PAN'S LABYRINTH

THE LABYRINTH OF THE FAUN

A young girl is swept into the dangerous world of fairies and magic in war-torn Spain in a collaborative tale inspired by the noted film.

With the death of her father, her mother’s marriage to a stoic military captain, and the imminent arrival of a baby brother, 13-year-old Ofelia’s world has been turned upside down. But once upturned, Ofelia discovers a world beneath her own that seems straight out of her favorite fairy tales—an Underground Kingdom with magic, fairies, and a faun whose princess has been missing for centuries. The faun explains that Ofelia is their princess reincarnated, but to return to her throne, she must complete three tasks before the next full moon. But as her mother’s health rapidly declines and the captain’s cruelty spreads like a deadly fume, a giant toad and grotesque child eater aren’t the only monsters Ofelia must face. Charged with the monumental task of adapting an intricate film to the page, del Toro (The Shape of Water, 2018, etc.) and Funke (The Griffin’s Feather, 2018, etc.) have avoided merely describing the film and instead have elegantly recrafted the narrative. Brief, interspersed tales that stitch together several characters’ backstories deepen and add greater complexity to the plot while also shrinking the original story’s ambiguous gap between fantasy and reality. Spot art based on the film’s concept art accompanies each of the tales, helping to both offset and connect them.

Dark and mesmerizing. (Dark fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-241446-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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An epic series opener of old-school high fantasy catering to modern audiences.

REALM BREAKER

When the realm is in danger, only a small band of misfits can save Allward.

An in medias res prologue, told from the point of view of the lone squire accompanying the 12 Companions of the Realm, tosses readers into the thick of a quest. Half the Companions are human heroes and half are immortal Elders; they seek to stop a rogue thief and his wizard accomplice from using a magical Spindle to tear a passage between worlds for nefarious ends. A disastrous battle sends squire Andry fleeing with Cortael’s sword so villain Taristan can’t get his hands on it. Grieving Elder Dom requires both a person of Corblood (a descendant of human travelers from another realm) and the Spindleblade Andry protects to stop Taristan from bringing ruin to the realm. Dom seeks Cortael’s secret daughter, Corayne, a bright but sheltered teenager with a pirate mother. At times the narrative tension is undermined by flashbacks that readers already know the conclusions to and by occasional repetition caused by the multiple point-of-view jumps, but there’s a wide variety of action scenes, daring escapes, and betrayals. Many tropes and character types are familiar, but exquisite descriptions and clashing motivations result in a nuanced, sprawling realm with a sense of complicated history. This world is highly diverse in terms of both skin tone and in the refreshing range of roles female characters inhabit.

An epic series opener of old-school high fantasy catering to modern audiences. (map) (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-287262-3

Page Count: 576

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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