A slow-burning, introspective end to an emotionally powerful duology.

STEELSTRIKER

From the Skyhunter series , Vol. 2

A group of young rebels struggle against tyrannical forces in this sequel to Skyhunter (2020).

Resuming the tale shortly after the fall of Mara, the last nation that had been holding out against the murderous Karensa Federation, the story is vividly told in the first person alternating between Talin’s and Red’s perspectives. Talin, who uses sign language to communicate, has now been forced by the deeply evil Premier Constantine, as Red was, to become a Skyhunter, with huge metal wings grafted onto her body, steel armor implanted under her skin, and her emotions accessible to him. Constantine uses the threat of ending her mother’s life—he holds her captive—to control Talin, thus ending her ability to work with her friends against Karensa. The menacing Constantine is an effective villain whom readers will rail against as Talin and Red slowly discover the complicated web of burgeoning resistance and betrayal that exists in the bleak new world they inhabit. Detailed sabotage plots, action-laden fights, and even some romance are interspersed, but Talin’s psychologically taut internal battle against Constantine’s suffocating control is front and center throughout. The novel wraps up with a satisfying conclusion. The first novel noted characters’ differing skin tones; there are several secondary characters who are queer.

A slow-burning, introspective end to an emotionally powerful duology. (map) (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-22172-8

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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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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