ALEXANDER'S ARMY by Chris d’Lacey


From the "Unicorne Files" series, volume 2
Age Range: 11 - 13
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A teenager struggling to control his ability to transform reality undertakes a mission for the secretive organization that recruited him in the opener.

Airily neglecting to clarify or even significantly advance any of the plotlines introduced in Dark Inheritance (2014), d’Lacey pitches his mercurial protagonist, Michael, into inconclusive encounters with the mendacious director of UNICORNE (“UNexplained Incidents, Cryptic Occurrences, Relative Nontemporal Events”), a telekinetic foe with a squad of hobbit-sized invisible World War I “Tommies” in reluctant thrall, and an ally buried in the first episode but now come back as a shape-shifting crow. Into this incoherent mess, the author also chucks arbitrary ambushes, ray guns and other futuristic tech, obscure references to an important “artifact,” and tiny organisms called Mleptra that can do anything the plot requires, from healing wounds to throwing up force fields. Though he does pull off a clever stunt with a grenade at a climactic moment, Michael, never the brightest bulb in the room, is consistently outthought, outfought and at every turn in need of rescue. Also of having things spelled out for him—a trait that will be welcomed by readers gamely trying to slog through the murk of ambiguous agendas, half-truths, evasions and outright lies to catch some glimmer of what’s really going on. The effort will be in vain.

A hodgepodge of contrived set pieces and tired X-Files–style tropes, with no sign of resolution. (Adventure. 11-13)

Pub Date: May 26th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-545-60880-0
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2015


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