Fans are always on the lookout for the latest installments of their favorite series. Four new young adult novels filled with adventure and kick-ass main characters are sure to grab readers’ imaginations.
In Rae Carson’s The Crown of Embers, new queen Elisa (The Girl of Fire and Thorns) must learn to rule while dealing with internal and external threats to her authority. Initially hesitant, Elisa grows savvy and ruthless as she makes some hard, unpopular choices. Her Godstone prompts her to embark — with romantic interest Hector, Lord-Commander of the Royal Guard — on a quest to find a legendary magical-spiritual power source. Assassination attempts and perilous journeys ensure nonstop action, and a bracing conclusion opens the door for further exploration of this pseudo-Spanish/Mediterranean fantasy world. (13 years and up, Greenwillow)
In Scrivener’s Moon, the third book in Philip Reeve’s post-apocalyptic, post-technological Fever Crumb series, Fever (a nano-machinery-enhanced hybrid-human) and her engineer mother undertake a perilous search for much-needed Ancient technology. The novel culminates in the brutal and spectacular birth of a mobile London, followed by an epic battle, setting the scene for Reeve’s Mortal Engines and its sequels. Characterization is deep and revelatory; themes are rich and seamlessly interwoven; and the complex plot will keep readers riveted. (12 years and up, Scholastic)
Beth Revis’s Shades of Earth, the third book in her Across the Universe trilogy, picks up with Earth-born Amy and ship-born leader Elder leaving the ship Godspeed. Once they make planetfall on Centauri-Earth, tensions quickly rise between Elder and the recently awakened colony of “frozens” — which includes Amy’s parents. A calculating military-industrial corporation, a shadowy alien menace tracking the colony, and a new mystery Amy and Elder must solve make for plenty of plot twists by book’s end. (14 years and up, Penguin/Razorbill)
The renewed war between chimaera and seraphim takes center stage in Laini Taylor’s Days of Blood & Starlight. Karou (Daughter of Smoke & Bone), as the new resurrectionist, repopulates the chimaera, while her star-crossed lover Akiva reluctantly takes a lead role in the seraphim army. Surprises ratchet up the suspense, as do acts of personal sacrifice, and Karou’s eventual emergence as a leader helps forge an uneasy alliance between the chimaera and Akiva’s band of rebel angels as a battle against the seraphim looms. (15 years and up, Little, Brown)
From the January 2013 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.