When teenage Lovecraft aficionado Sean stumbles across a guide to the classic author’s magic in an old Rhode Island...

SUMMONED

From the Redemption’s Heir series , Vol. 2

For the love of Lovecraft.

When teenage Lovecraft aficionado Sean stumbles across a guide to the classic author’s magic in an old Rhode Island bookshop, he finds an email contact for a 17th-century wizard inside. Sean eventually makes the connection, resulting in a series of magical misfires in which he conjures the dark lord himself, creating a murderous, demonic Servitor that could drive him into madness. Pillsworth’s first novel takes a while to hit its stride: The first 70-plus pages are steeped in heaps of Lovecraft-ian lore, which will test even the most patient teen readers. Characterizations and plot all take second place to page upon page of exhaustive Lovecraft history, tales and characters (readers don’t get a sense of what Sean looks like until they’re well into the story, for instance). She also builds an odd supporting cast: Sean’s teen friend disappears from the text only to be replaced by his dad and a 25-year-old student, who take on more than adults usually do in the genre. All this said, the plot does take off once the spells have been cast and the damage is done, and readers—if they can weather the exposition—will find themselves plunged in a race against time as Sean works to uncover how to put an end to the demon he created. A stop-and-go tribute to a classic horror author. (Horror. 12-18) .

A stop-and-go tribute to a classic horror author(Horror. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7653-3589-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge.

THE LAKE

Two teens with a dark secret return to their old summer camp.

Childhood friends Esme and Kayla can’t wait to return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors-in-training, ready to try everything they couldn’t do when they were younger: find cute boys, stay up late, and sneak out after hours. Even Andy, their straight-laced supervisor, can’t dampen their excitement, especially after they meet the crushworthy Olly and Jake. An intuitive 17-year-old, Esme is ready to jump in and teach her cute little campers. But when a threatening message appears, Esme and Kayla realize the secret they’ve kept hidden for nearly a decade is no longer safe. Paranoia and fear soon cause Esme and Kayla to revisit their ominous secret and realize that nobody in the camp can be trusted. The slow buildup of suspense and the use of classic horror elements contrast with lighthearted camp activities, bonding with new friends, and budding romance. Similarly, Esme’s first-person point of view allows for increased tension and action as well as offering insight into her emotional and mental well-being. Discussions of adulthood, trauma, and recovery are subtle and realistic, but acts of sexism and machismo aren’t fully analyzed. While the strong buildup of action comes late, it leads to a shockingly satisfying finale. Major characters are White.

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12497-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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An epic series opener of old-school high fantasy catering to modern audiences.

REALM BREAKER

When the realm is in danger, only a small band of misfits can save Allward.

An in medias res prologue, told from the point of view of the lone squire accompanying the 12 Companions of the Realm, tosses readers into the thick of a quest. Half the Companions are human heroes and half are immortal Elders; they seek to stop a rogue thief and his wizard accomplice from using a magical Spindle to tear a passage between worlds for nefarious ends. A disastrous battle sends squire Andry fleeing with Cortael’s sword so villain Taristan can’t get his hands on it. Grieving Elder Dom requires both a person of Corblood (a descendant of human travelers from another realm) and the Spindleblade Andry protects to stop Taristan from bringing ruin to the realm. Dom seeks Cortael’s secret daughter, Corayne, a bright but sheltered teenager with a pirate mother. At times the narrative tension is undermined by flashbacks that readers already know the conclusions to and by occasional repetition caused by the multiple point-of-view jumps, but there’s a wide variety of action scenes, daring escapes, and betrayals. Many tropes and character types are familiar, but exquisite descriptions and clashing motivations result in a nuanced, sprawling realm with a sense of complicated history. This world is highly diverse in terms of both skin tone and in the refreshing range of roles female characters inhabit.

An epic series opener of old-school high fantasy catering to modern audiences. (map) (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-287262-3

Page Count: 576

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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