The cliffhanger ending is merely an abrupt pause in the action—this chapter is essentially just scene-setting for the...

THE HEIR

From the Selection series , Vol. 4

Cass’ bestselling Selection trilogy is now a series, with the fourth installment picking up 20 years after The One (2014).

Narrated by Eadlyn, the 18-year-old firstborn of King Maxon and Queen America and the next in line for the throne of Illéa, the tale perpetuates the same stiff dialogue and obvious premise of its predecessors, though there is a tiny twist to the latter. This time, it’s "The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games meets The Taming of the Shrew." Eadlyn is a practical princess, primarily concerned with preparing to one day rule the country. From the get-go, readers are bludgeoned with evidence that in her focus on leadership, she is too brusque and insensitive, both with the people closest to her and the wider national population. Her family makes the case that provincial unrest will be quelled if she would just stop being a ballbreaker, find a husband, and give the masses a distraction-cum-reason to love the monarchy again. “You can be brave and still be feminine…you can be queen and still be a bride,” her twin brother assures her. Thus is Eadlyn strong-armed into participating in a Selection of her own, and the broadly drawn novel is primarily concerned with setting up most of the contenders to be a 50-50 shot. After dispatching the low-hanging fruit, she winds up with a group of “loud, strange boys” who “all matter” to her.

The cliffhanger ending is merely an abrupt pause in the action—this chapter is essentially just scene-setting for the inevitable continuation(s). (Dystopian romance. 13 & up)

Pub Date: May 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-234985-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2015

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A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning.

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SCYTHE

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 1

Two teens train to be society-sanctioned killers in an otherwise immortal world.

On post-mortal Earth, humans live long (if not particularly passionate) lives without fear of disease, aging, or accidents. Operating independently of the governing AI (called the Thunderhead since it evolved from the cloud), scythes rely on 10 commandments, quotas, and their own moral codes to glean the population. After challenging Hon. Scythe Faraday, 16-year-olds Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova reluctantly become his apprentices. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty. The vivid and often violent action unfolds slowly, anchored in complex worldbuilding and propelled by political machinations and existential musings. Scythes’ journal entries accompany Rowan’s and Citra’s dual and dueling narratives, revealing both personal struggles and societal problems. The futuristic post–2042 MidMerican world is both dystopia and utopia, free of fear, unexpected death, and blatant racism—multiracial main characters discuss their diverse ethnic percentages rather than purity—but also lacking creativity, emotion, and purpose. Elegant and elegiac, brooding but imbued with gallows humor, Shusterman’s dark tale thrusts realistic, likable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions.

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7242-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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An enticing, turbulent, and satisfying final voyage.

THE NOBLEMAN'S GUIDE TO SCANDAL AND SHIPWRECKS

From the Montague Siblings series , Vol. 3

Adrian, the youngest of the Montague siblings, sails into tumultuous waters in search of answers about himself, the sudden death of his mother, and her mysterious, cracked spyglass.

On the summer solstice less than a year ago, Caroline Montague fell off a cliff in Aberdeen into the sea. When the Scottish hostel where she was staying sends a box of her left-behind belongings to London, Adrian—an anxious, White nobleman on the cusp of joining Parliament—discovers one of his mother’s most treasured possessions, an antique spyglass. She acquired it when she was the sole survivor of a shipwreck many years earlier. His mother always carried that spyglass with her, but on the day of her death, she had left it behind in her room. Although he never knew its full significance, Adrian is haunted by new questions and is certain the spyglass will lead him to the truth. Once again, Lee crafts an absorbing adventure with dangerous stakes, dynamic character growth, sharp social and political commentary, and a storm of emotion. Inseparable from his external search for answers about his mother, Adrian seeks a solution for himself, an end to his struggle with mental illness—a journey handled with hopeful, gentle honesty that validates the experiences of both good and bad days. Characters from the first two books play significant secondary roles, and the resolution ties up their loose ends. Humorous antics provide a well-measured balance with the heavier themes.

An enticing, turbulent, and satisfying final voyage. (Historical fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-291601-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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