A strong sequel that deftly avoids middle-book syndrome and sets the stage for a promising finale.

AS THE SHADOW RISES

From the Age of Darkness series , Vol. 2

Five characters face a prophesied Age of Darkness in this epic fantasy sequel.

As the world starts to crumble under a dangerous cult whose political power increases as they persecute the magical Graced, the final pieces of the last prophecy finally align: Gambler Anton, the Last Prophet, has finally been revealed, and together with warrior Jude, the Keeper of the Word and Anton’s protector, he must follow the path set by his visions in order to stop the world ending. Meanwhile, Prince Hassan—the Deceiver—risks everything he holds dear in order to regain his throne just as Ephyra, the ruthless assassin known as the Pale Hand, grows increasingly dangerous as she searches for Eleazar’s Chalice, the relic that will save her revenant sister, Beru, who just may be the last harbinger herself. Adventurous relic-hunting, mind-blowing twists, budding love, and terrible betrayals feature in this multiple-narrator, character-driven study of power, agency, and identity and the ways these are affected by the interwoven threads of both history and legend. The promised rising darkness sees its characters facing their inner turmoil in preparation for their roles in the impending apocalypse, often making poor decisions and skirting the line (and, in at least one case, fully crossing it) between villainy and heroism in a story with plenty of empowered brown and queer characters.

A strong sequel that deftly avoids middle-book syndrome and sets the stage for a promising finale. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21177-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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A love letter to fans who will forgive (and even revel in) its excesses and indulgences.

MIDNIGHT SUN

From the Twilight series , Vol. 5

A long-awaited Twilight (2005) companion novel told from vampire Edward’s point of view.

Edward Cullen, a 104-year-old vampire (and eternal 17-year-old), finds his world turned upside down when new girl Bella Swan’s addictive scent drives a primal hunger, launching the classic story of vampire-meets-girl, vampire-wants-to-eat-girl, vampire-falls-in-love-with-girl. Edward’s broody inner monologue allows readers to follow every beat of his falling in love. The glacial pace and already familiar plot points mean that instead of surprise twists, characterization reigns. Meyer doesn’t shy away from making Edward far less sympathetic than Bella’s view of him (and his mind reading confirms that Bella’s view of him isn’t universal). Bella benefits from being seen without the curtain of self-deprecation from the original book, as Edward analyzes her every action for clues to her personality. The deeper, richer characterization of the leads comes at the expense of the secondary cast, who (with a few exceptions) alternate primarily along gender lines, between dimwitted buffoons and jealous mean girls. Once the vampiric threat from James’ storyline kicks off, vampire maneuvering and strategizing show off the interplay of the Cullens’ powers in a fresh way. After the action of the climax starts in earnest, though, it leans more into summary and monologue to get to the well-known ending. Aside from the Quileutes and the occasional background character, the cast defaults to White.

A love letter to fans who will forgive (and even revel in) its excesses and indulgences. (Paranormal romance. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-70704-6

Page Count: 672

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 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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