Venators: Magic Unleashed
Rune and Grey are just trying to fit in at college, when they pass through a gate to find that they have special genetic powers that make them Venators, ideal peacekeepers in a supernatural civil war. While Grey has long had an inkling about his place in this otherworldly dimension, Rune is of a single mind—saving her twin brother, Ryker, who was also kidnapped and brought to the strange place against his will. The action-packed first installment in Walls's (Wings of Arian
) new series features a dizzying array of werewolves, vampires, faeries, and dragons, all out to aid, manipulate, or kill the human Venators. At times, the plot is given to over-dramatization, peppered with dialogue that can feel unnatural and monological. Subtle hints at past conflicts between the main characters don't entirely bring them into focus, and the iconic creatures of the night ultimately come across as a paranormal hodgepodge, without distinctive characteristics. Attempts to take on racism and sexual predation are respectable but brief, instead of building blocks to a larger theme. The result is a murky telling that relies too often on witty retorts and pure adrenaline. Ages 12–up. (Apr.