An essential tome for die-hard Star Wars fans, although others will find much to enjoy.

STAR WARS THE HIGH REPUBLIC

OUT OF THE SHADOWS

As the dastardly Nihil inflict turmoil and bloodshed in the Outer Rim, the Republic and Jedi Order scramble to eliminate the space pirates and bring peace to the galaxy.

Rumors abound of ships forced out of hyperspace into realspace and then disappearing; the Nihil threat, it seems, is growing bolder and fiercer. Following the mysterious death of her mother, 18-year-old Sylvestri Yarrow is struggling to survive as a hauler. Then the Nihil launch a sudden attack on her ship in the Berenge sector, a rarely traveled part of space. Fleeing to Coruscant to alert the Republic, Syl falls into a political quagmire involving one of the wealthiest families in the galaxy as well as the strangely coveted Berenge sector, which might be crucial to the Nihil’s hyperspace disruptions. The whole ordeal pulls a quartet of Jedi into the mix: Jedi Master Cohmac Vitus; his Padawan, Reath Silas; Jedi Knight Vernestra Rwoh; and her Padawan, Imri Cantaros. Meanwhile, concerns over the Order’s involvement with the Republic in its campaign against the Nihil plague the four Jedis. Containing a dizzying number of overarching storylines and characters, this latest installment set in the High Republic era nonetheless excels, with enough political intrigue and intricate thrills once it yanks its disparate threads together. Per usual, Ireland’s firm grasp of this universe keeps it all from running amok.

An essential tome for die-hard Star Wars fans, although others will find much to enjoy. (timeline) (Science fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: July 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-06065-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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A slow-burn romance but a burnout of a plot.

WILD IS THE WITCH

A young witch unintentionally releases a fatal curse in this frenemies-to-lovers romance.

The Foggy Mountain Wildlife Refuge on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula is the perfect place for Iris Gray and her mother, who, as witches, have a special affinity for helping animals but keep their magic secret. College intern Pike Alder, who assists at the sanctuary, has an incredible talent for getting under Iris’ skin and freely expresses his intense dislike and mistrust of witches. When she reaches her boiling point with his arrogance, Iris comes up with a spell to work through her frustration. Unfortunately, her magic goes awry, and the curse that should have burned away without impact instead goes into an injured owl that takes flight, leaving the sanctuary behind. With Pike accompanying her for safety at her mother’s insistence, Iris sets out into the forest to find the owl; if it dies before Iris can reverse the spell, the curse could burn Pike alive. The Pacific Northwest rainforest setting is palpable as the two trek through the backcountry in search of the owl, and their banter moves the story forward as romantic feelings start to build. Unfortunately, Iris’ repetitive internal dialogue, always reminding readers of the stakes, lessens any tension and makes subsequent scenes feel inevitable. Characters are cued as White.

A slow-burn romance but a burnout of a plot. (Fantasy romance. 13-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72822-945-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends.

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RED QUEEN

From the Red Queen series , Vol. 1

Amid a war and rising civil unrest, a young thief discovers the shocking power within her that sparks a revolution.

At 17, Mare knows that without an apprenticeship or job, her next birthday will bring a conscription to join the war. She contributes to her poor family’s income the only way she can, stealing from the Silvers, who possess myriad powers and force her and her fellow Reds into servitude. The Silvers literally bleed silver, and they can manipulate metal, plants and animals, among many other talents. When Mare’s best friend, Kilorn, loses his job and is doomed to conscription, she is determined to change his fate. She stumbles into a mysterious stranger after her plan goes awry and is pulled out of her village and into the world of Silver royalty. Once inside the palace walls, it isn’t long before Mare learns that powers unknown to red-blooded humans lie within her, powers that could lead a revolution. Familiar tropes abound. Mare is revealed as a great catalyst for change among classes and is groomed from rags to riches, and of course, seemingly kind characters turn out to be foes. However, Aveyard weaves a compelling new world, and Mare and the two men in her life evolve intriguingly as class tension rises. Revolution supersedes romance, setting the stage for action-packed surprises.

An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-231063-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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