An expertly crafted introduction to a new series of magic and adventure.

THE BRIDES OF MARACOOR

A mysterious young woman washes up on the shore of a secluded island in the first of a new trilogy from Wicked author Maguire.

There are always seven Brides of Maracoor, no more, no less. They live their entire lives in seclusion on their island, Maracoor Spot, where every day they go down to the water and weave their nets, a ritual that divides time into the well-ordered daily segments that allow civilization to function. Each year the Minor Adjutant, currently a bureaucrat named Lucikles, arrives from the mainland nation of Maracoor Abiding to check on the brides and bring them a replacement baby girl if one of their number has died. But one day, a young woman with green skin washes up on their shores, her arm flung around a goose and her hand clutching a raggedy broom. Rain, the green girl, can’t remember much of anything about her life before she washed up on the beach, leaving the brides to discuss among themselves what to do with her. Maguire’s longtime fans will remember Rain from Out of Oz (2011), but even newcomers will instantly connect the dots between her green skin and her broom, and if that’s not enough there are those odd rumors of flying monkeys looking for a green girl. Maguire is setting up for a spinoff trilogy here, and the obviousness of Rain’s origins for readers new and old alike allows him to spend more time fully creating the world of Maracoor Abiding with wonderful attention to detail. Sketching out just enough about Rain to build momentum for Book 2, this first installment does excellent character work with the people around her, particularly with regard to the power struggles among the brides on their strange island, with their strange task of weaving time. The larger world of Maracoor Abiding, with its priestesslike brides, mysterious artifacts, and its own systems of magic, myth, and politics, has echoes of Greek mythology and looks to be fertile ground as a setting for more books.

An expertly crafted introduction to a new series of magic and adventure.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-309396-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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A sequel that repeats the mistakes of its predecessor while failing to break new ground.

THE LAST GRADUATE

A teenage witch with a natural affinity for dark magic prepares to run a deadly graduation gauntlet in this sequel to Novik's Deadly Education (2020).

Galadriel "El" Higgins has finally reached her senior year at the Scholomance, putting her one step closer to her ultimate goal: get back home or die trying. After getting a sneak peek at the monster-packed hallway she must survive if she wants to graduate, the witchy teen returns to her classes and cliques with scarcely more insight than before. El knows enough to realize that her mana stores are a fraction of what they should be—come graduation, she will lack the magical juice she needs to kill monsters and make it out alive. Her fake-dating relationship with Orion proves to be a lucky "in," netting her a new string of tenuous alliances as well as access to a wellspring of free mana. But what could be a compelling adventure story falls apart here, as the novel relies on relentless bouts of infodumping to keep readers up to speed on where the Scholomance's monsters come from and what they can do to unsuspecting students. None of these paragraphs-long blasts of information recount the details of El's last excursion, however, and so readers who have forgotten Novik's previous novel, or who have never read it at all, will find no springboard ready to help them dive into the author's newest offering. Those who stumble upon this volume risk being unmoored, as the narrative picks up immediately following the events of its predecessor, without stopping to introduce anything, including the narrator. Ultimately, El's seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of every monster in the school, combined with her continued refusal to enter into any genuine alliance with classmates, leaves readers to wonder what she could possibly have left to learn—or fear—in the Scholomance.

A sequel that repeats the mistakes of its predecessor while failing to break new ground.

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12886-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Del Rey

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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A deep and grimly whimsical exploration of what it means to be a son, a father, and an artist.

THE SWALLOWED MAN

A retelling of Pinocchio from Geppetto's point of view.

The novel purports to be the memoirs of Geppetto, a carpenter from the town of Collodi, written in the belly of a vast fish that has swallowed him. Fortunately for Geppetto, the fish has also engulfed a ship, and its supplies—fresh water, candles, hardtack, captain’s logbook, ink—are what keep the Swallowed Man going. (Collodi is, of course, the name of the author of the original Pinocchio.) A misfit whose loneliness is equaled only by his drive to make art, Geppetto scours his surroundings for supplies, crafting sculptures out of pieces of the ship’s wood, softened hardtack, mussel shells, and his own hair, half hoping and half fearing to create a companion once again that will come to life. He befriends a crab that lives all too briefly in his beard, then mourns when “she” dies. Alone in the dark, he broods over his past, reflecting on his strained relationship with his father and his harsh treatment of his own “son”—Pinocchio, the wooden puppet that somehow came to life. In true Carey fashion, the author illustrates the novel with his own images of his protagonist’s art: sketches of Pinocchio, of woodworking tools, of the women Geppetto loved; photos of driftwood, of tintypes, of a sculpted self-portrait with seaweed hair. For all its humor, the novel is dark and claustrophobic, and its true subject is the responsibilities of creators. Remembering the first time he heard of the sea monster that was to swallow him, Geppetto wonders if the monster is somehow connected to Pinocchio: “The unnatural child had so thrown the world off-balance that it must be righted at any cost, and perhaps the only thing with the power to right it was a gigantic sea monster, born—I began to suppose this—just after I cracked the world by making a wooden person.” Later, contemplating his self-portrait bust, Geppetto asks, “Monster of the deep. Am I, then, the monster? Do I nightmare myself?”

A deep and grimly whimsical exploration of what it means to be a son, a father, and an artist.

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-18887-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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