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

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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: N/A

Page Count: 222

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2014

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A humdinger of a cliffhanger will leave readers clamoring for volume three.

CATCHING FIRE

From the Hunger Games series , Vol. 2

In the sequel to the hugely popular The Hunger Games (2008), Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, having won the annual Games, are now rich and famous—and trapped in the fiction that they are lovers. They are seen as a threat to the Capitol, their unusual manner of winning an act of rebellion that could inspire uprisings throughout Panem. Knowing her life is in danger, Katniss considers escaping with her family and friends but instead reluctantly assumes the role of a rebel, almost forced into it by threats from the insidious President Snow.

Beyond the expert world building, the acute social commentary and the large cast of fully realized characters, there’s action, intrigue, romance and some amount of hope in a story readers will find completely engrossing. Collins weaves in enough background for this novel to stand alone, but it will be a far richer experience for those who have read the first installment and come to love Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch and the rest of the desperate residents of this dystopia.

A humdinger of a cliffhanger will leave readers clamoring for volume three. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-439-02349-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2009

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