While this is the conclusion of this particular voyage, there is enough material left to make Galahad fans hope there may be...



From the Galahad series , Vol. 6

The starship Galahad left Earth on a mission with the last remnants of humankind: 250 teens chosen for their intellect, their areas of expertise and their ability to survive.

It’s been a year since lift off from a dying planet. Traveling to the closest star system capable of supporting human life, these teens have already dealt with sabotage, alien life forms, on-board romances, power plays among the crew and the death of one of their own. But they now face their biggest challenge yet. Galahad is breaking down around them and will disintegrate in a matter of days if they can’t escape this sector of space. A new alien species, the Dollovit, has offered to guide the Galahad through a worm hole to deliver them to their destination—for a price. Even more threatening is the discovery of a virus inserted into the ship’s operating software that might cause her to explode at any time. Are the Dollovit friends or foe? Will the ship’s crew stay united or split into factions? Will they arrive at their destination in time to disembark or blow up just when their new life is in sight? Testa knows how to keep the pages turning. An author's note assuring teens they can be both cool and smart at the same time and reader's guide round out the book.

While this is the conclusion of this particular voyage, there is enough material left to make Galahad fans hope there may be more: It’s a new future out there.   (Science fiction. 13-17)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7653-2112-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011

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“Cinderella” but with genocide and rebel plots.


From the Ash Princess series , Vol. 1

The daughter of a murdered queen plots to take back what is hers.

With her country seized and her mother, the Fire Queen of Astrea, murdered by invaders when she was only 6 years old, Theodosia has been a prisoner for 10 years, stripped of her crown, her people enslaved. Theo (renamed Thora by her captors) is at the mercy of the Kaiser—the fearsome ruler of the Kalovaxians—enduring his malicious whims in order to survive. But when the Kaiser forces Theo to execute her own father, survival is no longer good enough, and she finally takes up the mantle of queen to lead her people’s rise to resistance in a land saturated in elemental magic. Debut author Sebastian has invigorated some well-worn fantasy tropes (a displaced heir, an underground rebellion, and a love triangle that muddies the distinctions between enemies and allies), delivering a narrative that crackles with political intrigue, powerful and debilitating magic, and the violent mechanisms of colonization even as it leaves sequel-primed gaps. Some details—like Theo’s crisis of identity and Hamletian indecision—work well to submerge readers in a turbulent and enthralling plot; others, like racialized descriptions that fall short of actual representation (Atreans are dark-haired and olive-skinned, Kalovaxians are blond and pale-skinned) and the use of magic-induced madness for narrative shock and awe feel lazy and distracting among more nuanced elements.

“Cinderella” but with genocide and rebel plots. (Fantasy. 14-17)

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6706-8

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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Bound to be popular.


From the Ember in the Ashes series , Vol. 1

A suddenly trendy trope—conflict and romance between members of conquering and enslaved races—enlivened by fantasy elements loosely drawn from Arabic tradition (another trend!).

In an original, well-constructed fantasy world (barring some lazy naming), the Scholars have lived under Martial rule for 500 years, downtrodden and in many cases enslaved. Scholar Laia has spent a lifetime hiding her connection to the Resistance—her parents were its leaders—but when her grandparents are killed and her brother’s captured by Masks, the eerie, silver-faced elite soldiers of the Martial Empire, Laia must go undercover as a slave to the terrifying Commandant of Blackcliff Military Academy, where Martials are trained for battle. Meanwhile, Elias, the Commandant’s not-at-all-beloved son, wants to run away from Blackcliff, until he is named an Aspirant for the throne by the mysterious red-eyed Augurs. Predictably, action, intrigue, bloodshed and some pounding pulses follow; there’s betrayal and a potential love triangle or two as well. Sometimes-lackluster prose and a slight overreliance on certain kinds of sexual violence as a threat only slightly diminish the appeal created by familiar (but not predictable) characters and a truly engaging if not fully fleshed-out fantasy world.

Bound to be popular. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: April 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-59514-803-2

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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