Happy and (more or less) logical resolution aside, thin Soup.

NO OTHER STORY

A once-entertaining tale about a widowed inventor who goes on the lam with his three above-average children (until he can finish building a time machine to dispel an ancient family curse and prevent his wife’s murder) drags its way to a conclusion.

Having taken care of the curse in the middle episode, Another Whole Nother Story (2010), "Soup" evidently finds that even with extensive padding—including an irrelevant flashback chapter and bit parts for the uncommonly intrusive author/narrator himself and his deaf mother—the culminating rescue makes only half a book. Accordingly, the author fills out the page count with a long and aimless stopover for the time-traveling Cheeseman family. This takes place in Some Times, an interdimensional mashup of eras, places and seasons where the Cheeseman children get glimpses of their futures from a worshipful descendent. Meanwhile, their father, convinced he’s Gioachino Rossini after a knock to the head, furiously (re)composes the William Tell Overture. The Dave Barry–like flurries of sententious tangents that previously added refreshing interludes of silliness to the storyline come across here as dull and labored, as do the heavy-handed caricatures of various corporate and government pursuers who are the tale’s villains.

Happy and (more or less) logical resolution aside, thin Soup. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59990-824-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Like its bestselling progenitors, a nonstop spinoff afroth with high tech, spectacular magic, and silly business.

THE FOWL TWINS

From the Fowl Twins series , Vol. 1

With their big brother Artemis off to Mars, 11-year-old twins Myles and Beckett are swept up in a brangle with murderous humans and even more dangerous magical creatures.

Unsurprisingly, the fraternal Irish twins ultimately prove equal to the challenge—albeit with help from, Colfer as omniscient narrator admits early on, a “hugely improbable finale.” Following the coincidental arrival on their island estate of two denizens of the subterranean fairy realm in the persons of a tiny but fearsome troll and a “hybrid” pixie-elf, or “pixel,” police trainee, the youngest Fowls immediately find themselves in the sights of both Lord Teddy Bleedham-Drye, a ruthless aristocrat out to bag said troll for its immorality-conferring venom, and Sister Jeronima Gonzalez-Ramos de Zárate, black-ops “nunterrogation” and knife specialist for ACRONYM, an intergovernmental fairy-monitoring organization. Amid the ensuing whirl of captures, escapes, trickery, treachery, and gunfire (none of which proves fatal…or at least not permanently), the twins leverage their complementary differences to foil and exasperate both foes: Myles being an Artemis mini-me who has dressed in black suits since infancy and loves coming up with and then “Fowlsplaining” his genius-level schemes; and Beckett, ever eager to plunge into reckless action and nearly nonverbal in English but with an extraordinary gift for nonhuman tongues. In the end they emerge triumphant, though threatened with mind wipe if they ever interfere in fairy affairs again. Yeah, right. Human characters seem to be default white; “hybrid” is used to describe nonhuman characters of mixed heritage.

Like its bestselling progenitors, a nonstop spinoff afroth with high tech, spectacular magic, and silly business. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-04375-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE EMPEROR OF NIHON-JA

From the Ranger's Apprentice series , Vol. 10

The 10th and final full-length episode in an alternate-Earth series that's just about reached its sell-by date unites the five members of the central cast in yet another rescue mission to a distant land. This time its a thinly disguised medieval Japan, where bluff young warrior Horace has been swept up in the entourage accompanying a kindly emperor who is on the run from a vicious usurper. Thanks to a sequence of massive coincidences, he is soon joined in a remote mountain fortress by Rangers Will (who graduated from "apprentice" about five volumes ago) and his crusty mentor Halt, plus temperamental Princess Evanlyn and her spunky frenemy Alyss. While the usurper and his forces obligingly winter nearby, the menfolk train a peasant army for the true emperor while Evanlyn and Alyss set out to recruit more allies and have an air-clearing heart-to-heart about who really loves whom. By the end battles are won, bad guys slain, feasts held and everyone heads home for weddings and further adventures. The "keep it simple" approach has served Flanagan—and readers who prefer predictable plots and easily recognizable settings and character types—well, but the formula has staled. "The Final Battle" blazoned on the cover indicates a recognition of this fact, though loose ends leave open the possibility of further, as-yet-unplanned developments. Here's hoping a break will restore zing to future adventures. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25500-7

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more