From the Olympians series , Vol. 7

What family doesn’t have its little disagreements? Thank goodness the Olympians have many. .

In the latest of his inimitable Olympians series, O’Connor comes around to Ares and the Trojan War.

The heroically ripped Ares is depicted howling maniacally on the cover and later thundering into the melee in a chariot driven by Eris, the goddess of discord and plainly (as the author puts it in his closing “G[r]eek Notes”) “crazier than an outhouse rat.” Ares is openly reviled by his father, Zeus, thoroughly drubbed by his cooler-headed half-sib Athena (“Bring it, blowhard!”) but ultimately savvy enough to see his father’s subtle hand in the war’s course. In short, he comes across (like much of his immortal family) as wild and flawed but not one-dimensional. In compressed form, the major events of the Iliad and the subsequent sack of Troy serve as cause and backdrop for the internecine strife that the earthly war brings to Olympus. On both stages, Athena, still fuming from the beauty contest that started it all, practically steals the show. Zigzagging between Earth and Olympus, the sequential scenes present a typically lively mix of melodramatic action and strong reaction shots—enhanced, often, by not-exactly-Classical language. For all the chaotic violence, though, there is little visible gore.

What family doesn’t have its little disagreements? Thank goodness the Olympians have many. . (family tree, afterword, discussion questions, source notes) (Graphic mythology. 8-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62672-014-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Neal Porter/First Second

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014


From the Girl of Fire and Thorns series , Vol. 1

Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel,...

Adventure drags our heroine all over the map of fantasyland while giving her the opportunity to use her smarts.

Elisa—Princess Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza of Orovalle—has been chosen for Service since the day she was born, when a beam of holy light put a Godstone in her navel. She's a devout reader of holy books and is well-versed in the military strategy text Belleza Guerra, but she has been kept in ignorance of world affairs. With no warning, this fat, self-loathing princess is married off to a distant king and is embroiled in political and spiritual intrigue. War is coming, and perhaps only Elisa's Godstone—and knowledge from the Belleza Guerra—can save them. Elisa uses her untried strategic knowledge to always-good effect. With a character so smart that she doesn't have much to learn, body size is stereotypically substituted for character development. Elisa’s "mountainous" body shrivels away when she spends a month on forced march eating rat, and thus she is a better person. Still, it's wonderfully refreshing to see a heroine using her brain to win a war rather than strapping on a sword and charging into battle.

Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel, reminiscent of Naomi Kritzer's Fires of the Faithful (2002), keeps this entry fresh. (Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-202648-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011


Well-educated American boys from privileged families have abundant options for college and career. For Chiko, their Burmese counterpart, there are no good choices. There is never enough to eat, and his family lives in constant fear of the military regime that has imprisoned Chiko’s physician father. Soon Chiko is commandeered by the army, trained to hunt down members of the Karenni ethnic minority. Tai, another “recruit,” uses his streetwise survival skills to help them both survive. Meanwhile, Tu Reh, a Karenni youth whose village was torched by the Burmese Army, has been chosen for his first military mission in his people’s resistance movement. How the boys meet and what comes of it is the crux of this multi-voiced novel. While Perkins doesn’t sugarcoat her subject—coming of age in a brutal, fascistic society—this is a gentle story with a lot of heart, suitable for younger readers than the subject matter might suggest. It answers the question, “What is it like to be a child soldier?” clearly, but with hope. (author’s note, historical note) (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: July 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-58089-328-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2010

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