Shining imagination, pulsing suspense and sparkling writing make this one stand out. As Sen would say, “fantabulosa bona.”...

PLANESRUNNER

From the Everness series , Vol. 1

Science fiction rules in this stellar series opener about a boy who travels to parallel universes.

What joy to find science fiction based on real scientific concepts. Fourteen-year-old Everett Singh sees his physicist father kidnapped from a London street and learns that he’ll have to travel to another universe to save him. Dad cleverly sends Everett a map to the multiverse, knowing that Everett has the smarts to decipher it. Dr. Singh invented the “Heisenberg Gate” that allows travel between worlds, leading to the discovery of nine parallel Earths. Everett sneaks through the gate to get to a parallel London, where he meets Sen, a scrappy girl, and her airship crew, who will help him rescue his father. Meanwhile, he must evade the powerful politician who wants his map. In his debut for teens, established science-fiction writer McDonald builds a world just different enough to charm readers into believing, populating it with entertaining, quirky characters, spicing up the story with Punjabi cooking and a secret dialect (complete with glossary) and explaining the multiverse theory in readily comprehensible terms. Suspense rules, and Everett’s advantages come from both his football goalie skills and his intelligence.

Shining imagination, pulsing suspense and sparkling writing make this one stand out. As Sen would say, “fantabulosa bona.” (Science fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-61614-541-5

Page Count: 290

Publisher: Pyr/Prometheus Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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A lushly written story with an intriguing heart.

ONCE UPON A BROKEN HEART

From the Once Upon a Broken Heart series , Vol. 1

After praying to a Fate for help, Evangeline discovers the dangerous world of magic.

When her father passes away, Evangeline is left with her cold stepmother and kind but distant stepsister, Marisol. Despite inheriting a steady trust in magic, belief in her late mother’s homeland of the mystical North (where fantastical creatures live), and philosophy of hope for the future, her dreams are dashed when Luc, her love, pledges to marry Marisol instead. Evangeline desperately prays to the Prince of Hearts, a dangerous and fickle Fate famed for his heart that is waiting to be revived by his one true love—and his potentially lethal kisses. The bargain they strike sends her on a dark and magical journey throughout the land. The writing style fluctuates from clever and original to overly verbose and often confusing in its jumble of senses. While the pervasive magic and concept of the Fates as a religious system add interest, other fantasy elements are haphazardly incorporated without enough time devoted to building a cohesive world. However, the themes of love, the power of story, family influence, and holding onto belief are well rounded and add depth. The plot contains welcome surprises, and the large cast piques curiosity; readers will wish more time was spent getting to know them. Evangeline has rose-gold hair and, like other main characters, reads as White; there is diversity among the fantasy races in this world.

A lushly written story with an intriguing heart. (map) (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26839-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel,...

THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS

From the Girl of Fire and Thorns series , Vol. 1

Adventure drags our heroine all over the map of fantasyland while giving her the opportunity to use her smarts.

Elisa—Princess Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza of Orovalle—has been chosen for Service since the day she was born, when a beam of holy light put a Godstone in her navel. She's a devout reader of holy books and is well-versed in the military strategy text Belleza Guerra, but she has been kept in ignorance of world affairs. With no warning, this fat, self-loathing princess is married off to a distant king and is embroiled in political and spiritual intrigue. War is coming, and perhaps only Elisa's Godstone—and knowledge from the Belleza Guerra—can save them. Elisa uses her untried strategic knowledge to always-good effect. With a character so smart that she doesn't have much to learn, body size is stereotypically substituted for character development. Elisa’s "mountainous" body shrivels away when she spends a month on forced march eating rat, and thus she is a better person. Still, it's wonderfully refreshing to see a heroine using her brain to win a war rather than strapping on a sword and charging into battle.

Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel, reminiscent of Naomi Kritzer's Fires of the Faithful (2002), keeps this entry fresh. (Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-202648-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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