An entertaining if not entirely transparent sequel.

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SILVER SHARD

From the Silverwood series , Vol. 2

In this follow-up to Silverwood (2015), the Silverwood clan must ensure its old enemy doesn’t escape its supernatural prison.

Streeter treats readers to a fairy-tale–esque prologue telling the story of a girl who is banished because of her power to predict negative future events and who grows up to be the ancestor of the Silverwoods. In the modern world, the Silverwoods, a close-knit white family, are camping when they learn that their cousin, bearer of half of the “portal coin” that locked away Monder, a powerful, evil, human-gobbling Tromindox, needs to pass the burden along. Throughout the book, the various Silverwoods are desperate to do three things: keep Monder imprisoned; guard their half of the portal coin; and find the Silver Shard, the only thing that can permanently destroy the portal coin and ensure that Monder never escapes. Through the nonstop action that ensues, adults often act as point-of-view characters, though Helen and, especially, Henry Silverwood are still major figures in the narrative. When Henry is abducted by Monder, Helen takes it upon herself to save him, but each character has an important role to play if they are to win the day. There’s a lot of talk about portals and time and space that’s not entirely clear. Readers may not be able to decide if the world Streeter offers actually makes sense, but if an engaging narrative is what readers crave, complete comprehension may be a sacrifice worth making.

An entertaining if not entirely transparent sequel. (Fantasy. 12 & up)

Pub Date: July 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61153-169-5

Page Count: 290

Publisher: Light Messages

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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THE LIGHTNING THIEF

From the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series , Vol. 1

Edgar Award–winning Riordan leaves the adult world of mystery to begin a fantasy series for younger readers. Twelve-year-old Percy (full name, Perseus) Jackson has attended six schools in six years. Officially diagnosed with ADHD, his lack of self-control gets him in trouble again and again. What if it isn’t his fault? What if all the outrageous incidents that get him kicked out of school are the result of his being a “half-blood,” the product of a relationship between a human and a Greek god? Could it be true that his math teacher Mrs. Dodds transformed into a shriveled hag with bat wings, a Fury, and was trying to kill him? Did he really vanquish her with a pen that turned into a sword? One need not be an expert in Greek mythology to enjoy Percy’s journey to retrieve Zeus’s master bolt from the Underworld, but those who are familiar with the deities and demi-gods will have many an ah-ha moment. Along the way, Percy and his cohort run into Medusa, Cerberus and Pan, among others. The sardonic tone of the narrator’s voice lends a refreshing air of realism to this riotously paced quest tale of heroism that questions the realities of our world, family, friendship and loyalty. (Fantasy. 12-15)

Pub Date: July 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7868-5629-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2005

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The satisfyingly cataclysmic showdowns yield to peaceful resolution at last; here's hoping it holds this time.

THE BLOOD OF OLYMPUS

From the Heroes of Olympus series , Vol. 5

With just 12 days to go until Gaea awakens fully on Aug. 1 and brings an end to the world as we know it, two groups of demigods struggle to stop her.

Aboard the Argo II, Percy, Annabeth, Jason, Piper, Frank, Hazel and Leo race to Athens for the final showdown. Meanwhile, three formerly supporting characters struggle to haul the ancient and massive Athena Parthenos statue from Europe to Camp Half-Blood: son of Hades Nico di Angelo, daughter of Bellona Reyna Ramírez-Arellano (and former praetor at New Rome) and satyr Coach Hedge. Coach Hedge is there mostly for comic relief, but his anxiety for the welfare of his very pregnant wood-nymph wife at Camp Half-Blood, where rogue New Rome augur Octavian has massed his armies to attack on Aug. 1, is touchingly genuine. The story of the demigods headed to Athens focuses on Jason, Piper and Leo and offers what Riordan does best: comedic, action-packed encounters with deities most readers—and sometimes characters—have never heard of. Goddess of victory Nike is particularly funny as she rails against "namby-pamby ideas of friendship and everybody wins participation awards." The story's emotional heft mostly comes from Nico's and Reyna's arduous and heartfelt journeys to self-acceptance. Readers who haven't made a point of revisiting The House of Hades (2013) before starting this may find themselves wondering just why each group's mission is so important, but there's no questioning that the characters think they're vital. And ultimately, any prophecy-driven adventure is at bottom arbitrary anyway. The story's occasional ventures into romance are stilted and awkward, but fortunately they are brief.

The satisfyingly cataclysmic showdowns yield to peaceful resolution at last; here's hoping it holds this time. (Fantasy. 10-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-4673-5

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2014

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