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The Monster Librarian Presents:
Reviews of Dark Fantasy for Young Adults
Below are reviews of fantasy titles that have a horror theme or horror elements to them. They can act as gateway titles to both horror and/or fantasy genres.
Reckless by Cornelia Funke *New Review
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2013
Available: New Hardcopy, paperback, audiobook, Kindle
Fearless by Cornelia Funke*New Review
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2013
Available: New Hardcopy, paperback, audiobook, Kindle
Jacob Reckless, exploring his father’s study several years after his mysterious disappearance, discovers a mirror that acts as a portal to another world: an alternate, semi-medieval Europe, where creatures from fairytales are still very much alive and magic works, although technology is slowly pushing it out. What starts out, nominally, as a search for his father, soon becomes an escape for Jacob, who establishes himself there as a treasure hunter of magical objects, although he often secretly travels between the two worlds. His brother Will discovers the portal in the mirror and follows Jacob through. Once there, he is attacked and infected by the Goyl, creatures made of living stone with the ability to infect humans so that they turn into Goyl as well. The Goyl , recent victors in a war between Goyl and humans, are pursuing Will because he is the subject of a prophecy. Jacob, his shapeshifter partner Fox, Will, and Will’s girlfriend Clara, race to find a cure for the spreading infection before Will turns completely into stone, and to escape capture by the Goyl.
The consequences for Jacob of curing his brother are dramatic and threaten to be fatal when Jacob is tricked into uttering the name of the Dark Fairy, which curses him with death within a year. Jacob keeps this information to himself. Will and Clara return home, and Jacob, with Fox’s help, races against time once again to find the magical object or spell that can overcome the curse and save his life. His last hope is to find a crossbow that is capable of mass destruction, that may also be able to save a life. Unfortunately, he has competition—another treasure hunter, a Goyl called Nerron, or “the Bastard.”
What’s amazing about these books is the world-building. The lush descriptions, attention to detail, evocative language, and vivid images shape an entire reality. Objects, plants, characters, and tales, all come together to create an immersive experience. In fact, the Mirrorworld is a perfect setting for a visually impressive and interactive game. An app is expected to debut in late April, and I am sure it will be both of those things.
What’s frustrating is the lack of backstory and transitions from one point in time to another. I received an advance copy of Fearless, the second book, before the first volume was sent, and I really felt lost—I could tell I was missing backstory essential to making sense of the book. I hoped that Reckless, the first book, would provide a lot of that backstory. Instead, the book began by making huge leaps in time—Jacob is a young teen when he discovers the mirror, then suddenly he’s 25. Will follows Jacob through, but there’s no indication of what happened or how long he was there when he was infected. It’s unclear how Clara finds her way in at all, with both Will and Jacob on the other side of the mirror.
These gaps are frustrating for a couple of reasons. First, the discontinuity is jarring, and it disrupted the flow of my reading, Second, when characters refer to events that have taken place during the time gaps in vague terms, it makes me think I missed something, so I have to go back and reread, which also interrupts the reading experience. Third, Jacob simply isn’t a likable character. Given his treatment of Fox, especially at first, it’s hard to understand why she would wait patiently for him for weeks or overlook some of his less desirable behaviors. It might be easier to understand what the secondary characters see in him if some of these blanks were filled in. I almost feel like the extensive development of the setting was at the expense of the narrative and character development, especially in the first book.
The secondary characters are wonderful. In the first book, I really loved Fox. Valiant, the greedy, unscrupulous dwarf, was a treat. The Goyl were fascinating, and the fairies were complex and powerful. In the second book, the secondary characters were even better. The relationship between Jacob and Fox changed and grew, and Valiant took on much more of a role as a partner. Troisclerq was a true surprise to me, and Dunbar made me think. Nerron, “the Bastard” was well-developed, and became a sympathetic character. He had much in common with Jacob, but he was a more likable, and in the end, more poignant, character.
While my own reading experience was flawed, Funke has done a fantastic job with her world-building and mythology making, her secondary characters are wonderful, and she keeps the story moving. It’s worth it to pick these up just for this—the opportunity to lose yourself in her Mirrorworld. Recommended.
Contains: Violence, gore, black magic, references to cannibalism.
