From the Island Book series , Vol. 3

Absorbing, thoughtful worldbuilding and adventure.

Sola unites the island peoples with a discovery about the Monster.

In this third series installment following The Infinite Land (2021), Alef’s coastal lands on the continent are threatened by encroaching waves. Alef has left Chief Hunder, disengaged and unsympathetic to the settlers’ fears about the danger posed by rising seas, in power. When Wick arrives with news that their friend Sola may have survived a shipwreck, Wick and Hunder must flee Alef’s furious response. Sola, now mother to a foundling (possibly the lost king of the continenters), has found refuge on a wave-washed island. Her hope, along with that of Wick, Hunder, and her friend Esha, lies with a marvelous, motley flotilla of vessels belonging to different island cultures, all with intriguingly varied rigging and hulls. Conversations—terse and telegraphic—reveal the determination of Sola and those represented in the flotilla to embrace cooperative survival. In contrast with Alef’s plan to displace the continenters with his own followers and move farther inland, Sola accepts that the sea will create separate islands. Illustrations rich with, by turns, action, silence, and backstory carry the narrative along with the spare dialogue. The cast of bipedal, binocular nonhuman people features distinctive skin colors and countenances. Dahm’s impressively compact storytelling often seems to encompass entire conversations, events, and ideas in a few frames and a few words.

Absorbing, thoughtful worldbuilding and adventure. (Graphic fantasy. 9-13)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-23631-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022


From the School for Good and Evil series , Vol. 1

Rich and strange (and kitted out with an eye-catching cover), but stronger in the set pieces than the internal logic.

Chainani works an elaborate sea change akin to Gregory Maguire’s Wicked (1995), though he leaves the waters muddied.

Every four years, two children, one regarded as particularly nice and the other particularly nasty, are snatched from the village of Gavaldon by the shadowy School Master to attend the divided titular school. Those who survive to graduate become major or minor characters in fairy tales. When it happens to sweet, Disney princess–like Sophie and  her friend Agatha, plain of features, sour of disposition and low of self-esteem, they are both horrified to discover that they’ve been dropped not where they expect but at Evil and at Good respectively. Gradually—too gradually, as the author strings out hundreds of pages of Hogwarts-style pranks, classroom mishaps and competitions both academic and romantic—it becomes clear that the placement wasn’t a mistake at all. Growing into their true natures amid revelations and marked physical changes, the two spark escalating rivalry between the wings of the school. This leads up to a vicious climactic fight that sees Good and Evil repeatedly switching sides. At this point, readers are likely to feel suddenly left behind, as, thanks to summary deus ex machina resolutions, everything turns out swell(ish).

Rich and strange (and kitted out with an eye-catching cover), but stronger in the set pieces than the internal logic. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: May 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-210489-2

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013


From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship.

A young tennis champion becomes the target of revenge.

In this sequel to Legacy and the Queen (2019), Legacy Petrin and her friends Javi and Pippa have returned to Legacy’s home province and the orphanage run by her father. With her friends’ help, she is in training to defend her championship when they discover that another player, operating under the protection of High Consul Silla, is presenting herself as Legacy. She is so convincing that the real Legacy is accused of being an imitation. False Legacy has become a hero to the masses, further strengthening Silla’s hold, and it becomes imperative to uncover and defeat her. If Legacy is to win again, she must play her imposter while disguised as someone else. Winning at tennis is not just about money and fame, but resisting Silla’s plans to send more young people into brutal mines with little hope of better lives. Legacy will have to overcome her fears and find the magic that allowed her to claim victory in the past. This story, with its elements of sports, fantasy, and social consciousness that highlight tensions between the powerful and those they prey upon, successfully continues the series conceived by late basketball superstar Bryant. As before, the tennis matches are depicted with pace and spirit. Legacy and Javi have brown skin; most other characters default to White.

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949520-19-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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