An imaginative, daring start to what could develop in to a fantastic series.

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ORIGINS RISING

A mysterious force known simply as the Darkness threatens a far-future Earth in Andreas’ debut YA sci-fi/fantasy.

Millions of years after an asteroid wiped out practically all life on Earth, the last traces of humanity have evolved into three separate races, each with its own distinct society. On the ground are the erdwons, a tribal people with cheetahlike legs and tails who live in huts. Meanwhile, the skywons—winged people—live in palaces surrounded by wealth and splendor in the heavens above, and the feshwons are an aquatic people with webbed fingers and flippers. The different groups know very little about one another, let alone Earth’s past history, believing the planet to have once been ruled by one race that banished a dark force called the Darkness, which eventually returned and destroyed them, until the Earth Mother created the three peoples. Now, however, entire clans are beginning to disappear, leaving people to worry that the Darkness has returned. Tor, an erdwon youth, crosses paths with a wounded skywon princess, Himmel, setting him on a course to potentially save the world. Andreas’ novel is blessed with a richly realized, deeply intelligent mythology, which helps distinguish it amid the sea of YA. He establishes all the various societies and peoples economically and with a keen eye for anthropological detail, making it as much of a delight to simply learn about the divergent cultures as it is to spend time with his likable cast of characters. Those eager for nonstop action might want to look elsewhere, but readers will find a great deal to love here if they’re fascinated by complex worldbuilding and a gradually building plot that allows its characters to breathe. Unfortunately, however, the book ends rather abruptly, and while this seems to promise a sequel, more concluding action would have allowed the ending to feel as naturalistic and well-paced as the rest of the novel.

An imaginative, daring start to what could develop in to a fantastic series.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-1500303778

Page Count: 274

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2014

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Wrought with admirable skill—the emptiness and menace underlying this Utopia emerge step by inexorable step: a richly...

THE GIVER

From the Giver Quartet series , Vol. 1

In a radical departure from her realistic fiction and comic chronicles of Anastasia, Lowry creates a chilling, tightly controlled future society where all controversy, pain, and choice have been expunged, each childhood year has its privileges and responsibilities, and family members are selected for compatibility.

As Jonas approaches the "Ceremony of Twelve," he wonders what his adult "Assignment" will be. Father, a "Nurturer," cares for "newchildren"; Mother works in the "Department of Justice"; but Jonas's admitted talents suggest no particular calling. In the event, he is named "Receiver," to replace an Elder with a unique function: holding the community's memories—painful, troubling, or prone to lead (like love) to disorder; the Elder ("The Giver") now begins to transfer these memories to Jonas. The process is deeply disturbing; for the first time, Jonas learns about ordinary things like color, the sun, snow, and mountains, as well as love, war, and death: the ceremony known as "release" is revealed to be murder. Horrified, Jonas plots escape to "Elsewhere," a step he believes will return the memories to all the people, but his timing is upset by a decision to release a newchild he has come to love. Ill-equipped, Jonas sets out with the baby on a desperate journey whose enigmatic conclusion resonates with allegory: Jonas may be a Christ figure, but the contrasts here with Christian symbols are also intriguing.

Wrought with admirable skill—the emptiness and menace underlying this Utopia emerge step by inexorable step: a richly provocative novel. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 1, 1993

ISBN: 978-0-395-64566-6

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1993

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Impressive world-building, breathtaking action and clear philosophical concerns make this volume, the beginning of a planned...

THE HUNGER GAMES

From the Hunger Games series , Vol. 1

Katniss Everdeen is a survivor.

She has to be; she’s representing her District, number 12, in the 74th Hunger Games in the Capitol, the heart of Panem, a new land that rose from the ruins of a post-apocalyptic North America. To punish citizens for an early rebellion, the rulers require each district to provide one girl and one boy, 24 in all, to fight like gladiators in a futuristic arena. The event is broadcast like reality TV, and the winner returns with wealth for his or her district. With clear inspiration from Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” and the Greek tale of Theseus, Collins has created a brilliantly imagined dystopia, where the Capitol is rich and the rest of the country is kept in abject poverty, where the poor battle to the death for the amusement of the rich. However, poor copyediting in the first printing will distract careful readers—a crying shame. [Note: Errors have been corrected in subsequent printings, so we are now pleased to apply the Kirkus star.]

Impressive world-building, breathtaking action and clear philosophical concerns make this volume, the beginning of a planned trilogy, as good as The Giver and more exciting. (Science fiction. 11 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-439-02348-1

Page Count: 394

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2008

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