Fans of the first volume will be pleased with this duology closer.

NAMESAKE

From the Fable series , Vol. 2

A young woman unravels her hidden past and finds her true family and home in this sequel to Fable (2020).

Fable had believed that the treasure she salvaged for her crewmates would be enough to free them from her father, the sinister trader Saint. But now she’s a prisoner, delivered across the sea to an even more ruthless adversary: her fabulously wealthy and powerful grandmother. The only way out is to use her skill and magic to locate a legendary gemstone that may not even exist. This sequel barely pauses for breath before plunging immediately into a convoluted plot dense with romance, political intrigue, seafaring adventure, double- and triple-crosses, and graphic, bloody violence. While all this should be gripping, it too often fizzles into anticlimax. Still, the poetic, sensual prose creates a richly imagined maritime world, grim and cruel but also occasionally wondrous, diverse in culture, class, and sexuality. The first-person narrative is so deeply immersed in Fable’s perpetually angry, desperately affection-starved perspective that it is a repeated shock to be reminded that those for whom she lies, cheats, and betrays are objectively horrible people—power-hungry criminals and stone-cold murderers—indistinguishable from the putative villains. The resolution may be rather trite, but it’s hard to begrudge a safe harbor after such a stormy passage.

Fans of the first volume will be pleased with this duology closer. (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-25439-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 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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A must-read with a conclusion that will leave readers craving more.

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THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS

A monster spreads madness through the streets of Shanghai.

It is the autumn of 1926, and Shanghai is poised at the brink of transformation. Foreign powers have carved out portions of the city for themselves; what remains is divided between two feuding gangs, the Chinese Scarlet Gang and the Russian White Flowers. Eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai has returned home from New York City, wreathed in a reputation for ruthlessness and ready to step into her role as heir to the Scarlet Gang. Four years ago, a betrayal by the White Flowers heir, Roma Montagov, a young man of 19, led to the deaths of countless Scarlets, and Juliette is determined to avenge her gang. But when a lethal contagion strikes the city, targeting Scarlets and White Flowers alike, Juliette and Roma grudgingly agree to cooperate on an investigation in order to save their city. The slow-burning romance in this book takes a back seat to the gripping mystery grounded in immersive historical detail. Allusions to Romeo and Juliet are evident in names and specific scenes, but familiar themes of family, loyalty, and identity bear new significance in Gong’s inventive adaptation. Language is a tool wielded deftly by the multilingual characters, who switch easily among English, French, Shanghainese, Russian, and more, with Mandarin as the primary dialect for Chinese phrases. A strong supporting cast that includes a trans girl completes this striking debut.

A must-read with a conclusion that will leave readers craving more. (Historical fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5769-0

Page Count: 464

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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