ADEM'S CROSS

Adem, a 14-year-old Albanian, lives in Kosovo, a former province of what was Yugoslavia and is now controlled by the cruel and capricious Serbian military. Life for Adem is grim under the new regime, with food, water, and electricity shortages; worse is the constant persecution by Serb soldiers. The Albanian policy of passive resistance is fine, but when the Serbs become aware of it, retribution is swift and terrible. When his beloved older sister is gunned down after reading a poem to protest the proposed blowing up of a river, Adem and his family are singled out as troublemakers. As Adem is returning from an illicit visit to a friend one night, three soldiers accost him, crushing the bones in his hand with their boots and carving a large Cyrillic cross, the symbol of Serbia, on his chest with a pocket knife. He makes it home—barely—but knows that the persecution will not stop. He resolves to leave, setting out across the mountains. Mead (Junebug, 1995) shows dreadful aspects of the Balkan conflict by depicting the suffering of the people involved. The story is not a pretty one, but it makes some powerful points about innocent people caught up in ethnic struggles and the horrors of life under a totalitarian regime. (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 1996

ISBN: 0-374-30057-7

Page Count: 132

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1996

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

A humdinger of a cliffhanger will leave readers clamoring for volume three.

CATCHING FIRE

From the Hunger Games series , Vol. 2

In the sequel to the hugely popular The Hunger Games (2008), Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, having won the annual Games, are now rich and famous—and trapped in the fiction that they are lovers. They are seen as a threat to the Capitol, their unusual manner of winning an act of rebellion that could inspire uprisings throughout Panem. Knowing her life is in danger, Katniss considers escaping with her family and friends but instead reluctantly assumes the role of a rebel, almost forced into it by threats from the insidious President Snow.

Beyond the expert world building, the acute social commentary and the large cast of fully realized characters, there’s action, intrigue, romance and some amount of hope in a story readers will find completely engrossing. Collins weaves in enough background for this novel to stand alone, but it will be a far richer experience for those who have read the first installment and come to love Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch and the rest of the desperate residents of this dystopia.

A humdinger of a cliffhanger will leave readers clamoring for volume three. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-439-02349-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2009

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more