Dark Talisman by Steven M. Booth*New Review
Azimuth Books, 2013
Available: Pre-order, hardcover
Steven Booth has delivered a fun, action-packed fantasy novel aimed at the young adult market, but more than suitable for an older audience that enjoys their fantasy aligned with role-playing games. That's what you get here, a sort of video game in words, with a dark elf rogue named Alitra, who pilfers the wrong item from a Sultan's treasure, leaving her hunted by all manner of would-be assassins. The review copy I was sent had a little more than three hundred pages, in somewhat large print, and Booth still managed to squeeze in nearly fifty unique characters of various genders, races, and classes. Admirable, to say the least, as each seemed well-serviced in the time we spend with them. Not an easy task, and its success owes much to the author's firm grasp of where his story leads. Dark Talisman is well worth a look, especially if you enjoy a streamlined adventure without too much heavy lifting.
Reviewed by Bob Freeman
Darkwater by Catherine
Available: hardcover & multi format e-book
Part “Beauty and the Beast”, part Faust, Darkwater is the tale of Sarah Trevelyan, last of the proud Trevelyan family of Darkwater Hall. Once rich and powerful, when the family fell from grace they weren't met with sympathy, but with anger, because of their cruelty. Now it's fallen to Sarah, living in misery with her ill father, to reclaim the Trevelyan pride and riches, through the hands of the mysterious and sinister Azrael--for the price of her soul.
I wasn't sure I would like this dark YA tale, but I really, really did. It walks a razor edge between telling the reader just enough and leaving things to the imagination. It offers very few answers, but gives you all the information you need to take the story from the events. And despite being pretty dark (in theme, without getting gritty or brutal) the end spirit is a positive, hopeful one. Definitely recommended for readers looking for something outside of vampires, ghosts and angels.Contains: pseudo-religious themes
Review by Michele Lee
of Souls by Zetta Elliot*New Review
Amazon Encore, 2012
Available: trade paperback and kindle
Ship of Souls is a middle grade/early high school tale of a trio of misfits who find their way into a Goonies-style adventure. D, the youngest and main character, is still reeling from the loss of his mother and his entry into the foster care system. Hakeem is a star ball player, but Muslim, so he, too, knows what it's like to stick out. Nyla, an army brat and free spirit(and a crush for both of them) gets tangled up in a centuries-old plot with them when D finds an injured bird that appears to be so much more.
Ship of Souls is fantasy tale with a different sort of beat, wildly imaginative and poignant. It is short, and, frustratingly, seems to be missing some pieces that would make it outright amazing. Recommended, but it would be nice to see an expanded version in the future.
Contains: violence, racial slurs/language
Review by Michele Lee
Pure by Julianna Baggott
Grand Central Publishing, 2012
Available: New and kindle
Less than a generation ago, radioactive detonations destroyed civilization. Instead of the survivors dying of radiation sickness, though, they were “fused” to whatever they were holding or touching at the time. The only ones to escape mutation and deformity were saved by enclosure in a protective environment, the Dome, and are known as Pures, alternately worshiped and hated by those left out in a chaotic, deadly world.
Pressia is a sixteen year old girl with a doll’s head fused to her hand who lives outside the Dome, who is soon to be forcibly recruited by a violent militia, and longs for a romanticized past. Bradwell is an underground radical with birds fused to his back, who remembers the ugliness of the time before the Detonations. Partridge is the son of the leader of the Pures, has just learned his mother is alive outside, and escapes so he can find her. The three teens join forces to discover his mother’s whereabouts, but this is an uncharted, broken, and stitched-together journey, rather than a tradtional “hero’s quest”.
The strength of Pure comes from Baggot’s creation of a fantastical post-apocalyptic world, and, in particular, of the way that apocalypse and its aftermath have shaped its inhabitants. The tragedy of mothers and children fused together; the fluttering of birds’ wings fused to Bradwell’s back, permanently scarring him but suggesting that he could almost take flight; the doll’s head fused to Pressia’s hand, with lashes gummed shut by the ash in the air; the violent and carnivorous Dusts, creatures fused with the earth that make every step treacherous. The world-building and character development are intertwined in a way that brings vividness and three-dimensionality to the story. Once you’re inside it, Pure is truly an immersive experience.
