The stakes have never been higher in Pack’s inventive epic.

Second Chronicles of Illumination

Pack’s encore batch of riveting adventures about an interdimensional library system.

In Chronicles: The Library of Illumination (2014), readers met Johanna Charette and Jackson Roth, teens who co-curate a library where the subjects of books can enter the real world. In their first five adventures, the two faced increasingly complex situations that tested their inquisitiveness and loyalty to each other. This second volume reprints the fifth story, “Portals,” to reintroduce audiences to the 13 Libraries of Illumination set on different worlds, including Romantica, Scientico, Terroria, and Fantasia (Earth). The next entry, “The Overseers,” brings the teens to Lumina, the prime library realm, where Johanna’s mentor, Mal, is tested for a position in the College of Overseers, which runs the library system. Competing against Mal is Terroria’s horridly ambitious Nero 51 (introduced in “Portals”). “Myrddin’s Memoir,” a novella-length sequel, sees a book arrive on Johanna’s desk that proves to be the legendary wizard Merlin’s diary of spells. The wizard projects himself through the open volume and explains to Johanna that someone wants to steal his work and must be stopped at all costs. The collection ends with a preview of “Escape to Mysteriose,” the next story in Pack’s deftly expanding universe. As in the first Chronicles, the relationship between 18-year-old Johanna and slightly younger Jackson is grounded in light romance and sarcasm; when he suggests he’s one of a kind, she replies, “We can only hope.” Pack’s prose is lucid and tight, especially when explaining the libraries’ logistics: “This is a Library of Illumination. When the information kept here disappears, the contents of [citizens’] personally owned literature and documents will vanish.” Nero 51, meanwhile, is a master manipulator who lies as steadily as a heart beats; he also smells like “a chemical factory built in a field of rotting flesh.” Pack’s aptitude for spinning plots major (time travel) and minor (Pru Tellerence’s missing child) continues to make this a singularly engaging series.

The stakes have never been higher in Pack’s inventive epic.

Pub Date: June 30, 2015

ISBN: 978-0991542857

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Artiqua Press

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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