Rowling’s name on the cover will guarantee mad sales, even for an unadventurous spinoff like this.




The Boy Who Lived may be done with Voldemort, but Voldemort’s not done with him.

Blocked out by all three co-authors but written by Thorne, this play script starts up where Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007) leaves off, then fast-forwards three years. As the plot involves multiple jaunts into the past to right certain wrongs (with all but the last changing the future in disastrous ways), the last Triwizard Tournament and other already-familiar events and locales figure prominently. Also, many favorite characters, even Dumbledore and Snape, trot back onstage to mingle with the now–school-age offspring of Ron, Harry, and Draco. In a fan-fiction–style stretch, the child of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named also plays a part. In the early going at least, the authors faithfully recapture the series’ lively character interplay, and one scene aboard (and atop) the Hogwarts Express particularly echoes some of the original cast’s heady misadventures. And there are measures of banter, tongue-in-cheek dialogue (“HERMIONE: Who are you calling intense?”), and evocative if skimpy stage directions: “[Harry] feels intense pain in his forehead. In his scar. Around him, Dark Magic moves.” But the spellcasting and dramatic crescendos don’t play as well on the page as they might on the stage; the dozens of short, quick-cut scenes chop up the action for readers rather than building dramatic tension. Moreover, the bonding between classmates Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy, two self-described “losers,” and the adult Harry’s labored efforts to connect with his alienated middle child distract from a dark-is-rising-again storyline that already leans on unlikely contrivances as it makes its way to a climactic wizardly duel.

Rowling’s name on the cover will guarantee mad sales, even for an unadventurous spinoff like this. (Fantasy. 10 & up)

Pub Date: July 31, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-338-09913-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories.


Percy Jackson takes a break from adventuring to serve up the Greek gods like flapjacks at a church breakfast.

Percy is on form as he debriefs readers concerning Chaos, Gaea, Ouranos and Pontus, Dionysus, Ariadne and Persephone, all in his dude’s patter: “He’d forgotten how beautiful Gaea could be when she wasn’t all yelling up in his face.” Here they are, all 12 Olympians, plus many various offspring and associates: the gold standard of dysfunctional families, whom Percy plays like a lute, sometimes lyrically, sometimes with a more sardonic air. Percy’s gift, which is no great secret, is to breathe new life into the gods. Closest attention is paid to the Olympians, but Riordan has a sure touch when it comes to fitting much into a small space—as does Rocco’s artwork, which smokes and writhes on the page as if hit by lightning—so readers will also meet Makaria, “goddess of blessed peaceful deaths,” and the Theban Teiresias, who accidentally sees Athena bathing. She blinds him but also gives him the ability to understand the language of birds. The atmosphere crackles and then dissolves, again and again: “He could even send the Furies after living people if they committed a truly horrific crime—like killing a family member, desecrating a temple, or singing Journey songs on karaoke night.”

The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories. (Mythology. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-8364-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Tales that “lay out your options for painful and interesting ways to die.” And to live.


In a similarly hefty companion to Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods (2014), the most voluble of Poseidon’s many sons dishes on a dozen more ancient relatives and fellow demigods.

Riordan averts his young yarn spinner’s eyes from the sex but not the stupidity, violence, malice, or bad choices that drive so many of the old tales. He leavens full, refreshingly tart accounts of the ups and downs of such higher-profile heroes as Theseus, Orpheus, Hercules, and Jason with the lesser-known but often equally awesome exploits of such butt-kicking ladies as Atalanta, Otrera (the first Amazon), and lion-wrestling Cyrene. In thought-provoking contrast, Psyche comes off as no less heroic, even though her story is less about general slaughter than the tough “Iron Housewives quests” Aphrodite forces her to undertake to rescue her beloved Eros. Furthermore, along with snarky chapter heads (“Phaethon Fails Driver’s Ed”), the contemporary labor includes references to Jay-Z, Apple Maps, god-to-god texting, and the like—not to mention the way the narrator makes fun of hard-to-pronounce names and points up such character flaws as ADHD (Theseus) and anger management issues (Hercules). The breezy treatment effectively blows off at least some of the dust obscuring the timeless themes in each hero’s career. In Rocco’s melodramatically murky illustrations, men and women alike display rippling thews and plenty of skin as they battle ravening monsters.

Tales that “lay out your options for painful and interesting ways to die.” And to live. (maps, index) (Mythology. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4231-8365-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet