From the Infernal Devices series , Vol. 1

A century before the events of Clare’s Mortal Instruments trilogy, another everyday heroine gets entangled with demon-slaying Shadowhunters. Sixteen-year-old orphaned Tessa comes to London to join her brother but is imprisoned by the grotesque Dark Sisters. The sisters train the unwilling Tessa in previously unknown shapeshifter abilities, preparing her to be a pawn in some diabolical plan. A timely rescue brings Tessa to the Institute, where a group of misfit Shadowhunters struggles to fight evil. Though details differ, the general flavor of Tessa’s new family will be enjoyably familiar to the earlier trilogy’s fans; the most important is Tessa’s rescuer Will, the gorgeous, sharp-tongued teenager with a mysterious past and a smile like “Lucifer might have smiled, moments before he fell from Heaven.” The lush, melodramatic urban fantasy setting of the Shadowhunter world morphs seamlessly into a steampunk Victorian past, and this new series provides the setup for what will surely be a climactic battle against hordes of demonically powered brass clockworks. The tale drags in places, but this crowdpleaser’s tension-filled conclusion ratchets toward a new set of mysteries. (Steampunk. 13-15)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4169-7586-1

Page Count: 496

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2010


More than a decade after the publication of the first books in this trilogy (Which Way Freedom, 1986; Out From This Place 1988), Hansen completes her story of Obi and Easter, two escaped slaves from South Carolina, who become separated during the Civil War. After leaving the army, Obi searches for Easter, learning that she has moved to Philadelphia to become a teacher, but intends to establish her home in the black settlement of New Canaan. While awaiting her return, Obi struggles to care for Grace, Scipio, and Araba, three orphans who fled a massacre in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, a black town destroyed by whites. Much of the story is told in letters between Obi and Easter, as Obi fights storms, disease, and bigotry while he builds a carpentry business. His love for Easter and her determination to help build New Canaan finally leads Obi to find his place in life. While the earlier novels set forth the romance more clearly, this one is just as strong in its enlivening depiction of African-American history. Hansen deftly weaves real historical events into the novel, presenting a vivid account of a budding black settlement during Reconstruction. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8027-8636-7

Page Count: 174

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999


Masquerading as a man, a young woman sets out to find her friend’s killer in New York and London at the turn of the century; disguise proves to be simultaneously liberating and imprisoning in Lewin’s big-canvas historical novel. No one is who she or he seems to be, not the gender-bending heroine Jackie who spends most of her life as Jack so she can play baseball; not her best friend, Nance, a black performer who “passes” as white, and who dies of a stab wound in the opening pages. Cleverly structured and meticulously detailed so that every piece of information neatly clicks into the jigsaw-puzzle ending, the novel runs on two tracks. One chronicles Jackie’s past history starting with her grandmother (whose incredible life both mirrors and influences her granddaughter’s); the other details her current adventures as the avenger of her best friend, along with a surprise unveiling of her father’s murderer. After a vivid trip through 19th-century America, the novel concludes in and around the music halls of London, where Jackie’s past and present converge. The derring-do climax fails to ignite, for this is a book in which the journey surpasses the destination, but overall Lewin produces a grand adventure that readers won’t soon forget. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-6225-4

Page Count: 520

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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