ELIXIR

Ludicrous wish-fulfillment trappings surround immortality, gore and passion. Wealthy, famous teen Clea (homeschooled, but seemingly only so the text can ignore schooling entirely) travels internationally on professional, merit-earned photojournalism assignments. Her senator mother and perfect pal Rayna (gorgeous and unfailingly supportive) can’t make up for the disappearance and presumed death of Clea’s father (“the most renowned heart surgeon in the world”). After Clea discovers a magnetic man brooding in every photo she takes—sometimes impossibly, like suspended in the air—nightmares about dad become whirlwind dream romances with the brooder. In each dream, she’s a woman from the past and dies violently. Pragmatists, stay away: Clea meets Sage (the brooder) and has sex with him while still unsure whether he’s her timeless soulmate or personal serial murderer. When they realize he can prevent her destined bloody death only by committing suicide himself, she faces a choice familiar to genre readers. Nice-guy supporters will resent the bum rap Duff gives to Ben, Clea’s other admirer, but they’re the wrong audience for this purple, obsessive, murderrific series opener. (Paranormal romance/horror. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0853-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist.

LOCK THE DOORS

A blended family seeks a fresh start in a new home.

Tom’s mother believes that the family may have finally found happiness. After years of dating losers, she’s finally settled down with a nice guy—and that nice guy, Jay, happens to have a daughter, Nia, who is just a little older than Tom. The new family has moved into a nice new house, but Tom can’t shake the feeling that something’s wrong. They discover a strange message written on the wall when they are stripping the old wallpaper, and there’s clear evidence that the previous owners had installed locks on the exteriors of the bedroom doors. Those previous owners happen to live a little farther down the street, and Tom quickly becomes obsessed with their teenage daughter, Amy, and the secrets she’s hiding. This obsession unfortunately becomes a repetitive slog involving many pages of Tom’s brooding and sulking over the same bits of information while everyone tells him to move on. Readers will be on everyone’s side. But then, a blessed breath of fresh air: The perspective shifts to Amy, and readers learn in spectacularly propulsive fashion exactly what she’s hiding. Regret and intrigue blend perfectly as Amy divulges her secrets. Alas, we return to navel-gazing Tom for the book’s final pages, and everything ends with a shrug. Main characters default to White.

A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72823-189-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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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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