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 stunning novel that exposes modern fascism and elevates human resilience. (author’s note, research and sources, glossary,...

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THE FOUNTAINS OF SILENCE

The pitiless dictatorship of Francisco Franco examined through the voices of four teenagers: one American and three Spaniards.

The Spanish Civil War lasted from 1936-1939, but Franco held Spain by its throat for 36 years. Sepetys (Salt to the Sea, 2016, etc.) begins her novel in 1957. Daniel is a white Texan who wants to be a photojournalist, not an oilman; Ana is trying to work her way to respectability as a hotel maid; her brother, Rafael, wants to erase memories of an oppressive boys’ home; and Puri is a loving caregiver for babies awaiting adoption—together they provide alternating third-person lenses for viewing Spain during one of its most brutally repressive periods. Their lives run parallel and intersect as each tries to answer questions about truth and the path ahead within a regime that crushes any opposition, murders dissidents, and punishes their families while stealing babies to sell to parents with accepted political views. This formidable story will haunt those who ask hard questions about the past as it reveals the hopes and dreams of individuals in a nation trying to lie its way to the future. Meticulous research is presented through believable, complex characters on the brink of adulthood who personalize the questions we all must answer about our place in the world. 

A stunning novel that exposes modern fascism and elevates human resilience. (author’s note, research and sources, glossary, photographs) (Historical fiction. 15-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-16031-8

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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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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