Exciting stuff, yet again.


From the Nightshade series

This prequel to the popular Nightshade trilogy takes readers to Scotland in 1404, where the Searchers and Keepers conflict begins.

Readers won’t find any hint of paranormal wolves here. Sixteen-year-old Ember, from a noble family, yearns to become a warrior instead of a wife. Her friend Alistair, who secretly has taught her swordplay, happily accompanies her when she joins Conatus, a successor group to the Knights Templar that protects the world from evil supernatural forces such as hobgoblins. Conatus accepts women as warriors, continuing the overall series’ theme of personal freedom, and Ember eagerly chooses that role. She falls for Barrow, her mentor, but Alistair also declares his love for her. Meanwhile, serious outbreaks of wraiths occur, and the group captures a sorcerer who leads one of Conatus’ leaders to Bosque Mar, a strange entity who offers the group revenge against the Abbot who has threatened Conatus. While Ember secretly yearns for Barrow and fights for Conatus, a staged wraith attack convinces some to join with Bosque Mar. Although she gets dates right, the author doesn’t bother too much with historical accuracy, using the setting mainly to provide a fantasy atmosphere. However, the highly readable prose style that captured so many fans for her trilogy is very much in evidence. The resolution leaves plenty of room for more entries.

Exciting stuff, yet again. (Fantasy suspense. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-399-25613-4

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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Auxier has a juggler’s dexterity with prose that makes this fantastical tale quicken the senses, even if it does bog down...


What begins Dickensian turns Tolkien-esque in this quest replete with magic and mystery.

Peter Nimble is an orphan. Blinded by ravens in infancy and made to steal for the town’s beggar-monger (think Fagin), Peter becomes an expert thief and pickpocket. His wretched existence changes when he steals a box containing eggs that are actually three pairs of magical eyes. When Peter drops the first pair into his eye-sockets, he’s instantly swept away. Thus begins a perilous adventure wrought from a riddle found in a bottle. After much travail, Peter learns that the mysterious eyes are not always dependable. He seeks and eventually finds a vanished kingdom, where he faces a tyrannical king. The king has brainwashed all the adults and enslaved all of their children, who are controlled by a horde of bloodthirsty apes. The action never flags, even though the suspense does. With one onslaught after another, the violence turns from suggested to overt, with weaponry and bloody battles. Solving the riddle and embracing his destiny are just the beginning of Peter’s problems. In the end it’s Peter’s true talents, not magic, that prove most reliable.

Auxier has a juggler’s dexterity with prose that makes this fantastical tale quicken the senses, even if it does bog down from time to time. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0025-5

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2011

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From the Nola's Worlds series

Bubble-gum–tinged whimsy abounds in this stylish French graphic-novel import. Cotton-candy–tressed Nola spends her days dreaming in her peaceful town, Alta Donna. Her world is cozy and ordinary until she meets the aloof and mysterious Damiano and Inés. Nola quickly learns that there are strange forces after the siblings and is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery. Nola and her friends radiate a funky fashion sense, constantly changing clothes and hairstyles; it’s hard to imagine a reader who wouldn’t want to raid her closet. This first installment propels forward with the force of a rocket—albeit a very pink, fanciful one. Luckily for the ravenous reader, the whole trilogy releases simultaneously (#2, Ferrets and Ferreting Out, PLB: 978-0-7613-6504-4; #3, Even for a Dreamer Like Me, PLB: 978-0-7613-6505-1). Though it's a fantastic visual experience, the actual plot is thin; even as Nola delves into the mystery in the subsequent volumes, the narrative never really gains any degree of complexity. However, with its upbeat palette (courtesy of Pop), manga-inspired art and hip characters, this charmer is sure to please preteen girls. (Graphic fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7613-6538-9

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2010

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