FICTION
EndGames
illus. by Ru Xu. 208p. (NewsPrints: Bk. 2). Scholastic. Jan. 2019. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780545803168; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780545803175.
COPY ISBN
RedReviewStarGr 4–6—Fans of Xu's Newsprints will be delighted to see the characters back for this sequel. The countries of Goswing and Grimmaea are still at war, and Blue is trying to rescue her friend Crow, the war machine. She learns that he is being used to command a new generation of war machines, but she is captured by twins from the other side of the war before she can save him. Other favorite characters appear alongside newcomers, including twin kings and a blind teenage queen. This book delves deeply into the theme of gender as Blue discusses her choice to wear "boys' clothes," even though she no longer hides her identity, with a newly introduced transgender character. Another key issue is the cost and reasons for war, which are argued effectively by both sides but ultimately lead to a peace settlement. The full-color art is reminiscent of manga and feels almost retro, an effective mash-up for this steampunk-esque story. As in the first entry, the cast is engaging and the adventures are fast-paced (kidnapping, air battles, ground battles on live volcanoes, and more), though this title adds more depth to the world and characters.
VERDICT Exceeding the promise of the earlier installment, this is a can't-miss offering.

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