The mishmash of popular tropes (steampunk! vampires! Sherlock Holmes!) will bring readers in, but it’s the friendship...

THE CLOCKWORK SCARAB

From the Stoker & Holmes series , Vol. 1

A vampire slayer and a great detective (-in-training) fight baddies in a steam-powered London.

Alvermina “Mina” Holmes is thrilled when she’s invited to a secret rendezvous at the British Museum; she’ll finally prove herself a fitting successor to her famous uncle Sherlock. The mystery she finds is every bit as fascinating as she could have hoped: bloody murders, a secret society, even a time traveler. Along with pesky vampire slayer Evaline Stoker, Mina investigates the mysterious Society of Sekhmet. Mina deduces, while Evaline (ever ladylike in her split skirts) does violence to their enemies. Between attacking villains and questioning her own prowess, elegant Evaline develops warm feelings for a common thief named Pix. Meanwhile, Mina is troubled by her attraction to the almost-as-clever-as-she-is Inspector Grayling. Some elements fall flat: The time traveler’s Nikes and “egg mick-muffins” clash with the tone, and Pix’s over-the-top guttersnipe dialect—“No’ all of ’em ’re true”—is pure distraction. Nonetheless, the budding friendship between the bickering girls brings heart into this gadget-laden mystery. While Pix and Inspector Grayling will clearly provide romantic interest in forthcoming volumes, it’s the snarky bromance between Stoker and Holmes that stands out.

The mishmash of popular tropes (steampunk! vampires! Sherlock Holmes!) will bring readers in, but it’s the friendship between the two girls that will keep them . (Steampunk/mystery. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4521-1070-7

Page Count: 356

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Fans of the previous entry will enjoy following the story of a young woman who changes the fates of two countries.

THE BETRAYED

Lady Hollis flees her country after her new husband is killed.

In The Betrothed (2020), Hollis fell in love with Silas, the son of an Isolten family who sought asylum from their cruel king, and chose him over her intended match, King Jameson. Since Silas, his father, his brothers, and her parents have been killed, she decides to travel to Isolte with her mother-in-law and sister-in-law. Formerly primarily interested in dresses, dancing, and romance, Hollis now proves her mettle. Etan, Silas’ cousin, arrives to escort the family, and he clashes with Hollis from the moment they meet. The society they live in, modeled after medieval Europe, with castles, tournaments, kings, queens, and nobles, generally follows traditional gender roles, but Hollis sometimes breaks through the accepted boundaries. When Etan wants to lead a revolt against his own King Quinten, who is just one of the novel’s major betrayers, Hollis uses her wits to get the evidence needed to convince others that he is guilty of crimes against his own people. She bravely returns to Coroa to confront King Jameson when she finds out that he, too, has carried out unspeakable crimes. Hollis and Etan’s verbal wars are fun, predictably leading to love, but the political intrigue sometimes drags the novel down. Characters default to White.

Fans of the previous entry will enjoy following the story of a young woman who changes the fates of two countries. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-229166-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

more