Nevertheless, Streeter’s world is interesting and has potential; here’s hoping the writing will improve as the series...

SILVERWOOD

From the Silverwood series , Vol. 1

A time-traveling, portal-jumping sci-fi with multiple narrative perspectives.

The flap claims Helen Silverwood, a 14-year-old with a knack for hacking, is the protagonist of this tale, but her father, Gabriel, her mother, Kate, and various others share narrative space. After a bumpy start with clunky descriptions, readers learn that both Silverwood parents are ex-agents—people who protect the general population from the Tromindox, age-old predators of humans. Before the book’s action begins, a fallout with the Council (which controls the agents) landed Gabriel in prison, and Kate fled with Helen and son Henry to another time. Kate scrapes by bounty hunting Tromindox, but both Helen and Henry—unaware of the circumstances that necessitate their constant moves—are frustrated. When a disgruntled Council member allies with the Tromindox, both Silverwood children—who have special gifts: Helen can heal the humans on which Tromindox prey, and Henry can draw the future—are in danger. All the Silverwoods end up in an old ghost town where they discover an evil Tromindox plot. The third-person narration sometimes feels awkward, though the multiple points of view keep the pace moving. Additionally, some characters (Henry in particular) can feel inauthentic at times.

Nevertheless, Streeter’s world is interesting and has potential; here’s hoping the writing will improve as the series continues. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-61153-119-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Light Messages

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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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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