What’s most frustrating about the book is the way it’s plotted. For instance, Partridge’s mother leaves such obscure clues to her whereabouts that it is amazing that he, even with Bradwell’s and Pressia’s help, is able to discover and interpret them. Unlikely coincidences that turn out to “happen” to have been planned are frequent, as well. Most importantly, though, is that Pure is clearly the first book in a trilogy, and it ends very abruptly. I don’t mind endings that leave me wondering (The Hunger Games is an excellent example of a book that is part of a series but can stand alone) but I do mind when the story just ends, leaving me hanging practically in the middle of a sentence.
Even so, Baggott has created a vivid world worth visiting, and a journey worth taking for readers of postapocalyptic science fiction, or teens looking for something along the lines of The Hunger Games. Highly recommended.
Contains: murder, suicide, mutilation, torture.
Reviewed by: Kirsten Kowalewski
Abarat by Clive Barker
HarperCollins; Revised edition, 2011
Available: New, Used, and digital
Abarat is the first book in a new series by Clive Barker. Clive Barker is a renowned master of horror novels, and has even made some wonderful horror films. Here he takes us on a wild, strange, and creepy ride through the magical islands of the Abarat. Seen through the eyes of young Candy Quackenbush of Chickentown, Minnesota – a place known for its business in processing chicken parts – the Abarat is a set of islands, or archipelago, in which each island exists at a different hour of the day. For example, there is an island called The Nonce where it’s always 3 in the afternoon, and another, called Gorgossium where it’s always Midnight.
In these weird and fascinating islands live such strange people as John Mischief and his brothers. The brothers Mischief are all master thieves, and seven of them live in John Mischief’s antlers. Christopher Carrion, the Prince of Midnight, wears a huge collar around his neck where his nightmares live: they’re his pets. Such strangeness fills the adventures of Candy as she learns that this is the land where she belongs, although its fate is in serious question, due to a fiendish plan of Christopher Carrion and his grandmother, Mader Motely. This book is Highly Recommended for readers of the strange, fantastic, weird and dark fantasy adventures. Warning: once you pick it up it’s hard to put down.
Contains: Violence, Scary Imagery, Profanity, Gore.
Review by Benjamin Franz
Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War by Clive Barker*New Review
2011(revised edition) HarperCollins
Available: Paperback, Kindle, Audiocassette, Hardcover
Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War is the second book in the Abarat series by Clive Barker. In this amazing book, Candy Quackenbush learns several important things: what the Carrion family wants to do to Abarat; who she really is and why Abarat feels like where she belongs; and finally, what it is that she must do for the Islands of the Abarat. As in the first book, we see very strange and weird things. Take Finnegan Hob, as an example. He’s this dashing hero type, but as this is Abarat he looks a little different. Finnegan is the child of a person from the Night Islands, and a person from the Day Islands. As such, he is dark of skin, red of hair, and has very strange things going on with his body. Yet, he’s bold, fearless and one of the best fighters ever.
In Days of Magic, Nights of War the story moves along in very fast pace. It’s kind of amazing how brilliant it is, this weird dark version of Narnia, Oz, and other fantasy worlds Will Candy Quackenbush be murdered by Christopher Carrion? Will the Sisters of the Fantomaya (good witches) tell Candy the secret information she needs most? Will Candy ever get back home? All these questions are answered in this second book. Although so many more are then asked. Before I end this review, I must note the incredible paintings of Clive Barker. He paints wonderful illustrations in each of these books, however you only get to see all of them in the hardcover version. Highly recommended for readers of the strange, weird, creepy and dark fantasy.
Contains: Profanity, Scary Images, Violence, Gore.
Reviewed by: Benjamin Franz
Abarat: Absolute Midnight by Clive Barker*New Review
Available: New and digital.
Abarat: Absolute Midnight is the third book in the Abarat series by Clive Barker. If you’re coming to this book fresh, without reading the first two, you may be a little lost at first, but Mr. Barker does a wonderful job of bringing you up to speed. To sum up briefly: Candy Quackenbush, a sixteen year old from Chickentown, Minnesota, finds herself transported to the islands of the Abarat, an archipelago – or island chain - where every island exists at a different hour of the day. Here she has had adventures made great friends, like Malingo the geshrat – a reptilian creature who walks on two legs and has ears that act as large leather wings – as well as many others.
