A sequel that delivers on the worldbuilding set up by its predecessor.

UNTETHERED

From the Shielded series , Vol. 2

The royal families of Hálendi and Turia come together once more to fight against the threat of ancient mages who seek to control the entire Plateau in this sequel to Shielded (2020).

A royal wedding in the neighboring kingdom of Riiga proves to be a trap designed to lure the kings of both Hálendi and Turia, but the newly crowned King Ren of Hálendi manages to evade it. Meanwhile, Princess Chiara of Turia, herself possessing no magic, formulates a plan to find her kidnapped father and prove herself useful to her family. Ren volunteers to go after her and agrees to help her with her quest. In the process, they discover that what the mages are really after are the keys to the mythical Black Library, which contains long-hidden powerful artifacts and records of ancient mages’ knowledge—and that they will use any means at their disposal to find these keys and the location of the library itself. This sequel introduces welcome new characters as well as bringing Jenna, Enzo, and Mari back into the fold, and the villains become more developed characters. While slow to start, the adventure shifts back into gear in the second half with plenty of action sequences amid the chaste, blooming romance that develops between Ren and Chiara. Characters’ skin tones range from pale to olive.

A sequel that delivers on the worldbuilding set up by its predecessor. (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: July 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11857-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 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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An entertaining fantasy set in a world that readers will want to revisit.

THESE HOLLOW VOWS

Brie risks the deadly land of the Fae to save her sister.

Brie doesn’t trust many people other than Jas, her eternally hopeful sister, and Sebastian, mage apprentice and Brie’s secret love (as if she had time for romance). Brie struggles to meet the payments for the magical contracts binding their lives to Madame Vivias, supplementing her cleaning work by stealing from the rich. While the land of Faerie tempts other girls with word of a castle, a lavish ball, and a fae prince seeking a wife, Brie mistrusts the creatures who capitalize on humanity’s greed. When Jas’ contract is sold to the fae, Brie braves the golden Seelie queen’s court, meets the noble Prince Ronan, and travels on to the Unseelie king’s shadow court. In the process she discovers love, historical secrets, atrocities, and her own hidden strength. While many elements regarding the fae and a love triangle will feel familiar to fans of the genre, and the magic could have been more fleshed out, discussions of power, inequity, trust, and hope expand the worldbuilding in refreshing ways. Similarly, consideration of the balance between truth and secrets, lies and stories, is intriguing as it’s applied to characters, relationships, and historical lore. Despite certain predictable reveals, the plot itself, which starts off slowly, picks up and is pleasantly convoluted with multiple satisfying surprises. Major human characters read as White.

An entertaining fantasy set in a world that readers will want to revisit. (Fantasy. 13-16)

Pub Date: July 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-38657-5

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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