A snapping, crackling, popping homage to classic horror that alludes to no optimistic resolution—all the more reason for a...

SPLINTERS

From the Prospero Chronicles series , Vol. 1

Trust is a fickle commodity in a Northern California town being slowly ingested by shape-shifting intergalactic parasites. 

When 16-year-old Ben’s childhood friend Haley is presumed dead, fatherless Ben and his mother pack up again and head to Haley’s hometown of Prospero, California, to pay condolences and find a new place to stay. Prospero’s paranormal reputation is made a shade weirder at Haley’s memorial service when Ben meets redheaded, overtly peculiar 16-year-old Mina Todd. Mina warns Ben that it’s not really his friend that’s missing but rather one of many shape-shifting alien impostors called Splinters. Mina is a “Splinter resistor,” and she asks him to help her spy on, stalk and destroy the growing Splinter population. A Splinter attack on the mismatched duo (Mina is a creature of logic and deduction; Ben is a charming kid with “heartthrob hair”) convinces Ben to join her. Written by a husband-wife duo who admit an affinity for horror films in their dedication, this dual narrative from Ben’s and Mina’s perspectives has horror’s classic backdrop of small-town creepiness. One welcome difference to the archetypal “final girl” formula of flaxen hair and virginal naïveté is that Mina is tough, possibly insane, definitely brilliant, and has already been terrorized and tormented by the body-snatching Splinters long before the story begins. 

A snapping, crackling, popping homage to classic horror that alludes to no optimistic resolution—all the more reason for a series. (Horror. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-939967-39-8

Page Count: 328

Publisher: Jolly Fish Press

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Will both entertain and encourage reflection.

CINDERELLA IS DEAD

In Mersailles, “Cinderella” is more than just a fairy tale: It’s the basis for a harsh monarch’s throttlehold on his kingdom.

Sophia is turning 16, the age at which young women must attend King Manford’s annual ball, at which they are scrutinized by and married off to male attendees. Any young woman who has not been claimed after her third ball is destined to spend the rest of her days engaged in hard labor. But being chosen can be its own curse in a society where domestic violence is common. Sophia is a beautiful Black girl in love with dark-haired Erin, one of her best friends. While racial diversity is a natural part of this world, the same acceptance does not exist for those who defy rigid gender norms: Anything other than heterosexual desire is strictly forbidden, and while Sophia wishes to escape as a couple, Erin is too fearful. After fleeing the ball, Sophia stumbles across Cinderella’s mausoleum, hidden in the woods. There she meets rebellious Constance, an attractive young red-haired woman with a very personal motivation for sabotaging the monarchy. As the two grew closer—and sparks fly—they discover secrets that could end Manford’s cruel reign. This promising debut deals with themes around rebellion and empowerment as well as the toll that rejecting the status quo can take on relationships. The atmospheric setting is a particular strength, and the twists and turns will keep readers in suspense.

Will both entertain and encourage reflection. (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0387-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2021

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