TERSIAS THE ORACLE

Changing the cast, but taking up his larger tale where Wormwood (2004) left off, Taylor pits a teenaged would-be highwayman and several ragged confederates against a cruel, cursed lord and a ruthless preacher poised to release a swarm of flesh-eating insects. After the mastema, an anything-but-Subtle knife with both bloody proclivities and the ability to unlock paradise, falls into his grimy hands, Jonah becomes the target of its all-powerful former owner, Lord Malpas. Meanwhile, a blind lad named Tersias has appeared on London’s nearly depopulated streets, telling true futures whispered into his ear by the Wretchkin, an invisible half-angel, and the preacher Solomon is gaining flocks of new adherents thanks to the previous episode’s terrifying comet. Moving away from the bombastic prose and awkwardly concealed Christian symbolism that weighed down his earlier outings, the author crafts a richly atmospheric story, played out by a set of tried and true Dickensian character types and laced both with supernatural elements and higher themes. Despite the double miracle he shoehorns in for a sudden, forced happy ending, this is his best yet. Will the next volume feature something like . . . a Spyglass? Stay tuned. (Fantasy. 12-15)

Pub Date: April 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24258-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE LIGHTNING THIEF

From the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series , Vol. 1

Edgar Award–winning Riordan leaves the adult world of mystery to begin a fantasy series for younger readers. Twelve-year-old Percy (full name, Perseus) Jackson has attended six schools in six years. Officially diagnosed with ADHD, his lack of self-control gets him in trouble again and again. What if it isn’t his fault? What if all the outrageous incidents that get him kicked out of school are the result of his being a “half-blood,” the product of a relationship between a human and a Greek god? Could it be true that his math teacher Mrs. Dodds transformed into a shriveled hag with bat wings, a Fury, and was trying to kill him? Did he really vanquish her with a pen that turned into a sword? One need not be an expert in Greek mythology to enjoy Percy’s journey to retrieve Zeus’s master bolt from the Underworld, but those who are familiar with the deities and demi-gods will have many an ah-ha moment. Along the way, Percy and his cohort run into Medusa, Cerberus and Pan, among others. The sardonic tone of the narrator’s voice lends a refreshing air of realism to this riotously paced quest tale of heroism that questions the realities of our world, family, friendship and loyalty. (Fantasy. 12-15)

Pub Date: July 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7868-5629-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2005

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

GULLIVER'S TRAVELS

Swift's account of Gulliver's captivity in Lilliput and Brobdingnag is considerably shortened and rephrased here, but Riordan expertly preserves the flavor of the original: upon reaching the temple where he is to stay, the intrepid traveler shamefacedly relieves himself before the tiny multitudes (though the more famous scene where he similarly puts out a palace fire is absent); later, he survives plenty of harrowing adventures, admiringly describing the societies in which he's stranded while taking subtle pokes (and not-so-subtle—``Englishmen are the nastiest race of odious little vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth,'' says the king of Brobdingnag) at his own, and at fashion and politics in general. Large or small, Gulliver cuts a heroic figure in Ambrus's pervasive, free-wheeling illustrations; other characters have exaggerated features and a comic air that lighten the satire and serves the narrative well. Swift's ax-grinding can be indigestible in large doses; like other abridged classics from this publisher and illustrator, a palatable, well-blended appetizer. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 1992

ISBN: 0-19-279897-9

Page Count: 94

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1992

Did you like this book?

more