This edgy first installment maneuvers forces into position; readers will want to stay tuned.

ANTIGODDESS

From the Goddess War series , Vol. 1

This new series from one of the best up-and-coming horror/suspense writers around (Girl of Nightmares, 2012, etc.) updates Greek mythology but offers far more than a Percy Jackson retread.

The ancient Olympians have lived disguised among the human population for millennia, but now most of them appear to be dying in ways appropriate to their natures. Athena is choking on owl feathers; Demeter is sinking into the earth; Poseidon has been corrupted with ocean pollution; Hermes’ metabolism is eating him alive. Athena and Hermes, teamed up, learn that Hera and Poseidon intend to survive by murdering other gods rather as the Titans ate their children. They embark on a mission to find the reincarnated Cassandra, now a teenager in upstate New York. Unbeknownst to Cassandra, her boyfriend, Aidan, is actually Apollo, the only god not dying. In the course of the story, the gods will find other reincarnated figures from the Trojan War who they hope will aid them in their struggle. Blake’s spunky and imaginative narrative illuminates the personalities of the gods, especially Athena, who’s gone a bit punk and is endowed with wry humor: “It’s a mistake she never would have made two thousand years ago.” Athena begins to doubt her own powers, upping the suspense level. With little doubt about which side is stronger, can plucky Athena and her allies possibly win?

This edgy first installment maneuvers forces into position; readers will want to stay tuned. (Fantasy. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7653-3443-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends.

RED QUEEN

From the Red Queen series , Vol. 1

Amid a war and rising civil unrest, a young thief discovers the shocking power within her that sparks a revolution.

At 17, Mare knows that without an apprenticeship or job, her next birthday will bring a conscription to join the war. She contributes to her poor family’s income the only way she can, stealing from the Silvers, who possess myriad powers and force her and her fellow Reds into servitude. The Silvers literally bleed silver, and they can manipulate metal, plants and animals, among many other talents. When Mare’s best friend, Kilorn, loses his job and is doomed to conscription, she is determined to change his fate. She stumbles into a mysterious stranger after her plan goes awry and is pulled out of her village and into the world of Silver royalty. Once inside the palace walls, it isn’t long before Mare learns that powers unknown to red-blooded humans lie within her, powers that could lead a revolution. Familiar tropes abound. Mare is revealed as a great catalyst for change among classes and is groomed from rags to riches, and of course, seemingly kind characters turn out to be foes. However, Aveyard weaves a compelling new world, and Mare and the two men in her life evolve intriguingly as class tension rises. Revolution supersedes romance, setting the stage for action-packed surprises.

An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-231063-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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A must-read with a conclusion that will leave readers craving more.

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THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS

A monster spreads madness through the streets of Shanghai.

It is the autumn of 1926, and Shanghai is poised at the brink of transformation. Foreign powers have carved out portions of the city for themselves; what remains is divided between two feuding gangs, the Chinese Scarlet Gang and the Russian White Flowers. Eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai has returned home from New York City, wreathed in a reputation for ruthlessness and ready to step into her role as heir to the Scarlet Gang. Four years ago, a betrayal by the White Flowers heir, Roma Montagov, a young man of 19, led to the deaths of countless Scarlets, and Juliette is determined to avenge her gang. But when a lethal contagion strikes the city, targeting Scarlets and White Flowers alike, Juliette and Roma grudgingly agree to cooperate on an investigation in order to save their city. The slow-burning romance in this book takes a back seat to the gripping mystery grounded in immersive historical detail. Allusions to Romeo and Juliet are evident in names and specific scenes, but familiar themes of family, loyalty, and identity bear new significance in Gong’s inventive adaptation. Language is a tool wielded deftly by the multilingual characters, who switch easily among English, French, Shanghainese, Russian, and more, with Mandarin as the primary dialect for Chinese phrases. A strong supporting cast that includes a trans girl completes this striking debut.

A must-read with a conclusion that will leave readers craving more. (Historical fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5769-0

Page Count: 464

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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