Debut author Dorsey creates a world that’s equal parts fairy-tale dream and anime action drama. Quinton Jackson is an average teenager, worried about bullies, his family, and a class field trip to the museum. Then a strange series of events involving his new digital camera, lawn mowing, and a backyard pond transports him to another world entirely. Unfortunately for Esse•Jenna, a Dream Deity, Quinton falls through his pond and into her life. Almost immediately, demonic creatures called mares attack them. In the course of the battle, Quinton ends up with Esse•Jenna’s magical scepter, Dragonvulge, and, after defeating the mares, they both quickly discover that Quinton is magically bonded to the weapon and can’t let it go. Esse•Jenna’s problems don’t end there, however: Boa-Bogg, the Soulless Viper, seeks the four Ghostly Image scepters, of which Dragonvulge is only one. If the demon finds the scepters before Quinton and Esse•Jenna do, nothing will stand between it and the conquest of both their worlds. The battle sequences splash liberally across the pages, replete with anime-like moves, weapons, and flowery names. Quirky characters abound as well, including a talking dog named Kalmekrazie; Batina, Queen of the Bat Mares; and Esse•Jenna’s annoying but sometimes-helpful sisters. Unfortunately, their oddness often gets in the way of them feeling real and genuine, and this is compounded by the teens’ often awkward phraseology. It’s less of an issue with the villains, though, who are generally far more cartoonish; they keep the plot humming along at a good pace, and the varied threats and combat keep things engaging. Although the narrative noticeably drags whenever Quinton or Esse•Jenna pauses to bemoan the injustice of his or her life, there’s still something universal in their teenage martyrdom. Light, anime-inspired fun that can be awkward at times but still provides action-packed battle scenes and colorful villains.
Pub Date: July 29, 2013
Page Count: 364
Review Posted Online: July 31, 2015
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
Share your opinion of this book
by Max Brooks ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 16, 2020
A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).
A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.
Pub Date: June 16, 2020
Page Count: 304
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine
Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020
Share your opinion of this book
More About This Book
BOOK TO SCREEN
by John Scalzi ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 19, 2023
Fun while it lasts but not one of Scalzi’s stronger books.
Some people are born supervillains, and others have supervillainy thrust upon them.
Charlie Fitzer, a former business journalist–turned–substitute teacher, is broke and somewhat desperate. His circumstances take an unexpected and dangerous turn when his estranged uncle Jake dies, leaving his business—i.e., his trillion-dollar supervillain empire—to Charlie. Charlie doesn’t really have the skills or experience to manage the staff of the volcano lair, and matters don’t improve when he’s pressured to attend a high-level meeting with other supervillains, none of whom got along with his uncle. With the aid of his uncle’s No. 1, Mathilda Morrison, and his cat, Hera (who turns out to be an intelligent and typing-capable spy for his uncle’s organization), Charlie must sort out whom he can trust before he gets blackmailed, blown up, or both. This book serves as a follow-up of sorts to Scalzi’s The Kaiju Preservation Society (2022) in that both are riffs on genre film tropes. The current work is fluffier and sillier than the previous novel and, indeed, many of Scalzi’s other books, although there is the occasional jab about governments being in bed with unscrupulous corporate enterprises or the ways in which people can profit from human suffering. This is one of many available stories about a good-hearted Everyman thrust into fantastical circumstances, struggling to survive as a fish out of water, and, while well executed for its type, the plot doesn’t go anywhere that will surprise you.Fun while it lasts but not one of Scalzi’s stronger books.
Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2023
Page Count: 272
Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023
Share your opinion of this book
Hey there, book lover.
We’re glad you found a book that interests you!