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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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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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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