Two of the people Candy has encountered are Christopher Carrion, lord of Midnight, and his grandmother Mater Motely. At the end of Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War Mater Motley has risen to full power of the kingdom of Night. She wishes to become Empress of the Abarat, and to that end she hatches and brings forth a plan to create an absolute midnight, darkening the skies of the Abarat forever. Will she be successful? Will Candy Quackenbush and her friends save the Abarat? To find out you must read this. This is highly recommended for fans of the strange, weird, dark fantasies, and a good old fashioned adventure story. The paintings in the hardcover version, are truly spectacular and all painted by Clive Barker himself!
Contains: Gruesome Imagery, Violence, Profanity
Reviewed by: Benjamin Franz
Dawn of War (Blood War Trilogy) by Tim Marquitz*New Review
Available Kindle edition
On the planet Ahreele a devastating war has begun. The savage and animalistic Grol have recently acquired very powerful magic weapons from the land of the Sha’ree, a mystical people long thought to be dead. Arrin, a man living in exile for the last fifteen years has seen the devastation first hand and has gone back to his home of Lathah to warn them of the approaching doom.
Cael is a young boy whose home of Nurin has been overrun and destroyed by the Korme, who are loosely allied with the Grol, using the same magic weapons. While making a desperate run into the Dead Lands, he meets two Sha’ree who are on a mission to warn civilization, as well as gather together the bearers of far older magic to defeat the enemies of peace. Cael carries one of these ancient devices.
Domor of the Vel attempts to make his way through the Dead Lands as well, to find his family in Nurin. He, along with his blood companion, run into other enemies with magic weapons but are saved by the two Sha’ree and the Pathra, cat people who are allies of the human Lathans.
Can a small band of people from different lands join with their allies and defeat their enemies? And who is Sultae of the Sha’ree and what of the plague that supposedly killed them all? The band of hopeful heroes must also contend with the Tumult, a time when the two moons cross paths and wreak havoc on the planet.
Dawn of War, book one of the Blood War trilogy is Tim Marquitz’s first foray into fantasy fiction and he has done an exceptional job. There is a lot going on and there are many points of view to follow, but Marquitz keeps it all tight and easy to follow. Character development is very good, keeping each race of people easily identifiable. This first book introduces the various points of view and ends on just the proper note, leaving the reader wanting to read more. I’m not generally big on fantasy, but I enjoyed Dawn of War immensely. I think you will, too. It can be had for free through the Amazon Kindle store. Recommended.
Contains: violence and gore
Reviewed by: Colleen Wanglund
Stone of Tymora: The Sentinels by R.A. and Geno Salvatore
Wizards of the Coast, 2010
In this third book of the Stone of Tymora trilogy, Maimun and Joan join together in a quest to destroy the stone. Their journey takes them to the Tower of Twilight, where they spend a year honing their skills in preparation of the task at hand, with the wizard Malchor Harpel. They will need those skills, because the destruction of the stone comes at a high cost, on a path strewn with death and betrayal.
As the third book in a trilogy, this story doesn’t stand alone, but really must be read following the two preceding books. In this final story, Maimun grows as a character, becoming a force to be reckoned with. There are also several plot twists that should surprise any reader who has followed along with the trilogy. The story is entertaining, but some of it seems to be rushed and could have been fleshed out a little better, primarily the time spent at the Tower of Twilight. The characters, action and plot twists more than make up for this minor failing, though, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy stories. It is also a must for anyone who loves the Forgotten Realms campaign setting.
Reviewed by Bret Jordan
The Wall and the Wing by Laura Ruby*New Review
Available: New and Used
The Wall and the Wing takes place in an alternate version of New York, where people can fly (sort of) and cats are an endangered species. Gurl is an orphan who is unable to fly, but has just discovered she has the unusual ability to become invisible. Bug, a new addition to the orphanage, has an anger management problem, and can’t remember who he is, but seems to have retained the ability to pick locks. Both of them have been chosen by a cat, Noodle, and pretty quickly both of them are on the run from a greedy matron, gangsters, giant rats, Punks, and the extremely disturbing Odd John. Toss in a mysterious Professor, a magic pen, plastic surgery, windup monkeys, and The Richest Man in the World, and some very scary chaos- or what appears to be chaos- ensues.
