Action-packed at every turn, the story leaves enough unresolved to leave readers hungry for the continuation of the epic...

THE MAD WOLF'S DAUGHTER

In this fresh take on the chivalric romance, it’s wee lass Drest who becomes a legend as she journeys across 13th-century Scotland’s remote coastal headlands to rescue her da and brothers, the Mad Wolf and his band, from Faintree Castle.

As a bargaining chip, she brings a kind knight traitorously wounded and left for dead by his own men during the raid that took her family. During her six-day quest, Drest rushes headlong to right wrongs wherever she finds them, acquiring a faithful friend and the aid of a powerful witch, both of whom she saves from savage packs of ignorant townspeople. Drest also earns the respect of her captive. Her feats are marked with colorful insults, bruising fights, crashing swords, and daring escapes. Throughout, Drest is heartened by the imaginary presence of her brothers, whose voices she hears in her head, offering battle tips and a code of conduct. But she also learns hard truths about her family’s exploits which make her doubt them and question who she is at her core. Choosing her own code allows her to correct past mistakes and reveal a larger plot that hints at a sequel. While Drest’s literary antecedents are both many and clear, Magras develops her carefully, her ethical arc emerging naturally and believably. An author’s note orients readers to medieval Scotland and its mores.

Action-packed at every turn, the story leaves enough unresolved to leave readers hungry for the continuation of the epic adventure. (glossary) (Historical fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2926-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Kathy Dawson/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun

THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH

From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 1

It’s been 42 days since the Monster Apocalypse began, and 13-year-old Jack Sullivan, a self-proclaimed “zombie-fighting, monster-slaying tornado of cool” is on a quest to find and rescue his not-so-secret crush, June Del Toro, whether she needs it, wants it, or not.

Jack cobbles together an unlikely but endearing crew, including his scientist best friend, Quint Baker; Dirk Savage, Parker Middle School’s biggest bully; and a pet monster named Rover, to help him save the damsel in distress and complete the “ULTIMATE Feat of Apocalyptic Success.” Middle-grade readers, particularly boys, will find Jack’s pitch-perfect mix of humor, bravado, and self-professed geekiness impossible to resist. His sidekicks are equally entertaining, and it doesn’t hurt that there are also plenty of oozing, drooling, sharp-toothed monsters and zombies and a host of gizmos and gadgets to hook readers and keep them cheering with every turn of the page. Holgate’s illustrations play an integral role in the novel’s success. They not only bring Brallier’s characters to life, but also add depth and detail to the story, making plain just exactly how big Rover is and giving the lie to Jack’s “killer driving.” The marriage of text and illustration serves as a perfect example of what an illustrated novel can and should be.

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun (. (Graphic/horror hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-01661-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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A sweet adventure and a paean to imagination and childhood innocence.

THE LAND OF ROAR

From the Land of Roar series , Vol. 1

A fantasy world comes to life and lures its young creators back into it in this imaginative middle-grade debut and U.K. import.

Narrator Arthur always loved playing make-believe in Grandad’s attic with his twin sister, Rose. Years ago they dreamed up Roar, a magical land that they entered via an old fold-up cot that acted as a portal. Now that they are 11 and starting school at Langdon Academy, Rose has new friends and wants nothing to do with her brother or their imaginary world. Rose may be done with Roar, but it’s not finished with her. When their grandfather is kidnapped and taken into Roar, Arthur and Rose must team up to mount a rescue mission. McLachlan does an excellent job of establishing the sibling tension before introducing the fantasy elements, and Rose’s desire to grow up and fit in feels as familiar and accessible as Arthur’s yearning to remain a child. While obviously reminiscent of classic fantasy, this narrative’s sheer inventiveness marks it as distinct. The twins’ widowed grandfather, a larger-than-life jokester from Mauritius, is a Peter Pan–like figure whose abduction brings the narrative into Roar, allowing the text and Mantle’s illustrations to go wild with creativity. The use of a wordless double-page spread to depict Arthur’s arrival into the fantasy realm is particularly inventive. Arthur and Rose are depicted as kids of color.

A sweet adventure and a paean to imagination and childhood innocence. (map) (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-298271-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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