A fantastical adventure full of hope.

THE FIREBIRD SONG

Two tweens embark on a journey to fulfill a prophecy and save their kingdom.

Years ago, Lyrica was filled with life, warmth, and hope, protected as it was by the Song and Feather of the Firebird. Until the night when the Spectress and the Demon of Fear filled the sky with darkness, killing the queen and everyone else in the castle—and leaving behind a cold land, devoid of hope. In the present, Prewitt is turning 12, the Age of Hope, and Granny Arila is finally telling him the truth about Lyrica’s dark past, satisfying his curiosity about things no one speaks of openly. Prewitt discovers not only that the Lost Princess survived that terrible night, but that their destinies are tied together through a mysterious prophecy. Prewitt leaves home, searching for the princess, and runs into Calliope, a girl who has been hidden from the world for 12 years. When he realizes she is the Lost Princess, something she had not known herself until recently, they embark on a dangerous quest to find the Firebird’s Feather and Song and save Lyrica. Their journey is a fast-paced adventure full of monsters and magic. Told in the third person, the book focuses on Calliope and Prewitt, but secondary characters’ stories are neatly woven in. Finding hope, true friendship, and bravery lies at the heart of their journey. Prewitt has brown hair and skin; black-haired Calliope has honeyed skin.

A fantastical adventure full of hope. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0512-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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Worthy of every magical ounce.

CURSE OF THE NIGHT WITCH

From the Emblem Island series , Vol. 1

New Year’s Eve has finally arrived on Emblem Island, and for 12-year-old Tor Luna, it means an opportunity to wish away the leadership emblem he so deeply loathes.

Amid the annual festivities, Tor casts his wish to the wish-gods in hopes of a new emblem—a marker on one’s skin—that will grant him the power to become a water-breather, forsaking the leadership path forged by his Chieftess mother. Alas, his wish backfires when he awakens the next day cursed with a shorter lifeline instead. It’s the Night Witch’s mark, a black eye marked upon his skin. Now the young boy must travel across Emblem Island to confront the wicked Night Witch and reverse the curse. With two companions—Engle, his comically brave best friend, and Melda, an intelligent, cunning girl—Tor embarks on an adventure charted in The Book of Cuentos, a collection of folklore based on the various enchanting, cruel inhabitants—Emblemite and beast alike—of Emblem Island. Aster’s debut includes the fruitful elements of a riveting tale: lovable characters, thrilling heroics, and villainous fiends. What sets this series opener apart is the author’s exquisite use of real Latin American folktales to broaden her fiction, bolstering the particulars of the world she creates here. Pages from The Book of Cuentos fill the gaps between each chapter, providing island lore for flavor and context. Tightly paced, Tor’s adventure concludes with a promise of more to come.

Worthy of every magical ounce. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-9720-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Sourcebooks Young Readers

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON

From the Where the Mountain Meets the Moon series , Vol. 1

To change her family’s fortunes, a poor Chinese girl embarks on a fantastical quest to discover she already has everything she needs to be happy. Minli and her parents live in the shadow of Fruitless Mountain, where they toil endlessly. Bitter and resentful, Minli’s mother complains when her husband fills Minli’s imagination with enchanting tales of Never-Ending Mountain and the Old Man of the Moon. “Eager for adventure,” Minli sets out alone seeking advice from the Old Man of the Moon. En route she befriends a dragon who joins her quest. Together they encounter a talking goldfish, a boy with a buffalo, a king, a fierce green tiger and laughing twins before scaling Never-Ending Mountain. Lin deftly incorporates elements from Chinese folk- and fairy tales to create stories within the main story and provide context for Minli’s quest. With her “lively and impulsive spirit,” Minli emerges a stalwart female role model who learns the importance of family, friendship and faith during her amazing journey. Richly hued illustrations reinforce the Chinese folk theme. (author’s note) (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-316-11427-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2009

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