Next book


From the Enchanter's Child series , Vol. 1

An unmitigated delight.

In this series opener from Septimus Heap creator Sage, an oracle’s accidentally truthful prophecy feeds a monarch’s paranoia and prompts his magically enforced ban on Enchanters.

Ten years ago, unable to escape themselves, Alex’s parents handed her to a woman with two daughters on the last train out of Rekadom. Now 11, Alex endures life as Mirram’s foster daughter and bullied household drudge. Secretly reading cards in the Luma marketplace yields her spending money—also danger; Sentinels are everywhere, enforcing the city’s ban on Enchanters and their magic. Alex fears she’s been seen reading for her last customer, Benn. Instead, Mirram’s youngest daughter Names not only Alex, but her own mother and little brother, Louie, to the Sentinels. Dire consequences ensue. Fleeing with Louie and the family’s pet pokkle, Alex is spotted by King Belamus’ magical enforcers: the enormous Hawke and its novice Flyer, who, fortunately, can’t bring himself to shoot them or his next Quarry, an old man in the forest. Once again, Sage offers intricate worldbuilding, richly evocative settings, nuanced characters (all have flaws and don’t always manifest their good intentions), deftly woven plotting, and wry humor. The downside to eating dried snake is revealed; the royal ex-Enchanter offers caustic comments on the king’s penchant for alliteration; and visitors making the arduous climb to question the Oracle are confronted with a “No Picnicking” sign. Characters are default white.

An unmitigated delight. (Fantasy. 10-13)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-287514-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

Next book


From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

Next book


From the School for Good and Evil series , Vol. 1

Rich and strange (and kitted out with an eye-catching cover), but stronger in the set pieces than the internal logic.

Chainani works an elaborate sea change akin to Gregory Maguire’s Wicked (1995), though he leaves the waters muddied.

Every four years, two children, one regarded as particularly nice and the other particularly nasty, are snatched from the village of Gavaldon by the shadowy School Master to attend the divided titular school. Those who survive to graduate become major or minor characters in fairy tales. When it happens to sweet, Disney princess–like Sophie and  her friend Agatha, plain of features, sour of disposition and low of self-esteem, they are both horrified to discover that they’ve been dropped not where they expect but at Evil and at Good respectively. Gradually—too gradually, as the author strings out hundreds of pages of Hogwarts-style pranks, classroom mishaps and competitions both academic and romantic—it becomes clear that the placement wasn’t a mistake at all. Growing into their true natures amid revelations and marked physical changes, the two spark escalating rivalry between the wings of the school. This leads up to a vicious climactic fight that sees Good and Evil repeatedly switching sides. At this point, readers are likely to feel suddenly left behind, as, thanks to summary deus ex machina resolutions, everything turns out swell(ish).

Rich and strange (and kitted out with an eye-catching cover), but stronger in the set pieces than the internal logic. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: May 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-210489-2

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

Close Quickview