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

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

LEGEND

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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A trilogy opener both rich and strange, if heavy at the front end.

MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN

From the Peculiar Children series , Vol. 1

Riggs spins a gothic tale of strangely gifted children and the monsters that pursue them from a set of eerie, old trick photographs.

The brutal murder of his grandfather and a glimpse of a man with a mouth full of tentacles prompts months of nightmares and psychotherapy for 15-year-old Jacob, followed by a visit to a remote Welsh island where, his grandfather had always claimed, there lived children who could fly, lift boulders and display like weird abilities. The stories turn out to be true—but Jacob discovers that he has unwittingly exposed the sheltered “peculiar spirits” (of which he turns out to be one) and their werefalcon protector to a murderous hollowgast and its shape-changing servant wight. The interspersed photographs—gathered at flea markets and from collectors—nearly all seem to have been created in the late 19th or early 20th centuries and generally feature stone-faced figures, mostly children, in inscrutable costumes and situations. They are seen floating in the air, posing with a disreputable-looking Santa, covered in bees, dressed in rags and kneeling on a bomb, among other surreal images. Though Jacob’s overdeveloped back story gives the tale a slow start, the pictures add an eldritch element from the early going, and along with creepy bad guys, the author tucks in suspenseful chases and splashes of gore as he goes. He also whirls a major storm, flying bullets and a time loop into a wild climax that leaves Jacob poised for the sequel.

A trilogy opener both rich and strange, if heavy at the front end. (Horror/fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: June 7, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59474-476-1

Page Count: 234

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

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