Enthralling magic-and-crime escapism.


From the Shadow Game series , Vol. 2

Following Ace of Shades (2018), Enne and Levi delve deeply into the politics of New Reynes.

The brush with the Phoenix Club leaves Enne vowing to avenge her mother and Levi determined to rebuild himself into legend—but first, they both must contend with the Augustine crime Family. Vianca Augustine orders Enne to help secure the election of the monarchist candidate in the senate election and to embrace her new street lord notoriety as Séance in starting her own street gang. Rookie Enne insists on doing it her way, maintaining her prim decorum and recruiting fellow girls (like gothic-styled Grace), which results in female friendship and not-terribly-subtle empowerment themes. Levi’s been offered a way out from under Vianca’s thumb and secretly works to support her estranged son’s candidacy—at the price of keeping his distance from Enne (so that Vianca can’t use them against each other—though it frees him up for a dalliance with handsome Narinder), sending third narrator Jac, a recovering addict, into drug dens owned by the Torren Family. The dizzying number of moving plot parts results in a cascade of alliances, betrayals, and reversals as the sprawling cast has romances of various sexual orientations but also friendships and other bonds—and not all bonds survive. Enne, Jac, Grace, and the crime Families are White; Levi and Narinder are brown-skinned; the supporting cast has a range of skin tones.

Enthralling magic-and-crime escapism. (map) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: April 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-335-66134-0

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2020

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Star-crossed lovers carve their own paths in an explosive conclusion that lives up to its title.


From the These Violent Delights series , Vol. 2

New monsters terrorize Shanghai amid political upheaval and the reignition of the blood feud between the Chinese Scarlet Gang and the Russian White Flowers.

The death of Marshall Seo unleashed a new wave of violence, but when a mysterious figure wielding control over more deadly-insect–releasing monsters begins extorting money from both gangs, their leaders agree to temporarily cooperate in the interests of eliminating a mutual foe. They order their respective heirs to find the blackmailer, and so, once again, Roma Montagov and Juliette Cai must work together for the benefit of those under their protection. But their feelings for each other—complicated by hidden truths, lingering love, and unforgiving duty—prove difficult to repress. Meanwhile, the time of revolution draws near: Workers continue to organize protests decrying both foreign occupation and gangster rule as the Nationalist Army marches toward Shanghai in its campaign to unite and reclaim the country. Secrets abound and loyalties are tested in this tightly plotted sequel featuring a multinational cast and told through multiple third-person perspectives, including those of supporting characters introduced in These Violent Delights (2020). Stubborn Rosalind, obliging Kathleen, and grief-stricken Benedikt all return to play vital roles that blend seamlessly into Roma’s and Juliette’s storylines as they each are forced to consider what it is they truly want and the lengths they will go to protect it.

Star-crossed lovers carve their own paths in an explosive conclusion that lives up to its title. (Historical fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-534-45772-0

Page Count: 512

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 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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