A lush, captivating blend of The Phantom of the Opera and fresh, new magic.

WHERE DREAMS DESCEND

From the Kingdom of Cards series , Vol. 1

In a world where men dominate the stage, Kallia is determined to win a magicians’ contest.

Kallia is the showgirl magician star at Hellfire House, descending each night from a chandelier and inspiring awe in patrons. It’s the only home she’s known; she was left in the cursed Dire Woods as a baby. Club master Jack favors her above all others and acts as her mentor. Despite this, Kallia feels called to Glorian, the city beyond the cursed woods surrounding them, where she’s learned of a competition for magicians. Jack won’t hear of it, but when Kallia discovers he has been lying to her, she can no longer stomach staying put. She arrives in a city that’s colder and less friendly than she’d imagined and barely makes it into the competition. Soon she’s a controversial star, wowing the audience and inspiring ire in the judges in equal measure. But as her confidence grows, so does her fear of Jack’s returning and taking all of it away. When horrible things begin to befall competitors, Kallia’s caught in the middle. Glorian is awash with stunning scenery and spectacle, and Kallia enchants as a flawed and fiery lead, armed with tricks and witty banter. As the romantic tension ratchets up, so deepen the mysteries. Readers will ache for the next installment. Most characters seem to be White; Kallia is brown skinned.

A lush, captivating blend of The Phantom of the Opera and fresh, new magic. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20435-6

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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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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