A lush and lively adventure replete with romance, revenge, and robbery.


Part heist, part heart-wrenching coming-of-age novel, this is a new take on “The Goose Girl.”

An incorrigible thief, 17-year-old Vanja Schmidt’s biggest theft was her mistress’s life. Displacing Kör-prinzessin Gisele, soon-to-be Markgräfinvon Reigenbach, after arriving in Bóern, Vanja has been masquerading as both Gisele and Greta, the maid, using her newfound access to steal from the elite as the Pfennigeist (Penny Phantom). Sick of being a servant and repeatedly abandoned—first by her mother, then by her adoptive goddess godmothers, Death and Fortune—Vanja’s saving up for her escape from the Blessed Empire of Almandy, hoping to outrun Gisele, her thefts, the law, and the gods. Revenge against abusive aristocrats is a bonus. But the stakes rise, the countdown starts, and tension builds as a goddess curses Vanja, the zealous young investigator Junior Prefect Emeric Conrad arrives, and the predatory margrave Adalbrecht returns from battle to rush Gisele into marriage. Irreverent toward immortals and fiercely independent, Vanja must make alliances, apologies, and amends if she wants to survive. Romantic entanglements and malevolent magic complicate matters further. In this vaguely early modern Germanic setting, Vanja and many characters read as White. Pivoting from her innovative Merciful Crow series to retell an often revisited fairy tale, Owen delivers a cynical, sarcastic, devious, damaged, and self-aware antihero, a climactic crime caper, and a twisty legal-political thriller.

A lush and lively adventure replete with romance, revenge, and robbery. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-19190-8

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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Fans of empowering feminist fairy-tale retellings will love this.


From the Grimrose Girls series , Vol. 1

Four reimagined fairy-tale heroines must confront their inner demons to break a curse.

Ella, Yuki, and Rory attend the prestigious Grimrose Académie for Elite Students in the Swiss Alps. They are currently grieving the death of one of their best friends, and while Ari’s death by drowning has been deemed either an accident or suicide, her closest friends have their doubts. When they find an old book of fairy tales hidden in Ari’s things, full of strange annotations in her handwriting, the girls start working—along with new student Nani—to investigate Ari’s suspicious death. As they put together the pieces and discover other deaths that happened at Grimrose, they start to wonder if there was magic involved in Ari’s death—magic that may also be at the core of their very lives, cursing them to unhappy endings. Grief, identity, and friendship intersect in this enthralling mystery with dark magical undertones that ingeniously plays with fairy-tale tropes to tell a feminist story about empowerment and grappling with how to break away from the confines of societal expectations of girls. Reminiscent of the works of Anna-Marie McLemore and Elana K. Arnold, this book ends with the promise of more to come. The main cast is queer and features diversity in disability and mental health. Rory and Ella default to White; Yuki’s name cues her as Japanese, and Nani is Black and Native Hawaiian.

Fans of empowering feminist fairy-tale retellings will love this. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72822-887-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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

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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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