With not all of the threads wrapped up, the way is open for a sequel, of course—readers will be happy for Jonathan’s return.

GABRIEL'S CLOCK

In this imaginative effort, a half-angel, half-demon boy must navigate the perilous implications of his unusual heritage.

Jonathan has reached the age of 12 believing he’s just a normal kid, unaware that his father is an angel and his mother’s a (kindly) demon. Then a monstrous trio of Corvidae, evil disciples of archdemon Belial, attacks them, trapping the small family. His mother escapes with badly injured Jonathan and delivers him to the care of his angel grandfather, Gabriel—who will, predictably, become the guiding-elder figure—in the magical village of Hobbes End. It’s inhabited by a variety of quirky residents, including a sarcastic talking cat, a werewolf’s daughter, useful and funny gargoyles, and many others. The mild comic relief is a welcome respite from the brutality of the demons, who are determined to capture Jonathan and twist him to their nefarious purposes. Battle scenes feature more than ample gore, with a few dismemberments thrown in for good measure. Debut author Pashley periodically edges into the realm of telling rather than showing, and some elements of the plot are just too convenient. Still, the fast pace of the action is nicely sustained, the characters are mostly distinctive, and the situation’s sufficiently unconventional to overcome that deficiency.

With not all of the threads wrapped up, the way is open for a sequel, of course—readers will be happy for Jonathan’s return. (Fantasy. 11-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-30176-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish.

THE MECHANICAL MIND OF JOHN COGGIN

The dreary prospect of spending a lifetime making caskets instead of wonderful inventions prompts a young orphan to snatch up his little sister and flee. Where? To the circus, of course.

Fortunately or otherwise, John and 6-year-old Page join up with Boz—sometime human cannonball for the seedy Wandering Wayfarers and a “vertically challenged” trickster with a fantastic gift for sowing chaos. Alas, the budding engineer barely has time to settle in to begin work on an experimental circus wagon powered by chicken poop and dubbed (with questionable forethought) the Autopsy. The hot pursuit of malign and indomitable Great-Aunt Beauregard, the Coggins’ only living relative, forces all three to leave the troupe for further flights and misadventures. Teele spins her adventure around a sturdy protagonist whose love for his little sister is matched only by his fierce desire for something better in life for them both and tucks in an outstanding supporting cast featuring several notably strong-minded, independent women (Page, whose glare “would kill spiders dead,” not least among them). Better yet, in Boz she has created a scene-stealing force of nature, a free spirit who’s never happier than when he’s stirring up mischief. A climactic clutch culminating in a magnificently destructive display of fireworks leaves the Coggin sibs well-positioned for bright futures. (Illustrations not seen.)

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish. (Adventure. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234510-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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Readers will be irresistibly drawn into Harry's world by GrandPre's comic illustrations and Rowling's expert combination of...

HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS

From the Harry Potter series , Vol. 2

This sequel to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (1998) brings back the doughty young wizard-in-training to face suspicious adults, hostile classmates, fretful ghosts, rambunctious spells, giant spiders, and even an avatar of Lord Voldemort, the evil sorcerer who killed his parents, while saving the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from a deadly, mysterious menace.

Ignoring a most peculiar warning, Harry kicks off his second year at Hogwarts after a dreadful summer with his hateful guardians, the Dursleys, and is instantly cast into a whirlwind of magical pranks and misadventures, culminating in a visit to the hidden cavern where his friend Ron's little sister Ginny lies, barely alive, in a trap set by his worst enemy. Surrounded by a grand mix of wise and inept faculty, sneering or loyal peers—plus an array of supernatural creatures including Nearly Headless Nick and a huge, serpentine basilisk—Harry steadily rises to every challenge, and though he plays but one match of the gloriously chaotic field game Quidditch, he does get in plenty of magic and a bit of swordplay on his way to becoming a hero again.

Readers will be irresistibly drawn into Harry's world by GrandPre's comic illustrations and Rowling's expert combination of broad boarding school farce and high fantasy. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: June 2, 1999

ISBN: 0-439-06486-4

Page Count: 341

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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