An exciting, layered, action-filled tale with a cast of sympathetic characters.

SKYHUNTER

From the Skyhunter series , Vol. 1

A group of young soldiers defend their home against the evil Karensa Federation.

Talin is a Basean refugee in Mara, treated with xenophobic cruelty by many but recognized for her skill by her battle partner, Corian, and friends Rooke and Jeran. The capture of a former Federation fighter named Redlen with magnificent, strange abilities forces her into new territory and life-altering decisions. Redlen exposes details about the Federation’s genetically engineered army of Ghosts, zombielike creatures, leading Talin and the rest to hatch a desperate scheme to infiltrate their stronghold and sabotage their production—against explicit orders. Their mission and its aftermath help Talin understand more about her role in Mara and her reasons for defending a nation where she is often persecuted. In this cinematically imagined dystopia, Talin uses sign language to communicate since early trauma in her homeland at the hands of the Federation resulted in the cessation of her speech. In a deftly plotted first-person narrative that is both expansive and detailed in its depiction of the setting and includes quick-moving battle sequences, Talin’s trajectory is convincing. In a few instances, her earnest realizations about her own motivations can feel a bit pat, but this is a mostly nuanced and poignant story that is left wide open for a welcome sequel. Characters have a range of skin tones; one male character is in love with another man.

An exciting, layered, action-filled tale with a cast of sympathetic characters. (map) (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-22168-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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The personal and the political intertwine in this engaging series opener.

DEFY THE NIGHT

The only effective treatment for the lethal fever that plagues Kandala is a potion derived from the rare Moonflower.

Medicine is allocated to each sector of the kingdom by the decree of King Harristan, but the supply is limited. Thieves, smugglers, and black marketeers are subject to punishment and execution overseen by the cruel Prince Corrick in his role as the King’s Justice. Like many in Kandala, Tessa Cade loathes the king and his younger brother for ignoring the plight of those who cannot afford treatment. With the help of her close friend Weston, the 18-year-old apothecary’s assistant steals Moonflower petals from the wealthy and makes potions to distribute among the poor. Soon after Wes is caught by the night patrol, Tessa is presented with an opportunity to sneak into the palace. She enters with the intention of taking a sample of the palace’s potent Moonflower elixir only to be captured and brought before Prince Corrick, who, Tessa discovers, might not be as heartless as she originally believed. The slow-burn romance—between an idealist with straightforward moral beliefs and a pragmatist trapped by duty—will keep the pages turning, as will the scheming of the king’s consuls and the rebellion brewing in the background. Tessa and Corrick are cued White; other characters’ skin colors range from beige to deep brown.

The personal and the political intertwine in this engaging series opener. (map, cast of characters) (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0466-1

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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