An intriguing, magical debut.

UNSEELIE

From the Unseelie series , Vol. 1

A young changeling learns to embrace her own magic in this duology opener.

Seelie and Isolde have big plans. Newly 17, they roam the world in their trusty, enchanted caravan, the Destiny, seeking riches and kindness and a path back to the home they were forced to leave when Seelie’s secret was discovered. After Mami realized Isolde had been taken and Seelie left in her place, she retrieved Isolde from the faeries and adopted the changeling baby. But changelings, representing things beyond human ken, are feared and misunderstood in their village. As Housman movingly describes in her author’s note, some folklorists theorize that the changeling myth developed as a way to describe behavioral differences observed in autistic children. Seelie experiences the world as a sometimes overwhelming place—sounds and physical sensations can easily cross the line into abrasive, and social interactions with people who do not understand her are taxing. Like our own, Seelie’s world is unkind to those who do not fit the norms, but she begins to claim and love the power inherent to her identity. Joining the sisters on this journey are Raze and Olani: fellow adventurers and opponents-cum-allies with their own tangled, painful histories that are slowly revealed. A heist gone wrong, excursions in different faerie realms, a fledgling romance, and a brownie who appears as a cat keep the story bubbling along, its charm balancing the heavier moments. Seelie and Isolde are cued as Latina; Olani reads Black.

An intriguing, magical debut. (map) (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-335-42859-2

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2023

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A rush of emotion and suspense.

THE FIRST TO DIE AT THE END

Crowds gather across the United States for the launch of Death-Cast, a company that promises to change the world by predicting the deaths of everyone who subscribes in this prequel to They Both Die at the End (2017).

Orion Pagan, an aspiring author with a heart condition, hopes his phone won’t ring at midnight, but he knows Death-Cast’s call is coming soon. Unlike Orion, Valentino Prince, a model on the verge of his national debut, has no reason to anticipate Death-Cast’s call and isn’t sure if he believes the company’s claims. By coincidence or fate, their lives collide at a party in Times Square, and a single, historic phone call alters the courses of their futures. This heart-pounding story follows the final day of the first Decker, or person who is going to die, and the national chaos of Death-Cast’s premiere. Silvera crafts a web of intricately interconnected character perspectives and conflicts around Orion and Valentino. Apart from Valentino and his twin sister, who are presumed White, most of the characters are Latine, including White-passing Orion, whose family is Puerto Rican. The story confronts heavy topics like grief, abuse, and religious faith with complexity and care. Despite the presumed inevitability of a fatal end to the central romance between Orion and Valentino, Silvera subverts the trope of punishing gay characters with violent tragedy. Familiarity with the original book provides additional context and depth but isn’t essential to understanding the plot.

A rush of emotion and suspense. (Speculative fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-324080-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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

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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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