Teeming with adventure and philosophical richness, this trilogy closer excels

THE KINFOLK

From the Five Stones Trilogy series , Vol. 3

The final installment in the Five Stones Trilogy pits the inhabitants of Ayda against power-hungry rogue leader Dankar.

Picking up where Book 2 left off, evil Dankar of Exor, on the magical fog-shrouded island of Ayda, is massing his armies of mutated Exorians to capture the stones of power so that he controls all of Ayda. The Thompson brothers—Chase, 13, Knox, 12, and Teddy, 6, all white—have returned to Ayda from Fells Harbor to fight against him. Their mother, Grace, is also there, as well as biracial and bicultural (Haitian and French-Canadian) Evelyn Boudreaux, 13. But try as they might, Dankar’s power appears to be unstoppable, and all of Ayda despairs. It doesn’t help that Louis, Dankar’s favorite soldier, is really Edward, Grace’s brother, who disappeared years ago. He has no memory of this, however, and instead of helping his sister and nephews, he cooperates in Dankar’s cruelty. Morgan holds the complex plot deftly, alternating the third-person narration through the points of view of several main characters (Dankar, Chase, Knox, Evelyn) chapter by chapter. With clarity and economy, she intertwines back story, setting, adventure, and philosophy in convivial balance, and she admirably maintains the individuality of her very large cast of characters (helpfully delineated in a guide at the back). She tests her characters sorely and sometimes violently, but it’s always in service of the plot.

Teeming with adventure and philosophical richness, this trilogy closer excels . (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-934031-82-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Islandport Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

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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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TRASH

In an unnamed country (a thinly veiled Philippines), three teenage boys pick trash for a meager living. A bag of cash in the trash might be—well, not their ticket out of poverty but at least a minor windfall. With 1,100 pesos, maybe they can eat chicken occasionally, instead of just rice. Gardo and Raphael are determined not to give any of it to the police who've been sniffing around, so they enlist their friend Rat. In alternating and tightly paced points of view, supplemented by occasional other voices, the boys relate the intrigue in which they're quickly enmeshed. A murdered houseboy, an orphaned girl, a treasure map, a secret code, corrupt politicians and 10,000,000 missing dollars: It all adds up to a cracker of a thriller. Sadly, the setting relies on Third World poverty tourism for its flavor, as if this otherwise enjoyable caper were being told by Olivia, the story's British charity worker who muses with vacuous sentimentality on the children that "break your heart" and "change your life." Nevertheless, a zippy and classic briefcase-full-of-money thrill ride. (Thriller. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-385-75214-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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