Though this series entry moves somewhat slowly, newly discovered mysteries about this fantasyland's history—not to mention...

THE CROWN OF EMBERS

From the Girl of Fire and Thorns series , Vol. 2

Intelligent and thoughtful Elisa must negotiate diplomacy, religion and personal desire.

Her Majesty Queen Lucero-Elisa became sole ruler of Joya d'Arena through luck (both good and bad), wise strategic decisions and the holy magic of the Godstone embedded in her navel (The Girl of Fire and Thorns, 2011). Keeping her kingdom, on the other hand, will require diplomacy, political acumen, mercy—and deception. Elisa must fight everything from assassination attempts to rioting mobs, all while defending her country against the terrifying foreign sorcerers with "pale peach" skin and "hair the syrupy gold of honey," who only recently brought fiery destruction on her nation's capital. Elisa, deeply pragmatic and deeply religious, is required repeatedly to make intelligent, unselfish choices for the good of her nation. The lush details of this magical world are thoroughly intertwined with the profound religious faith of both heroes and villains, where each revelation leads to a crack in Elisa's worldview. Those who find no YA fantasy complete without a steamy romance will be thrilled by Elisa's growing passion for her best friend and closest adviser—who is, of course, completely off-limits.

Though this series entry moves somewhat slowly, newly discovered mysteries about this fantasyland's history—not to mention the torments of unresolved sexual tension—will have readers clamoring for volume three . (Fantasy. 13-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-202651-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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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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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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