For Narnia fans who enjoy heavy snark, this is a must-read.

THE CRESCENT STONE

From the Sunlit Lands series , Vol. 1

A terminally ill girl is lured into a fantasy world with a chance at a cure, but magic has a price.

High school senior Madeline, struggling with a deadly lung disease, eagerly exchanges a year of service with the Elenil for her health. Meanwhile, her skeptical friend Jason Wu, worried for her safety, follows along and trades a year of his life for a pudding cup each day for the rest of his life. They find themselves in a world where young humans are recruited to serve and fight in wars against the Scim. While Madeline delights in her ability to breathe freely in the Sunlit Lands, Jason is busy investigating the rules of magic. The Elenil heal wounds, have magical toilets, and give him a war beast whom he names Delightful Glitter Lady. It is too good to be true—until you ask, where does all the poop go? And who accepts the wounds when these young soldiers are injured? Although at times heavy-handed with the religious imagery and social messaging, the issues this story brings up are relevant to current discussions about poverty and cultural extinction. Madeline is white and blonde, Jason is Chinese-American, and their culturally diverse friend group in the Sunlit Lands includes an Apsáalooke and a Native Hawaiian boy.

For Narnia fans who enjoy heavy snark, this is a must-read. (cast of characters, appendix, poem, proverbs, lament, legend, song) (Fantasy. 13-17)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4964-3171-4

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Wander

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Full of drama, emotional turmoil, and high stakes.

FIREBORNE

From the Aurelian Cycle series , Vol. 1

What happens to the world after the dust from a revolution has settled?

Friends Annie and Lee were children from very different circles when Atreus killed Lee’s father, dragonlord Leon Stormscourge, ending the uprising on the bloodiest day in Callipolis’ history. For too long the dragonriders held all the power while their people starved and lived in fear. Nine years later, a new generation of dragonriders is emerging, children selected and trained on merit, not bloodlines. Their dragons are finally mature enough for them to compete for Firstrider, a position of power that can give Lee back a small part of what his family lost. However, not only is Lee competing against Annie, but rumors are circulating that some of the royal family have survived and have dragons of their own. Everyone will have to make a choice: Restore the old regime, support the First Protector and the new caste system he created, or look for a new way, no matter what the cost. From the beginning, this book pulls readers in with political intrigue and action. What keeps them invested, however, are the complex relationships between many cast members. Choices are complex, and the consequences for all could be deadly. The world is well fleshed out and believable. Annie and Lee are light skinned; secondary characters are diverse, and race is a nonissue in this world.

Full of drama, emotional turmoil, and high stakes. (author’s note) (Fantasy.14-17)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51821-1

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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This solid, enchanting fantasy boasts a palpable atmosphere and moves at a breakneck pace.

THE RAVENS

From the Ravens series , Vol. 1

YA all-stars Morgan and Paige team up to present a witchy take on sorority life.

College freshman Vivi Devereaux can’t wait to go to Savannah’s Westerly College and escape the scams her mother has run to make ends meet—most involving tarot card readings—but she quickly stumbles upon a different type of magic. At a rush party for Kappa Rho Nu, she meets junior Scarlett Winter, a charismatic witch in the running to lead the sorority—which is in fact a front for a prestigious coven called the Ravens. At first hesitant, Vivi quickly warms up to the idea of being in a witch sorority, joining her fellow pledges in learning magic and forming tight bonds of friendship. But the coven has an ominous history involving dead sisters and dark magic, and Vivi and Scarlett get caught up in a dangerous, high-stakes mystery, all while balancing school, family issues, and boy trouble. This novel hits its story beats quickly and deftly, unfurling the plot through Scarlett’s and Vivi’s alternating points of view. The magic system is complex and original without being cumbersome, and it expertly conjures a supernatural, uncanny atmosphere intertwined with Greek life. Vivi is White, Scarlett is Black, and the supporting cast contains a range of diverse racial identities.

This solid, enchanting fantasy boasts a palpable atmosphere and moves at a breakneck pace. (Fantasy. 14-17)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-09823-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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