A thrilling, environmentally conscious romp in the tradition of Artemis Fowl, Alex Rider and the young Indiana Jones.

The Silvanus Supremacy

RELUCTANT HERO BOOK 1

A teenager seeking answers in the wake of his mother’s disappearance is drawn into a shadowy world of assassins, espionage and over-the-top adventure in Rider’s debut YA novel.

Fourteen-year-old Ryan Knight has had a rough go of it. Emotionally neglected by his scientist parents, he lives life on the fringes: lonely, angry, an easy target of neighborhood bullies. His Krav Maga and parkour training help him when he needs it: “I didn’t go looking for trouble,” he explains, “but I hated it when someone preyed on a weaker person.” It’s just that mindset that propels him into the adventure of a lifetime. When his mother goes missing on a medical expedition along the India-Nepal border, Ryan fears she’s the victim of a freak accident—until he comes across her last diary entry: “I fear that they have found out what I am trying to do,” she wrote.“I don’t know how to expose them.” All signs of misconduct point to her employer, the colossal Silvanus Corporation. At its helm is the mustache-twirling Zoltan Kashlar, just one player in a larger group that answers to the mysterious Mr. North. With the help of twins Lily and Poppy (both of whom harbor crushes on Ryan), computer-savvy Pete and Bornean native Ong, Ryan takes retribution into his own hands. Although the kids may be archetypes, their true-to-life emotions and dialogue make them living, breathing characters worth caring for. Ryan constantly draws upon his sense of humor to best his adversaries (one of his plans, for example, involves a laxative), and this makes him even more endearing. Although inconsistent shifts in perspective make for a somewhat disjointed reading experience, most teen readers will be too enthralled with Ryan’s adventures—outsmarting assassins in the Bornean jungle, landing pilotless passenger jets and unraveling global conspiracies—to take much notice. The late introduction of Virgil Lante, a billionaire philanthropist who wants to recruit Ryan to his HERO (Help Earth Retaliate Organisation) Academy, hints at a sequel that will plunge readers more deeply into the Silvanus Corporation’s secrets.

A thrilling, environmentally conscious romp in the tradition of Artemis Fowl, Alex Rider and the young Indiana Jones.

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-1493730919

Page Count: 222

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2014

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

CROOKED KINGDOM

From the Six of Crows series , Vol. 2

This hefty sequel to Six of Crows (2015) brings high-tension conclusions to the many intertwined intrigues of Ketterdam.

It's time for revenge—has been ever since old-before-his-time crook Kaz and his friends were double-crossed by the merchant princes of Ketterdam, an early-industrial Amsterdam-like fantasy city filled to the brim with crime and corruption. Disabled, infuriated, and perpetually scheming Kaz, the light-skinned teen mastermind, coordinates the efforts to rescue Inej. Though Kaz is loath to admit weakness, Inej is his, for he can't bear any harm come to the knife-wielding, brown-skinned Suli acrobat. Their team is rounded out by Wylan, a light-skinned chemist and musician whose merchant father tried to have him murdered and who can't read due to a print disability; Wylan's brown-skinned biracial boyfriend, Jesper, a flirtatious gambler with ADHD; Nina, the pale brunette Grisha witch and recovering addict from Russia-like Ravka; Matthias, Nina's national enemy and great love, a big, white, blond drüskelle warrior from the cold northern lands; and Kuwei, the rescued Shu boy everyone wants to kidnap. Can these kids rescue everyone who needs rescuing in Ketterdam's vile political swamp? This is dark and violent—one notable scene features a parade of teens armed with revolvers, rifles, pistols, explosives, and flash bombs—but gut-wrenchingly genuine. Astonishingly, Bardugo keeps all these balls in the air over the 500-plus pages of narrative.

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-213-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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