The unusual, satisfyingly indulgent conclusion will leave fans emotionally satiated.

CLOCKWORK PRINCESS

From the Infernal Devices series , Vol. 3

Politics, clockworks and epic angst complete this slow but satisfying finale to The Infernal Devices trilogy.

Tessa is in love with both her fiance, Jem, and his parabatai—shield brother—Will. As this Victorian trilogy draws to a close, there’s politics and plotting aplenty, but the trio, each member of which adores the other two wholeheartedly, is preoccupied with its own schmaltzy romance. (Will’s Byronic, self-loathing man-pain is palpable enough to practically be a character in its own right.) Despite the florid drama of their triangle, they successfully fight both internal Shadowhunter politics and the moustache-twirling villain Mortmain. Chapter epigraphs from Poe, Milton, Saint Augustine and more introduce grandiloquent prose peppered with Latin, Welsh and Mandarin, sometimes untranslated, but there’s plenty of substance mixed in with the bombast. The trio’s voices often make way for those of the found family comprising the Shadowhunters of the London Institute: the shamed and love-struck Lightwood brothers, Will’s determined sister Cecily, maternal Charlotte, warlike former victim Sophie. This loving if dysfunctional collective comes together for Clare’s trademark climactic battle, cinematic as always. Clare loyalists will be pleased by connections to the contemporary Mortal Instruments series.

The unusual, satisfyingly indulgent conclusion will leave fans emotionally satiated. (Steampunk. 13-17)

Pub Date: March 19, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4169-7590-8

Page Count: 592

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2013

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Bound to be popular.

AN EMBER IN THE ASHES

From the Ember in the Ashes series , Vol. 1

A suddenly trendy trope—conflict and romance between members of conquering and enslaved races—enlivened by fantasy elements loosely drawn from Arabic tradition (another trend!).

In an original, well-constructed fantasy world (barring some lazy naming), the Scholars have lived under Martial rule for 500 years, downtrodden and in many cases enslaved. Scholar Laia has spent a lifetime hiding her connection to the Resistance—her parents were its leaders—but when her grandparents are killed and her brother’s captured by Masks, the eerie, silver-faced elite soldiers of the Martial Empire, Laia must go undercover as a slave to the terrifying Commandant of Blackcliff Military Academy, where Martials are trained for battle. Meanwhile, Elias, the Commandant’s not-at-all-beloved son, wants to run away from Blackcliff, until he is named an Aspirant for the throne by the mysterious red-eyed Augurs. Predictably, action, intrigue, bloodshed and some pounding pulses follow; there’s betrayal and a potential love triangle or two as well. Sometimes-lackluster prose and a slight overreliance on certain kinds of sexual violence as a threat only slightly diminish the appeal created by familiar (but not predictable) characters and a truly engaging if not fully fleshed-out fantasy world.

Bound to be popular. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: April 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-59514-803-2

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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Full of drama, emotional turmoil, and high stakes.

FIREBORNE

From the Aurelian Cycle series , Vol. 1

What happens to the world after the dust from a revolution has settled?

Friends Annie and Lee were children from very different circles when Atreus killed Lee’s father, dragonlord Leon Stormscourge, ending the uprising on the bloodiest day in Callipolis’ history. For too long the dragonriders held all the power while their people starved and lived in fear. Nine years later, a new generation of dragonriders is emerging, children selected and trained on merit, not bloodlines. Their dragons are finally mature enough for them to compete for Firstrider, a position of power that can give Lee back a small part of what his family lost. However, not only is Lee competing against Annie, but rumors are circulating that some of the royal family have survived and have dragons of their own. Everyone will have to make a choice: Restore the old regime, support the First Protector and the new caste system he created, or look for a new way, no matter what the cost. From the beginning, this book pulls readers in with political intrigue and action. What keeps them invested, however, are the complex relationships between many cast members. Choices are complex, and the consequences for all could be deadly. The world is well fleshed out and believable. Annie and Lee are light skinned; secondary characters are diverse, and race is a nonissue in this world.

Full of drama, emotional turmoil, and high stakes. (author’s note) (Fantasy.14-17)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51821-1

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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