree to cooperate on an investigation in order to save their city. The slow-burning romance in this book takes a back seat to the gripping mystery grounded in immersive historical detail. Allusions to Romeo and Juliet are evident in names and specific scenes, but familiar themes of family, loyalty, and identity bear new significance in Gong’s inventive adaptation. Language is a tool wielded deftly by the multilingual characters, who switch easily among English, French, Shanghainese, Russian, and more, with Mandarin as the primary dialect for Chinese phrases. A strong supporting cast that includes a trans girl completes this striking debut.

A must-read with a conclusion that will leave readers craving more. (Historical fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5769-0

Page Count: 464

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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A rare second volume that surpasses the first, with, happily, more intrigue and passion still to come.

THE WICKED KING

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 2

A heady blend of courtly double-crossing, Faerie lore, and toxic attraction swirls together in the sequel to The Cruel Prince (2018).

Five months after engineering a coup, human teen Jude is starting to feel the strain of secretly controlling King Cardan and running his Faerie kingdom. Jude’s self-loathing and anger at the traumatic events of her childhood (her Faerie “dad” killed her parents, and Faerie is not a particularly easy place even for the best-adjusted human) drive her ambition, which is tempered by her desire to make the world she loves and hates a little fairer. Much of the story revolves around plotting (the Queen of the Undersea wants the throne; Jude’s Faerie father wants power; Jude’s twin, Taryn, wants her Faerie betrothed by her side), but the underlying tension—sexual and political—between Jude and Cardan also takes some unexpected twists. Black’s writing is both contemporary and classic; her world is, at this point, intensely well-realized, so that some plot twists seem almost inevitable. Faerie is a strange place where immortal, multihued, multiformed denizens can’t lie but can twist everything; Jude—who can lie—is an outlier, and her first-person, present-tense narration reveals more than she would choose. With curly dark brown hair, Jude and Taryn are never identified by race in human terms.

A rare second volume that surpasses the first, with, happily, more intrigue and passion still to come. (map) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-31035-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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