A fantasy romance novel that shows much promise as the kickoff to a series.

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LEGACY

From the Legacy Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A princess must choose between her kingdom and her true love.

  Princess Alera, heiress to the throne of Hytanica, has reached a crossroads in her life. She has agreed to marry to benefit her kingdom. But Alera is displeased with her father’s choice of suitor, the egocentric and arrogant Lord Steldor. Selected for his firm hand and military skill, Steldor can expect to wield much power over the inquisitive and spirited princess–Hytanic tradition favors the rule of males, so Alera must settle down and defer to her leading man. As preparations for marriage are made, the return of a long-lost child of Hytanica, Narian, from the rival Cokyri people sends shockwaves through the kingdom–and Alera’s heart. The Cokyri are renowned for their violent and bloodthirsty ways, and Narian is welcomed warily by the masses. Alera is quick to warm to him–he is mysterious and daring, fearless and capable. And Narian takes her seriously. Their clandestine relationship leads Alera to take dangerous risks, especially when the Cokyrians’ plans to reclaim Narian as their own come to light. The looming conflict jeopardizes their nascent love affair, as well as the whole of Hytanica. The princess finds herself not only pitted between two suitors but forced to decide between her royal obligations and her heart’s deepest desire. Debut novelist Kluver’s solid world-building skills flesh out this dynamic coming-of-age romance with strong detail and cultural development. Alera is fiery and likable and will find favor among young adult readers. Lively secondary characters, with the exception of a somewhat flat depiction of Steldor, and sharp dialogue, combined with richly imagined Hytanic legend and history, keep the pace of this epic moving until the last scene. However, the tale’s abrupt cliffhanger leaves both major story lines frustratingly stalled until the sequel.

A fantasy romance novel that shows much promise as the kickoff to a series.

Pub Date: April 15, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-9802089-7-9

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2011

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Well-drawn characters and playful twists keep this thriller fully charged.

MALICE

This YA SF novel features a teen who must halt a virus that will kill two-thirds of humanity.

In Silver Oak, Maryland, Alice Sherman is a high school junior enjoying lunch near her campus basketball court. With her is Archie, her brother, a senior and science prodigy who likes equations more than his fellow students. Alice has been Archie’s one true friend since their mother left six years ago. Alice is about to catch up with Lalana Bunyasarn, her best friend, when a sudden “streak of electricity zaps through” her head. The agony intensifies until a Voice enters Alice’s mind, asking her, “Do you want this pain to stop?” The Voice then instructs her to go up to Bandit Sakda, a classmate playing basketball, and say that she loves him. Bandit is a beautiful Thai boy who’s talented and arrogant. Strangely, the Voice calls her Malice and says not to fall for him because “it’ll only make what you have to do later harder.” Eventually, Alice learns that the Voice belongs to someone from 10 years in the future who needs help saving humanity. A virus will be created by a person Alice knows that will wipe out two-thirds of the world population. Following the Voice’s directions can save everyone—except the person Alice is ordered to kill. Dunn’s (Star-Crossed, 2018, etc.) latest YA adventure offers increasingly tantalizing twists that gleam in succession like nested matryoshka dolls. Alice will charm readers with her quirks, especially her devotion to Chris Hemsworth of Marvel’s Avengers films. Tension builds as characters in the large cast, including crushworthy Zeke Cain and the brilliant Cristela Ruiz, become potential targets for Alice’s mission. Details about Thai culture add a splendid dimension to the narrative; for example, Bandit is pronounced “bun-dit” and means “one who is wise.” While the notion of a high school killer may not sit well with some, the author doesn’t use the device lightly. Her book takes a strong anti-bullying stance, doing so through an entertaining narrative that doesn’t resort to preaching. The author’s heart and craftiness make a sequel welcome.

Well-drawn characters and playful twists keep this thriller fully charged.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64063-412-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Entangled: Teen

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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LYDDIE

Abandoned by their mother, whose mental stability has been crumbling since her husband went west, Lyddie and her brother Charlie manage alone through a Vermont winter. But in the spring of 1844, without consulting them, the mother apprentices Charlie to a miller and hires Lyddie out to a tavern, where she is little better than a slave. Still, Lyddie is strong and indomitable, and the cook is friendly even if the mistress is cold and stern; Lyddie manages well enough until a run-in with the mistress sends her south to work in the mills of Lowell, Massachusetts, thus earning a better wage (in a vain hope of saving the family farm), making friends among the other girls enduring the long hours and dangerous conditions, and expanding her understanding of loyalty, generosity, and injustice (she already knows more than most people ever learn about perseverance). Knowing only her own troubled family, Lyddie is unusually reserved, even for a New Englander, With her usual discernment and consummate skill, Paterson depicts her gradually turning toward the warmth of others' kindnesses—Betsy reads Oliver Twist aloud and suggests the ultimate goal of Oberlin College; Diana teaches Lyddie to cope in the mill, setting an example that Lyddie later follows with an Irish girl who is even more naive than she had been; Quaker neighbors offer help and solace that Lyddie at first rejects out of hand. Deftly plotted and rich in incident, a well-researched picture of the period—and a memorable portrait of an untutored but intelligent young woman making her way against fierce odds.

Pub Date: March 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-525-67338-5

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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