The story needs sequels; if they are provided, readers will want to return to Lin and Barnhurst for more

READ REVIEW

WHO IS AC?

This origin story of an unlikely teen superhero will have readers begging for more.

Lin is not happy about her family’s move to tiny, college-town Barnhurst. She whiles away the summer before her sophomore year writing a fantasy zine. Meanwhile, geeky Trace, manager of the copy shop where Lin produces her zine, is trying to romance unhappy, well-to-do Mel, who pours out her heart on her blog. One evening, a masked robber holds up the copy shop; in trying to call 911 on her cellphone, Lin activates a mechanism that transforms her into a superhero, complete with costume, spear and signature shower of flower petals. It seems to have been engineered by a shadowy figure at a faraway keyboard, who also has an interest in Mel, whom he turns into a physically manifesting digital troll. Larson gets a lot right with this story: Lin is an enormously likable protagonist, and both her unhappiness and her literary aspirations are easy to understand and relate to. Secondary characters—in particular Lin’s family—are satisfyingly complex. Pantoja’s black-and-white panels take on purple accents with the introduction of fantasy elements; their muscular lines ably complement Larson’s characterizations. But the story itself is all setup with no conclusion, and a sophisticated digital-dangers theme doesn’t get enough space to develop coherently.

The story needs sequels; if they are provided, readers will want to return to Lin and Barnhurst for more . (Graphic fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 16, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4424-6540-4

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Witty and funny, with well-rounded characters who face complex inner moral issues.

HOUSE OF DRAGONS

From the House of Dragons series , Vol. 1

In a world dominated by order, chaos threatens to upend tradition when unlikely competitors are chosen to fight for the throne.

Emperor Erasmus is dead, leaving the Great Dragon to decide the future of the Etrusian Empire. Traditionally, the oldest child from each of the five Houses and his or her dragon compete for the throne. However, this time outsiders are called to compete: Chara and her rider, Emilia, youngest daughter of House Aurun, who holds the magic of chaos; Tyche and her rider, Lucian, reformed warrior of House Sabel; Karina and her rider, Vespir, the lowborn, lesbian servant girl and dragon handler of House Pentri; Dog and his rider, Ajax, the wily illegitimate son of House Tiber; and Minerva and her rider, Julia, who are challenged by Hyperia, who believes the throne is her birthright, and her feral dragon, Aufidius. During the stages of the Emperor’s Trial—the Hunt, the Game, the Race, and the Truth—each competitor faces their own personal weaknesses. Multiple perspectives create depth in this complex fantasy world with flawed human characters who have murder, destruction, thievery, and cowardice in their backgrounds. Cluess’ dragons have unique personalities and voices of their own, becoming as central to the story as their human riders. Most characters are cued as white; blonde hair and blue eyes are valorized. Vespir’s lesbian identity is neatly and naturally woven into her character.

Witty and funny, with well-rounded characters who face complex inner moral issues. (map) (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-64815-4

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more