Even readers on their own 14th rereads of the series will find new insights to ponder.

DUMBLEDORE

THE LIFE AND LIES OF HOGWARTS'S RENOWNED HEADMASTER: AN UNOFFICIAL EXPLORATION

Albus Dumbledore: saintly mentor and protector of young wizards or ruthless Machiavellian manipulator?

In this edition of a previously self-published collection of essays gathered from his columns on the fan website MuggleNet, Khaytman spins hints in the texts and purely speculative notions together into a broad view of what Hogwarts’ headmaster knew, when he knew it, and what he did about it in his campaign to quash He Who Must Not Be Named. Even though he opens with a key to the jargon, readers who can’t keep SS (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) separate from QA (Quidditch Through the Ages) or easily distinguish Quirrellmort from Cupcrux will struggle to keep up as he minutely analyzes Dumbledore’s influence in events through each of the seven original HPs in turn. Khaytman writes that he reread the series 14 times but freely acknowledges ideas contributed by fellow fan critics both as he goes and, in greater detail, in an annotated bibliography. In the end, though, some of what Dumbledore did—or what he surmises Dumbledore must have done—creates a dilemma for readers, and the author ultimately leaves him, for all his scheming ways and imperfections, on the side of the angels. Dumbledore’s sexuality does not come up nor, aside from a reference drawn from DH to his character’s being “white as his beard,” does his race. Three appendices further explore the canon.

Even readers on their own 14th rereads of the series will find new insights to ponder. (Literary criticism. 13-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-948174-78-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Media Lab Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

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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A dark and enthralling journey.

VESPERTINE

In a land threatened by violent spirits, a girl with a haunted past unleashes an ancient entity from a holy relic and strikes a deal for the power to save her home.

Ever since the Sorrow, the dead no longer pass on peacefully. Without the intervention of the Clerisy of the Gray Lady, they roam as destructive spirits. Artemisia of Naimes, gifted with the ability to see the spirits, never intends to leave her convent, where the walls protect her from possession and (Lady forbid) social interaction. Her plans crumble when a group of possessed soldiers attack her home. Reluctantly, Artemisia unseals a legendary relic, binding herself to a revenant, an undead being with immense power. Untrained in controlling spirits and desperate to protect her home, she bargains with the revenant to help her. Amid escalating danger and an unfolding mystery, Rogerson unveils a grim and intriguing world with a rich, plot-relevant history inspired by late-medieval France. In addition to the White protagonist, the narration describes several secondary characters with brown skin; the revenant is identified as “it,” while human characters in this world adhere to a gender binary. Artemisia experiences dynamic character growth as her understandings of trauma, history, and morality shift. Although she remains socially avoidant, she learns to value friendship. A satisfying but open-ended resolution demands for the story to continue.

A dark and enthralling journey. (glossary) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-7711-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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