This deft, nuanced examination of identity, destiny, and agency is a surprisingly tender addition to the Marvel canon.

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LOKI

WHERE MISCHIEF LIES

From the Marvel Universe YA series , Vol. 1

Lee (The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, 2018, etc.) weaves a compelling origin story for Marvel villain Loki.

Can a young Loki discover the identity of a magical assassin and avoid his own prophesied fate? The pale-skinned, black-haired Asgardian trickster has always lived in his blond, muscular brother Thor’s shadow. After their father, Odin, sees a vision of Loki leading an army of the dead against Asgard, he grows suspicious of his second son’s magical abilities. Years later, seeking to prove himself (and prove the prophecy wrong), Loki is sent to Earth to aid a London-based secret organization investigating a series of unusual magical deaths. To Loki, this is akin to being banished: Earth has no magic, and he must actually interact with humans. Yet before long, Loki’s distaste becomes curiosity, especially regarding pale, reddish-brown-haired Theo Bell, who walks with a cane. Loki learns that Theo is attracted to boys (but possibly not only boys), which in 19th-century London is a crime. Although Loki uses he/him/his pronouns, he says he exists as both man and woman and that Asgardians don’t care about the sex or gender of others’ partners, to which Theo responds wistfully. Their romance barely blossoms before Loki must make a choice that will shape his life forever.

This deft, nuanced examination of identity, destiny, and agency is a surprisingly tender addition to the Marvel canon. (Historical fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-02226-2

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Marvel Press

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic.

ALL OUR HIDDEN GIFTS

An Irish teen grapples with past misdeeds and newfound ties to magic.

When 16-year-old Maeve discovers a deck of tarot cards stashed with a mixtape of moody indie music from 1990, she starts giving readings for her classmates at her all-girls private school. Though her shame over dumping her strange friend Lily during an attempt to climb the social ladder at St. Bernadette’s is still palpable, it doesn’t stop her from trying to use the tarot in her favor to further this goal. However, after speaking harsh words to Lily during a reading, Maeve is horrified when her former friend later disappears. As she struggles to understand the forces at play within her, classmate Fiona proves to be just the friend Maeve needs. Detailed, interesting characters carry this contemporary story of competing energy and curses. Woven delicately throughout are chillingly eerie depictions of the Housekeeper, a figure who shows up on an extra card in the deck, echoing the White Lady legend from Irish folklore. Even more disturbing is an organization of young people led by a homophobic but charismatic figurehead intent on provoking backlash against Ireland’s recent civil rights victories. Most characters are White; Fiona is biracial, with a Filipina mother and White Irish father. Roe, Maeve’s love interest and Lily’s sibling, is a bisexual, genderqueer person who is a target for intolerance in their small city of Kilbeg.

An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic. (Paranormal. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1394-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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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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