The major villain in all this is sociopathic gangster Sweetcheeks Grabowski, who has been searching for a Wall, an invisible girl born only once a century, so he can pull off the greatest crimes in the world. Gurl and Bug are facing some horrifying choices as they face him and his henchmen. But there’s much more going on than meets the eye, and even potentially helpful characters aren’t always benevolent. Ruby has created a unique, layered alternate world with some complex characters- Bug, in particular, grows and changes a great deal during the book- and some really bizarre creatures and relationships. Some things only hinted at in this book are fleshed out more in the sequel, The Chaos King, reviewed here previously. Lovers of urban fantasy, or readers who appreciate quirky, funny, scary, original books, will enjoy The Wall and the Wing. Highly recommended.
Review by Kirsten Kowalewski
The Shadowmask by R.A. and Geno Salvatore
The Stone of Tymora story continues as Maimun, an orphan with a mysterious past, travels from the desert city of Calimport to the icy port city of Waterdeep looking for the Stone of Tymora, which was taken from him by someone wearing a shadowmask. As time and distance separate Maimun from the stone, he slowly becomes more and more debilitated until it threatens his life. In addition, Maimun is being pursued by a demon, who is in a race against a pirate who also wants the stone. Maimun is threatened by both desert and ice and finally has to face a dragon who isn’t too keen on Maimun’s having the stone. Adding to that, he is dealing with the death of his friends, and his girlfriend is more interested in being a pirate that returning his affections. Luckily, he has Captain Deudermont and the crew of the Sea Sprite to watch his back.
The Shadowmask is told in first person, as Maimun relays his story to a pirate to keep himself alive. The dialogue of the pirate will remind the reader of Captain Barbossa from Pirates of the Caribbean. This is a true compliment to this character as the reader will easily be able to picture him interrogating Maimun - wanting him dead, but too intrigued by the boy’s story to end his life. The story is full of high adventure that will keep the reader riveted to the tale as much as the pirate himself is caught up in it. One warning though, readers should start with the first book of the Stone of Tymora series, The Stowaway. The Shadowmask is for anyone who loves story of high adventure and magic.
Review by Bret Jordan
Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
Hyperion Voice, 2009
Available: New and Used
This book is not horror, but rather historical fantasy. The premise of this book is interesting--what if some of the “witches” hanged in the Salem Witch Trials actually were witches? However, the execution fails, first because the first two hundred pages of this book are spent hinting at this concept, of which readers are already aware.
The main character is a supposedly very intelligent woman working on her PhD thesis. While cleaning out a family house in New England she discovers hints at a book of shadows that might prove the Salem witches were really witches. The story is primarily about her search and her mental growth from complete skeptic to, um, not.
Detail, historical flavor and character building are Howe's strong points. Storytelling, pacing and plot are her downfalls. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane is about a historian telling the story of this neat thing they've researched, but with a last minute, obvious mystery plot tacked on, and some pretty heinous and unrealistic treatment of antique books. It's less of a fast-paced mystery and more like a book wherein a mystery plot smacks an uninterested, and dense, main character in the head for 300 plus pages until she finally decides to do something about it. Not without merit altogether, the prose is pretty when not overwritten, the detail is interesting, when not overpowering the story and the historical scenes are inspiring. This book might have a place in the libraries of readers who love rich historical tales, but it doesn't speak to a horror or even dark fantasy audience despite the subject matter.
Review by Michele Lee
The Chaos King by Laura Ruby
Harpercollins Children's Books, 2007
Available: New and Used
Georgie Bloomington can become invisible, and her friend Bug can fly. But they are hardly the oddest people or occurences in their world, a slightly off-kilter version of New York City. Both Georgie and Bug are friends with the mysterious Professor, who has created a pen that, when used, has a rather chaotic and erratic effect on the world. When the Professor and the pen both go missing, Mr. Fuss, the operative tasked with finding them, decides to hire some freelancers to threaten Georgie and Bug into giving up the location of the pen. A Punk artist breaks into Georgie’s bedroom, and vampires threaten her family. Meanwhile, Bug is forcibly dragged into a rather unusual book club whose members have a job for him. Giant cephalopods and sloths invade the city, and, at the New York Public Library, strange doings are afoot as Patience and Fortitude stalk the library stacks. There really is no good way to describe The Chaos King, and perhaps that’s Ruby’s intent. The Chaos King is an original, intelligent, fantastic, multilayered, funny, frightening, optimistic, magical urban fantasy with vividly drawn characters, creatures, and places. Tweens and older readers who liked Balliett Blue’s Chasing Vermeer , but who have a darker twist to their minds, might want to chase this one down. Note: This is the second book in a series. Although it does a reasonably good job of filling in the backstory, readers will enjoy the story more if they read the previous book, The Wall and the Wing, Highly recommended. Contains: violence, torture, death, the supernatural
The Stowaway by RA and Geno Salvatore
Maiman is an orphan desperately trying to unravel his past. A mysterious elf forced him to flee from the home of the woman who raised him. He was taken in and educated by a bard who seemed to know much more about Maiman’s past but was unwilling to reveal it. Then he is given a piece of his heritage, a stone that a fearsome demon is seeking.
