As decadent and delicious as it is dense.

QUEEN OF VOLTS

From the Shadow Game series , Vol. 3

Foody lays all the cards on the table as New Reynes’ power players, from crime lords to politicians, play a final, deadly game in this trilogy conclusion.

In this sequel to King of Fools (2019), the curse holding the Shadow Game together is broken, and malison Bryce is using his shade-making blood talent to replace it with a new curse game in a gambit designed to draw in a notorious figure of New Reynes legend, the Bargainer, as a last-ditch effort at saving the life of his lover, Rebecca. It’s an elaborate game of Assassin, in which each of the 22 participants finds a name written on the back of a special Shadow Game card, specifying their target. The first to collect a chain of five cards wins, and anyone who doesn’t hold their assigned target’s card at the end of the game will die. Alongside the game, the true history of New Reynes and the Revolution—and Enne’s mysterious heritage—are among the secrets that unravel. At times, the sprawling plot (with many viewpoints) could use some pruning, but part of the charm is savoring the large number of well-rounded, shades-of-gray characters as they love, make mistakes, hurt, betray, and try to forgive each other. Relationships are particularly strong—familial, friendships, and romances both toxic and healthy; plentiful queer representation thwarts bisexual erasure in particular. As in previous volumes, the cast is racially diverse.

As decadent and delicious as it is dense. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-335-14586-4

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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

OUR VIOLENT ENDS

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.

THE GRIMROSE GIRLS

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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