A tepid sequel filled with angst, power grabs, and politics.

THE RISING TIDE

From the Fiery Spiral series , Vol. 2

A teen girl navigates a world that is new to her—and that she is tasked to save.

Sixteen-year-old Ebba is now an official Citizen of Table Island and one of the richest people there, more powerful than she ever could have imagined. Many are eager to take advantage of her naïveté. Her biggest challenges are figuring out how to leverage her wealth and power and make her farm more profitable in order to provide for more people than she anticipated—all while trying to find the four missing amulets that will prevent the coming of the second Calamity. But all Ebba really wants is to be happy and carefree with her first love, Micah, and the friends she grew up with. Plagued by secrets and a new source of insecurity in the form of a perceived rival in love, it’s uncertain whether Ebba will figure out to whom she can turn to help save herself and those she cares about. Set in a fantasy version of South Africa and featuring a multiethnic cast, Brain’s follow-up to The Thousand Steps (2019) is a weaker effort than its predecessor: Ebba is an underdeveloped protagonist whose recklessly impulsive and indecisive behavior may frustrate readers. Clunky transitions made it difficult to invest in the story, resulting in confusing, anticlimactic scenes.

A tepid sequel filled with angst, power grabs, and politics. (maps, family tree) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-946395-49-8

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Catalyst Press

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

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

Did you like this book?

A sequel that repeats the mistakes of its predecessor while failing to break new ground.

THE LAST GRADUATE

A teenage witch with a natural affinity for dark magic prepares to run a deadly graduation gauntlet in this sequel to Novik's Deadly Education (2020).

Galadriel "El" Higgins has finally reached her senior year at the Scholomance, putting her one step closer to her ultimate goal: get back home or die trying. After getting a sneak peek at the monster-packed hallway she must survive if she wants to graduate, the witchy teen returns to her classes and cliques with scarcely more insight than before. El knows enough to realize that her mana stores are a fraction of what they should be—come graduation, she will lack the magical juice she needs to kill monsters and make it out alive. Her fake-dating relationship with Orion proves to be a lucky "in," netting her a new string of tenuous alliances as well as access to a wellspring of free mana. But what could be a compelling adventure story falls apart here, as the novel relies on relentless bouts of infodumping to keep readers up to speed on where the Scholomance's monsters come from and what they can do to unsuspecting students. None of these paragraphs-long blasts of information recount the details of El's last excursion, however, and so readers who have forgotten Novik's previous novel, or who have never read it at all, will find no springboard ready to help them dive into the author's newest offering. Those who stumble upon this volume risk being unmoored, as the narrative picks up immediately following the events of its predecessor, without stopping to introduce anything, including the narrator. Ultimately, El's seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of every monster in the school, combined with her continued refusal to enter into any genuine alliance with classmates, leaves readers to wonder what she could possibly have left to learn—or fear—in the Scholomance.

A sequel that repeats the mistakes of its predecessor while failing to break new ground.

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12886-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Del Rey

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more