From the Stoker & Holmes series , Vol. 3

These squabbling BFFs will continue to please their fans, though they are unlikely to win new ones

The intrepid detective/vampire-slayer team of Stoker and Holmes returns for a third diverting steampunk mystery (The Spiritglass Charade, 2014, etc.).

Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes have collaborated on solving mysteries before. Action-oriented Evaline is a hereditary slayer of UnDead while Mina is a condescending mistress of deduction, much like her famous uncle. Or, as Evaline says, "I'm not the one who finds out things….I'm the one who does things." The girls react with dismayed pride when asked to entertain visiting Princess Lurelia of Betrovia. It's good to be trusted, but neither young lady has any desire to go about in society. Evaline would rather wear trousers and slay vampires in the vilest parts of London. Mina loves to wear pretty clothes but lacks any desire to make polite conversation. Luckily, disaster strikes: a guard is murdered, a gift between nations is stolen, and the princess is threatened by a mysterious figure the girls suspect is Mina's nemesis, the Ankh. This gives Mina the opportunity to deduce cleverly in the presence of her swain, the equally clever Inspector Grayling, while Evaline slays vampires while flirting with Cockney criminal mastermind Pix. The mystery moves at a glacial pace, as does the romantic build, despite the setup. The reappearance of Olympia Babbage ("granddaughter of some famous inventor") is, sadly, a mere side note.

These squabbling BFFs will continue to please their fans, though they are unlikely to win new ones . (Steampunk. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-4317-0

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015


From the Legend series , Vol. 1

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

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


In an unnamed country (a thinly veiled Philippines), three teenage boys pick trash for a meager living. A bag of cash in the trash might be—well, not their ticket out of poverty but at least a minor windfall. With 1,100 pesos, maybe they can eat chicken occasionally, instead of just rice. Gardo and Raphael are determined not to give any of it to the police who've been sniffing around, so they enlist their friend Rat. In alternating and tightly paced points of view, supplemented by occasional other voices, the boys relate the intrigue in which they're quickly enmeshed. A murdered houseboy, an orphaned girl, a treasure map, a secret code, corrupt politicians and 10,000,000 missing dollars: It all adds up to a cracker of a thriller. Sadly, the setting relies on Third World poverty tourism for its flavor, as if this otherwise enjoyable caper were being told by Olivia, the story's British charity worker who muses with vacuous sentimentality on the children that "break your heart" and "change your life." Nevertheless, a zippy and classic briefcase-full-of-money thrill ride. (Thriller. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-385-75214-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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