Maiman’s adventures take him across the Sea of Swords, with merchants and pirates. He lands in some of the biggest and brightest cities along the Sword Coast, and also meets some of Faerun’s most memorable characters. Familiar places are brought to life as Maiman travels to Baldur’s Gate and sails on the Sea of Swords, and readers who have followed the adventures of the Forgotten Realms will enjoy new encounters with characters such as dark elf Drizzt Do Urden, along with Wulfgar and Cattie Brie.
This book is a real treat for readers interested in the world of the Forgotten Realms. It is a pleasure to read, and the only complaint readers might have is having to wait until 2009 to see what happens next.
Review by Bret Jordan
The Oak Hotel: The Chronicles of Burnam Tau’roh: Book One by Walter G. Klimczak
Autumn Harbor Press, 2008
Available: Pre-order (June,2008 release)
When Kayleigh’s grandfather dies, her parents tell her that she can choose a few things for herself. Kayleigh decides this is an excellent opportunity for an adventure. She convinces her friend, Lincoln, to join her in a journey from their hometown to a mystical world, where they are pursued by the mysterious Mayor Stitch. The Oak Hotel is the beginning of an intriguing new young adult fantasy series. Kayleigh and Lincoln are appealing characters who will hold readers’ interest. Many fantasy novels depend on exposition to establish their setting, but The Oak Hotel flows well, and the pacing will keep the reader turning the pages. Unfortunately, the book has a maddening ending, with an unfinished and unsatisfying feel. Readers caught by the story will be impatient for the next installment in this series. Recommended for public and school libraries.
The Inferior by Peadar O GuilinDavid Fickling Books, 2008
Stopmouth has a speech impediment that causes others in his tribe to underestimate him. He is part of the human tribe, hunting rival alien species to survive. When he is betrayed by his ambitious brother, Stopmouth encounters a strange woman, Indrani, who seemingly falls from the sky, leading him on an adventure that will alter the fate of humanity. The Inferior is an ambitious science fiction/horror tale, and O Guilin effectively takes his reader on a grand adventure in a hostile world. Developing a new science fiction/fantasy world is always tricky and O Guilin does a fantastic job of revealing it to his reader. The novel’s ending begs for a sequel, as there is still more to be unveiled about Stopmouth’s world, and it is clear his adventures are not yet over. The Inferior is an action packed sci-fi/horror tale that will appeal to readers of both science fiction and horror. Highly recommended for public libraries.
Contains: Mentions of cannibalism, inference of rape, violence.
Hallowmere: In the Serpent’s Coils by Tiffany TrentMirrorstone Books, 2007
Corinne Jameson is an orphan, sent by her guardian to a boarding school for girls, in the post-Civil War era. Not all is as it seems, though. The students are peculiar, the teachers are secretive, and Corinne herself is being seduced by dangerous supernatural forces. As girls from the school begin to disappear, s series of incomplete love letters by a monk entangled with a race of vampiric Fey catch Corinne’s attention, and her fascination draws her further into a web of deception and destruction. Trent does a good job of painting an ominous and disturbing environment for the story, and creates sense of real unease. A flaw is that readers experience the story only from Corinne’s point of view. Unfortunately, Corrine’s thought processes are opaque and her decisions don’t make much sense. Since almost everyone is trying to keep her from finding out what’s going on, the story may leave readers shaking their heads. Still, hints of forbidden love and the strange world of the Fey will appeal to many teen girls, and the abrupt ending will keep Trent’s readers waiting impatiently for the next installment in the Hallowmere series, By Venom’s Sweet Sting. Recommended for public library young adult collections and middle and high school library media centers. Contains: witchcraft, mild kissing, mild violence.
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