Nevertheless, it’s an above-average addition to the updated-mythology genre and a satisfying conclusion for the series’ fans.

UNGODLY

From the Goddess War series , Vol. 3

The Goddess War trilogy concludes.

It isn’t tidy, but everything resolves in this final act for the Greek gods, led by Athena with help from Hermes, Calypso, Ares, and Aphrodite, who are all dying of maladies appropriate to their individual natures. Heroic mortals Cassandra, Hector, Odysseus, and Andromache have been reincarnated as modern teenagers—all of whom Achilles is bent on destroying, as are other enemies. In Mortal Gods (2014), the group broke up when they attacked Olympus. Now three small groups travel independently, still trying to find the cause of their imminent mortality. With help from Thanatos, the god of death, they finally discover who is behind it all. Like Rick Riordan before her, Blake has clearly had a good time modernizing the gods and heroes, but the difficulty in the imaginative series lies in the too-large cast. Given mostly equal weight, the characters banter and quip their ways through their adventures, each speaking in much the same modern and rather cynical voice. While readers can care about them, especially Athena and Hermes, the cast is simply too numerous and the threat, too abstract for a strong focus. Still, readers can enjoy the journey and the hip dialogue, punctuated by a few brief fights.

Nevertheless, it’s an above-average addition to the updated-mythology genre and a satisfying conclusion for the series’ fans. (Paranormal adventure. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7653-3445-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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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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A rare second volume that surpasses the first, with, happily, more intrigue and passion still to come.

THE WICKED KING

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 2

A heady blend of courtly double-crossing, Faerie lore, and toxic attraction swirls together in the sequel to The Cruel Prince (2018).

Five months after engineering a coup, human teen Jude is starting to feel the strain of secretly controlling King Cardan and running his Faerie kingdom. Jude’s self-loathing and anger at the traumatic events of her childhood (her Faerie “dad” killed her parents, and Faerie is not a particularly easy place even for the best-adjusted human) drive her ambition, which is tempered by her desire to make the world she loves and hates a little fairer. Much of the story revolves around plotting (the Queen of the Undersea wants the throne; Jude’s Faerie father wants power; Jude’s twin, Taryn, wants her Faerie betrothed by her side), but the underlying tension—sexual and political—between Jude and Cardan also takes some unexpected twists. Black’s writing is both contemporary and classic; her world is, at this point, intensely well-realized, so that some plot twists seem almost inevitable. Faerie is a strange place where immortal, multihued, multiformed denizens can’t lie but can twist everything; Jude—who can lie—is an outlier, and her first-person, present-tense narration reveals more than she would choose. With curly dark brown hair, Jude and Taryn are never identified by race in human terms.

A rare second volume that surpasses the first, with, happily, more intrigue and passion still to come. (map) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-31035-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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