As Dimity says, "Who doesn't want an exploding wicker chicken?" (Steampunk. 11-15)

READ REVIEW

ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE

From the Finishing School series , Vol. 1

Finishing school is ever so interesting when you're learning how to poison your dinner guests with the mutton chops.

Sophronia, infamous in her family for disassembling dumbwaiters and falling into custard, is horrified when she is sent to Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. But school isn't the dreadfully boring disaster Sophronia anticipates. In the academy—a collection of interlaced dirigibles—the girls learn music and intelligence gathering, cooking and defense against vampires, dance and rudimentary seduction. Along with her new chum Dimity, Sophronia learns the principles of fundamental espionage, discovering the academy’s own secrets along the way. She assembles a lovable gang of misfits (an engine-room “sootie” and urchin mechanical whiz, a student from the nearby evil-genius academy and a steam-powered dog named Bumbersnoot) to assist her on a delightfully madcap espionage adventure. This genre-blender will introduce fans of Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls and Jennifer Lynn Barnes' The Squad to a world of mechanical maids and flying machines, while bringing a spy-school romp to readers of the weightier worlds of Cassandra Clare and Scott Westerfeld. It’s higher on silliness and lower on romance than we have come to expect for this age range, but that just leaves more room for exploding wicker chickens.

As Dimity says, "Who doesn't want an exploding wicker chicken?" (Steampunk. 11-15)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-316-19008-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Not much forward momentum but a tasty array of chills, thrills, and chortles.

A MAP OF DAYS

From the Peculiar Children series , Vol. 4

The victory of Jacob and his fellow peculiars over the previous episode’s wights and hollowgasts turns out to be only one move in a larger game as Riggs (Tales of the Peculiar, 2016, etc.) shifts the scene to America.

Reading largely as a setup for a new (if not exactly original) story arc, the tale commences just after Jacob’s timely rescue from his decidedly hostile parents. Following aimless visits back to newly liberated Devil’s Acre and perfunctory normalling lessons for his magically talented friends, Jacob eventually sets out on a road trip to find and recruit Noor, a powerful but imperiled young peculiar of Asian Indian ancestry. Along the way he encounters a semilawless patchwork of peculiar gangs, syndicates, and isolated small communities—many at loggerheads, some in the midst of negotiating a tentative alliance with the Ymbryne Council, but all threatened by the shadowy Organization. The by-now-tangled skein of rivalries, romantic troubles, and family issues continues to ravel amid bursts of savage violence and low comedy (“I had never seen an invisible person throw up before,” Jacob writes, “and it was something I won’t soon forget”). A fresh set of found snapshots serves, as before, to add an eldritch atmosphere to each set of incidents. The cast defaults to white but includes several people of color with active roles.

Not much forward momentum but a tasty array of chills, thrills, and chortles. (Horror/Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-3214-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more