Devised by the minds behind 24 and Homeland, can a TV series be far behind? A sequel isn’t.


From the Revolution 19 series , Vol. 2

Can Kevin, Nick and Cass survive apart in a robot-controlled world?

Fresh from an unsuccessful attempt to free their parents from the robot-controlled City (Revolution 19, 2013), 13-year-old technology expert Kevin, his adopted older sister, Cass, and his older brother, Nick, set out to find a robot-free Freepost like the one where they grew up, as well as their liberated City friends, Lexi and Farryn. After a disagreement, Kevin is abducted by robots who seem friendly. Chasing them, Cass suffers an accident that brings her to the brink of death. Nick can only watch as City robots take her away. Still trying desperately to find Kevin, Nick accepts the help of enigmatic Erica, but bots dog their every step. Kevin discovers an enclave where robots and humans work together; Cass is brainwashed and returned to her birth family; and Nick joins the rebels as he continues his search for his siblings. Will the trio be able to reunite and find their friends? Picking up where the first left off, Rosenblum’s second could stand alone, but it’s best read as a sequel. There’s no great character development or innovative plotting, but good action sequences and an interesting future milieu make this fine pleasure reading.

Devised by the minds behind 24 and Homeland, can a TV series be far behind? A sequel isn’t. (Science fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-212597-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2013

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes


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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Heartbreaking, historical, and a little bit hopeful.

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January 1945: as Russians advance through East Prussia, four teens’ lives converge in hopes of escape.

Returning to the successful formula of her highly lauded debut, Between Shades of Gray (2011), Sepetys combines research (described in extensive backmatter) with well-crafted fiction to bring to life another little-known story: the sinking (from Soviet torpedoes) of the German ship Wilhelm Gustloff. Told in four alternating voices—Lithuanian nurse Joana, Polish Emilia, Prussian forger Florian, and German soldier Alfred—with often contemporary cadences, this stints on neither history nor fiction. The three sympathetic refugees and their motley companions (especially an orphaned boy and an elderly shoemaker) make it clear that while the Gustloff was a German ship full of German civilians and soldiers during World War II, its sinking was still a tragedy. Only Alfred, stationed on the Gustloff, lacks sympathy; almost a caricature, he is self-delusional, unlikable, a Hitler worshiper. As a vehicle for exposition, however, and a reminder of Germany’s role in the war, he serves an invaluable purpose that almost makes up for the mustache-twirling quality of his petty villainy. The inevitability of the ending (including the loss of several characters) doesn’t change its poignancy, and the short chapters and slowly revealed back stories for each character guarantee the pages keep turning.

Heartbreaking, historical, and a little bit hopeful. (author’s note, research and sources, maps) (Historical fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-16030-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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