Mackie's nauseated by the scent of blood, is burned by cold iron and would die if he entered a church. None of this helps him avoid notice in his hometown, where close-mouthed neighbors hang horseshoes and leave milk in the garden. No quaint old-world superstitions, these; in the town of Gentry, a child dies mysteriously every seven years. Mackie's been raised to avoid notice, so nobody will recognize him for the changeling his parents and adoring sister know him to be. But with another baby apparently dead and blood and iron all over town, Mackie's having a hard enough time staying upright, let alone under the radar. Soon the sickly boy meets the Morrigan and her court: a mishmash of Celtic mythology with British folklore, elfpunk music and adorable Tim Burton–esque horrors. There's romance and rescue (though mercifully no Edward Cullen types to replace the tale's endearing original couple). Some of the urban-fantasy elements get dropped in the crowd partway through, but enough grotesque goodies remain to keep this a fast-paced, dark delicacy. (Urban fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59514-337-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2010

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Not much forward momentum but a tasty array of chills, thrills, and chortles.


From the Peculiar Children series , Vol. 4

The victory of Jacob and his fellow peculiars over the previous episode’s wights and hollowgasts turns out to be only one move in a larger game as Riggs (Tales of the Peculiar, 2016, etc.) shifts the scene to America.

Reading largely as a setup for a new (if not exactly original) story arc, the tale commences just after Jacob’s timely rescue from his decidedly hostile parents. Following aimless visits back to newly liberated Devil’s Acre and perfunctory normalling lessons for his magically talented friends, Jacob eventually sets out on a road trip to find and recruit Noor, a powerful but imperiled young peculiar of Asian Indian ancestry. Along the way he encounters a semilawless patchwork of peculiar gangs, syndicates, and isolated small communities—many at loggerheads, some in the midst of negotiating a tentative alliance with the Ymbryne Council, but all threatened by the shadowy Organization. The by-now-tangled skein of rivalries, romantic troubles, and family issues continues to ravel amid bursts of savage violence and low comedy (“I had never seen an invisible person throw up before,” Jacob writes, “and it was something I won’t soon forget”). A fresh set of found snapshots serves, as before, to add an eldritch atmosphere to each set of incidents. The cast defaults to white but includes several people of color with active roles.

Not much forward momentum but a tasty array of chills, thrills, and chortles. (Horror/Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-3214-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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A bridge between paranormals and boys' realism about thugs and delinquents, reminiscent of Neal Shusterman's Dark Fusion:...



From the Other series , Vol. 2

How many metaphors can one werewolf embody?

In the case of incipient teen wolf Brock, it's an easy two. His lycanthropy, held temporarily at bay by medication, makes his facial hair grow "so much faster than it did before," keeps him hungry although he just "had two roast beef sandwiches and an apple turnover shake" and forces him to fantasize about his ex-girlfriend, Cyn, who "drives [him] wild." In other words, he's a teenage boy. Meanwhile, parallels are continually drawn between the racism practiced against werewolves and humans; the same sheriff who tells a werewolf mother, "I should put a bullet in your brain right now and spare myself the paperwork," begins the novel by pulling Cyn over for Driving While Latina. Amid all this metaphor, there manages to be plot—Brock, previously vilely racist against Others, now has to come to terms with his new identity while fleeing the bigoted lawman. Despite Brock's infantile behavior, the werewolf pack feels responsibility for having turned him (though the original bite was an act of self-defense). Unless he can overcome his own self-loathing and guilt, Brock will wind up dead, maybe bringing Cyn with him.

 A bridge between paranormals and boys' realism about thugs and delinquents, reminiscent of Neal Shusterman's Dark Fusion: Red Rider's Hood (2005) . (Paranormal. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7387-1920-7

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Flux

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2011

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