Fans of the series who managed to enjoy volumes four and five will be pleased to find more of the same

THE DRAGONS OF WINTER

From the Imaginarium Geographica series , Vol. 6

The Caretakers fight the mind-controlling Echthroi through a tangle of timelines.

This penultimate volume in the Imaginarium Geographica series features such a massive ensemble of dead white men that it's difficult to follow their storylines. Don Quixote, Aristophanes and a badger quest for magic armor. Charles Williams, original characters Rose and Edmund, H.G. Wells, Richard Burton and a Clash of the Titans–style mechanical owl travel in time. J.R.R. Tolkien and Jules Verne meet a secret society so packed with dead authors that six William Blake clones ("We call them Blake's Seven") fit right in. A Chinese librarian speaking pidgin English betrays the questers, Medea meets Gilgamesh, and triple agents abound. A goblin market is peopled with characters from The Last Unicorn who make jokes from Blazing Saddles; Nathaniel Hawthorne paraphrases the 1988 cult classic They Live; a future Caretaker quotes Darth Vader. "Jules Verne show[s] goats descended from the herds of Genghis Khan in a county fair in an Indian nation in America … " Confused yet? If not, perhaps you'll be able to make sense of a resolution that relies on pasts that never were and futures that might-have-been.

Fans of the series who managed to enjoy volumes four and five will be pleased to find more of the same . (Fantasy. 14-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-1223-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2012

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It’s imaginative enough, but it lacks the convincing philosophical worldbuilding essential to successful fantasy.

THE TEMPLE OF DOUBT

From the Temple of Doubt series , Vol. 1

A fantasy series opener pits adolescent angst against an all-powerful religion.

Living in Port Sapphire, on the island of New Meridian in the world of Kuldor, almost-16-year-old Hadara chafes under the tenets of a religion headed by the god Nihil that teaches that magic is superior to anything in nature. Since Hadara and her mother continue the passed-down-in-the-female-line family business of concocting healing potions from plants, the two are regarded with suspicion even as their services are sought out by townspeople. When an object falls from the sky into the marsh, Azwans (mages of Nihil) and their oversized Feroxi guards arrive to investigate, complicating things for Hadara and her family, not least because Hadara begins to have feelings for one of the guards. Although Hadara is a delightfully pert narrator, the story’s foremost tension—her subversive doubt of Nihil’s tenets—fails to reach its full potential because the religious concepts are not convincingly clear enough to weave themselves inextricably into the story. Levy shines brightest in her potent descriptions of settings and her imaginative scenes. Continuity, however, is a recurring problem. Among other lapses, the first two chapters seem to be two separate beginnings.

It’s imaginative enough, but it lacks the convincing philosophical worldbuilding essential to successful fantasy. (Fantasy. 14-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-63220-427-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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Forgettable. (Fiction. 14-16)

HIT

A dual-narrator novel explores the concept of forgiveness.

Budding poet Sarah is torn between two colleges: Mills, which has offered her a full scholarship, and the University of Washington, whose only appeal is Mr. Haddings. A grad student and poet-in-residence at her school, the charismatic Haddings has Sarah considering a change of plans, to the dismay of Sarah’s controlling mother. Haddings knows he needs to keep the relationship professional, but he’s having a hard time with that. Then, in a moment of distraction, Haddings hits Sarah with his car. Over the next three days, Sarah will cope with the pain, the accident and her worries about her future, while her family—oblivious father, brittle mother and immature brother—and her best friend try to help her. Haddings copes with his crushing guilt, usually making choices that make everything worse. Straining credulity, both Sarah and Haddings wonder if there might be a chance for them still, when the more important question is whether they can ever forgive. Plot events are sequenced poorly and depend far too much on coincidence for their effect; the dual narrative does not provide substantial additional insight, making it feel contrived as well. Stilted dialogue makes characters feel flat, particularly Sarah’s brother.

Forgettable. (Fiction. 14-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-310-7295-0-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Blink

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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