Fans of Greek mythology will find much to love in this fun novel.

THE EYE OF ZEUS

From the Legends of Olympus series , Vol. 1

A young girl discovers that she’s a daughter of the Greek god Zeus in this middle-grade fantasy series starter.

Phoebe Katz is a 12-year-old foster kid, and havoc, including hailstorms and lightning strikes, seems to follow her wherever she goes. As she moves from one terrible foster home to another (and from school to school), her one constant is Carl, the social worker who found her at the Manhattan bus stop where she was abandoned as a baby. Phoebe is determined to make things work at her new school, Dexter Academy—especially now that she has two new friends, Angie and Damian. But trouble finds Phoebe yet again when she discovers that she’s not only a daughter of Zeus and the twin sister to the great hero Perseus, but also connected to a prophecy of the end of Olympus itself—which is why she was sent away as a baby. After the god Ares, who wants the prophecy to come true, kidnaps Carl, Phoebe and her friends time-travel to ancient Greece to rescue him. Nerdy Damian’s convenient encyclopedic knowledge of Greek mythology, Angie’s daring, and Phoebe’s developing demigod powers help them as they tangle with personages of myth, including numerous monsters. This first installment in Adams’ Legend of Olympus series is a nonstop, fast-paced adventure with an engaging, brave, and resourceful protagonist; fans of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, in particular, will likely enjoy it. Phoebe’s story arc involves her coming to terms with who she is and with her place in the world. The book intriguingly examines the balance between her choices and the unfair expectations that have been placed upon her—both as a troubled foster child and as a demigod child of prophecy. Phoebe’s touching relationships with Carl and her two best friends form the heart of the book, and the charming, realistic grayscale illustrations by Thompson effectively show the people and the creatures they encounter.

Fans of Greek mythology will find much to love in this fun novel.

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68463-028-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: SparkPress

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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THE LAST BOOK IN THE UNIVERSE

In this riveting futuristic novel, Spaz, a teenage boy with epilepsy, makes a dangerous journey in the company of an old man and a young boy. The old man, Ryter, one of the few people remaining who can read and write, has dedicated his life to recording stories. Ryter feels a kinship with Spaz, who unlike his contemporaries has a strong memory; because of his epilepsy, Spaz cannot use the mind probes that deliver entertainment straight to the brain and rot it in the process. Nearly everyone around him uses probes to escape their life of ruin and poverty, the result of an earthquake that devastated the world decades earlier. Only the “proovs,” genetically improved people, have grass, trees, and blue skies in their aptly named Eden, inaccessible to the “normals” in the Urb. When Spaz sets out to reach his dying younger sister, he and his companions must cross three treacherous zones ruled by powerful bosses. Moving from one peril to the next, they survive only with help from a proov woman. Enriched by Ryter’s allusions to nearly lost literature and full of intriguing, invented slang, the skillful writing paints two pictures of what the world could look like in the future—the burned-out Urb and the pristine Eden—then shows the limits and strengths of each. Philbrick, author of Freak the Mighty (1993) has again created a compelling set of characters that engage the reader with their courage and kindness in a painful world that offers hope, if no happy endings. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-439-08758-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2000

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An artfully crafted tale with mesmerizing details and a subtle exploration of free will and good versus evil.

BEHIND THE BLUE

A fan of magic and her reluctant companion embark on an adventure when the mysterious Blue Man charges them with a mission.

Little Katherine contemplates what exists behind the scrim of the sky, and she gets her answer after she meets a boy named Charlie, who literally runs into her upon fleeing a blue man and a talking salamander he encounters in the nearby forest. The man is non-threatening, and asks the two to help him recover some lost items, to which Katherine heartily agrees. He doesn’t provide much information, however, so once she and Charlie enter this enchanted universe, they must take it upon themselves to figure out what the Blue Man has lost and how to go about helping him find it. With the help of guides like snarky, enigmatic Gerald and good-natured Frank, the children travel through very deep puddles to different realms behind the clouds, learning about the Blue Man’s nemesis, Grey Lady, who may have snatched his magical dragon stones. Schilling’s well drawn, vibrant world elevates his story above the standard adventure quest. His lively, amusing dialogue complements a fantastical world where fish flit through the air like bees (and may accidentally transport you elsewhere), manta rays make shy cabbies, crushed flowers pop back to life and magic permeates everything. While adults will find the narrative captivating, this book is tailor-made for storytime read-alouds.

An artfully crafted tale with mesmerizing details and a subtle exploration of free will and good versus evil.

Pub Date: July 15, 2005

ISBN: 0-595-36189-7

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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