GIFT OF THE UNMAGE

WORLDWEAVERS, BOOK ONE

Try to imagine Carlos Castaneda’s mythos meeting Orson Scott Card’s Tales of Alvin Maker(with the substitution of a depressed adolescent female protagonist), and you’ll have a feel for this fantasy stew. Teenaged Thea, scion of a family of mages, shows no sign of mystical ability and is transported to a distant time and dimension for training by Native American avatars—a spiritual warrior and Grandmother Spider, the world’s weaver. Several subplots involving Thea’s family and the backgrounds of her friends at a school for the magically challenged supplement the complex main plot—which remains obscure until the last third of the book. Cardboard adult characters are predominately unhelpful; only the mythic characters (both human and animal) support the teenager emotionally and magically. The plot is suspenseful and engrossing with likable teen characters having to save the world from a mysterious entity introduced by greedy aliens. The combination of suspense, magic and teen angst will appeal to young-adult fans of Isobel Bird’s Circle of Three series and Tamara Pierce’s Circle of Magic books. (Fantasy. 13-16)

Pub Date: March 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-06-083955-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Eos/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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CLOCKWORK ANGEL

From the Infernal Devices series , Vol. 1

A century before the events of Clare’s Mortal Instruments trilogy, another everyday heroine gets entangled with demon-slaying Shadowhunters. Sixteen-year-old orphaned Tessa comes to London to join her brother but is imprisoned by the grotesque Dark Sisters. The sisters train the unwilling Tessa in previously unknown shapeshifter abilities, preparing her to be a pawn in some diabolical plan. A timely rescue brings Tessa to the Institute, where a group of misfit Shadowhunters struggles to fight evil. Though details differ, the general flavor of Tessa’s new family will be enjoyably familiar to the earlier trilogy’s fans; the most important is Tessa’s rescuer Will, the gorgeous, sharp-tongued teenager with a mysterious past and a smile like “Lucifer might have smiled, moments before he fell from Heaven.” The lush, melodramatic urban fantasy setting of the Shadowhunter world morphs seamlessly into a steampunk Victorian past, and this new series provides the setup for what will surely be a climactic battle against hordes of demonically powered brass clockworks. The tale drags in places, but this crowdpleaser’s tension-filled conclusion ratchets toward a new set of mysteries. (Steampunk. 13-15)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4169-7586-1

Page Count: 496

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2010

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NEW MOON

From the Twilight series , Vol. 2

All is not well between demon-magnet Bella and Edward Cullen, her vampire Romeo. An innocent papercut at Edward’s house puts Bella in grave danger when various members of the Cullen family can barely resist their hunger at the smell of blood. The Cullens promptly leave town, afraid of endangering Edward’s beloved, and Bella sinks into an overwhelming depression. Months later, she finally emerges from her funk to rebuild her life, focusing on her friendship with besotted teen Jacob from the reservation. Bella’s unhealthy enthrallment to Edward leads her into dangerous and self-destructive behavior despite her new friends, and supernatural complications are bound to reappear. Bella’s being hunted by an evil vampire, and Jacob’s adolescent male rage turns out to be incipient lycanthropy: It seems many Quileute Indians become werewolves in the presence of vampires, their natural enemies. Psychic miscommunications and angst-ridden dramatic gestures lead to an exciting page-turner of a conclusion drenched in the best of Gothic romantic excess. Despite Bella’s flat and obsessive personality, this tale of tortured demon lovers entices. (Fantasy. 13-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-316-16019-9

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Megan Tingley/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2006

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