A tantalizing, strategic setup for the next installment, which has all the ingredients to be a knockout.

THE MASK FALLING

From the Bone Season series , Vol. 4

The Pale Dreamer is back after narrowly surviving torture at the hands of the clairvoyant-hating Republic of Scion in The Song Rising (2017).

Scion would prefer you to think the Pale Dreamer is dead. And the dreamer herself, Paige Mahoney, is OK with that. The girl from the clairvoyant underworld of London is no more. Since defeating her previous mime-lord, Jaxon, and becoming Underqueen of London’s clairvoyant community–turned-rebellion, Paige has molded herself into the leader known as Black Moth. And while Black Moth has gained a vast following for the rumor that she single-handedly destroyed the clairvoyant-detecting system Senshield, she has barely escaped that victory with her life. After Paige is forced to flee London, the start of this long-awaited fourth installment of Shannon's Bone Season series finds her with her battle armor off, convalescing while in hiding in Paris alongside Arcturus Mesarthim, her controversial guardian and supporter. For those with rusty memories, Arcturus belongs to an immortal race known as the Rephaim, who were forced to leave the Netherworld as their home fell to ruins. Scion’s biggest secret is that it’s run by the Rephaim behind the scenes, most notably by Nashira Sargas, who seeks to control the world’s clairvoyant community to serve the Rephaim. Arcturus defied Nashira to help Paige seek rebellion, and now this oddly matched pair are bound to one another. Paige barely has time to rest when a new underground group, the Domino Programme, comes knocking. This network of free-world spies wants her help as they attempt to undercut Scion—which is planning to invade the Iberian Peninsula—from the inside using Paige’s gift as a Dreamwalker. Not used to taking orders, Paige balances risky operations within the inner circles of Scion leadership while trying to establish connections with the Paris clairvoyant syndicate. Between her duties as an agent as well as Black Moth, coupled with the exhausting will they, won’t they bit with Arcturus, it’s enough to make Paige literally out of breath. The constant slew of injuries, action scenes, and near-death escapes, which further shift the series’ genre from fantasy toward the dystopian realm, distracts from the excellent worldbuilding that is the tale’s beating heart. Sticking with Paige to the end will leave you with new secrets about the Rephaim and Scion’s future plans, along with an emerging threat that is sure to surprise—and will give readers hope that we have yet to learn everything about the potential of human clairvoyance. Thrilling, indeed.

A tantalizing, strategic setup for the next installment, which has all the ingredients to be a knockout.

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-63557-032-8

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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A gripping revenge story with enough twists to avoid becoming formulaic.

LORE

To get revenge for her family’s murder seven years ago, Lore must reenter a deadly contest from her past.

Leaving the conflict of gods and their hunters behind, Lore thought she had forged a new life. However, the Agon has begun again and brought with it an injured Athena, who promises her revenge on the one who ordered her family killed—in exchange for an oath binding their fates together. Lore must hunt down the god once known as Aristos Kadmou, with the catch that she only has eight days. Also, failure means the deaths of both Lore and Athena. Depictions of graphic violence and discussions of sexual assault are frequent, creating a tale as violent and unforgiving as its source material, albeit narrated through a feminist lens. Much like the heroes of ancient epics, Lore is a morally ambiguous but ultimately likable character, struggling to eliminate the monsters of her world while not falling into the brutality of her youth. She is contrasted with the idealistic Castor, her childhood friend and love interest, with whom she has plenty of chemistry. Bracken builds a rich world around a skeleton of ancient Greek mythology that is perfect to read on a dull weekend and sure to delight readers. Most main characters are cued as White; there are two men of color, both gay.

A gripping revenge story with enough twists to avoid becoming formulaic. (cast of characters) (Fantasy. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4847-7820-3

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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THE NIGHT CIRCUS

Self-assured, entertaining debut novel that blends genres and crosses continents in quest of magic.

The world’s not big enough for two wizards, as Tolkien taught us—even if that world is the shiny, modern one of the late 19th century, with its streetcars and electric lights and newfangled horseless carriages. Yet, as first-time novelist Morgenstern imagines it, two wizards there are, if likely possessed of more legerdemain than true conjuring powers, and these two are jealous of their turf. It stands to reason, the laws of the universe working thus, that their children would meet and, rather than continue the feud into a new generation, would instead fall in love. Call it Romeo and Juliet for the Gilded Age, save that Morgenstern has her eye on a different Shakespearean text, The Tempest; says a fellow called Prospero to young magician Celia of the name her mother gave her, “She should have named you Miranda...I suppose she was not clever enough to think of it.” Celia is clever, however, a born magician, and eventually a big hit at the Circus of Dreams, which operates, naturally, only at night and has a slightly sinister air about it. But what would you expect of a yarn one of whose chief setting-things-into-action characters is known as “the man in the grey suit”? Morgenstern treads into Harry Potter territory, but though the chief audience for both Rowling and this tale will probably comprise of teenage girls, there are only superficial genre similarities. True, Celia’s magical powers grow, and the ordinary presto-change-o stuff gains potency—and, happily, surrealistic value. Finally, though, all the magic has deadly consequence, and it is then that the tale begins to take on the contours of a dark thriller, all told in a confident voice that is often quite poetic, as when the man in the grey suit tells us, “There’s magic in that. It’s in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict.” Generous in its vision and fun to read. Likely to be a big book—and, soon, a big movie, with all the franchise trimmings.

 

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-385-53463-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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