A dark but graceful parable of temptation, pride, revenge and hope; ideal for classroom reading.

DARKWATER

A slim, elegant retelling of the classic Faustian fable, with an inspirational twist.

Victorian adolescent Sarah may be a menial drudge, but she never forgets that she is also the last of the arrogant aristocratic Trevelyans, now fallen into shameful penury. So she cannot refuse Lord Azrael, the current owner of her ancestral Darkwater Hall, when he offers proper work, real learning and even a chance to win back everything her family lost; all she has to risk is her soul. One hundred years later, Tom is another destitute and bullied teen, who would give anything to attend the elite school at Darkwater Hall—anything but the ghostly presence of his twin brother, Simon. When he meets a weird (but oddly mature) girl named Sarah, she warns him away from the new teacher, Azrael—who has just tempted Tom with the education he craves. While not as dense or subtle as her more recent work, this reissue of an early Fisher novel displays her spare lyrical prose and evocative sense of place. (This is its first U.S. publication.) The characters may be paper-thin and their motivations opaque, but they serve as effective players for a morality tale. Readers acquainted with Goethe, Milton or alchemical lore will be rewarded by a plethora of allusions both obvious and sly; but even those unfamiliar with the legendary source material will appreciate the layered symbolism and uplifting message.

A dark but graceful parable of temptation, pride, revenge and hope; ideal for classroom reading. (Fantasy. 11-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3818-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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More terrific combat scenes, but a bit too heavy on character development to fly at speed.

CYTONIC

From the Skyward series , Vol. 3

The third episode in the Skyward series sees red-hot space pilot Spensa Nightshade coming into her full powers as she battles both pirates and space monsters in a strange interdimensional nowhere.

Leaving her ongoing feud with evil galactic overlords on temporary hold back in the somewhere, Spensa passes through a portal to a realm where time and memories tend to slip away, bits of landscape randomly snipped from reality float like islands around a distant sunburst—and teeming hordes of disembodied, malevolent entities called delvers are relentlessly hunting her down. Fun as all the space-opera elements are, though, they continue a trend from the preceding volume in deadening the efforts of Spensa and sidekicks old and new to establish personal identities or backstories, wrestle with inner demons, or, in the case of the AI M-Bot, practice insults and deal with newly discovered emotions. A few wild aerial dogfights and larger battles later, however, Spensa has come into her cytonic superpowers, found out some crucial things about the delvers, and made her way back to the somewhere. Now for those overlords….McSweeney contributes a map, lovingly detailed sets of spaceship plans, and galleries of the multispecies cast members. Wild diversity of intergalactic body types notwithstanding, human members seem uniformly White.

More terrific combat scenes, but a bit too heavy on character development to fly at speed. (Science fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-399-55585-5

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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