A fitting end to an exceptional trilogy.

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THE GAME OF LIVES

From the Mortality Doctrine series , Vol. 3

After narrowly escaping the villainous Tangent Kaine's clutches at the conclusion of The Rule of Thoughts (2014), Michael, Bryson, and Sarah are joined by Michael's old nanny, Helga, and a group of rebel Tangents to thwart Kaine's evil plans once and for all.

But not all is as it seems. Tragedy occurs, motives are revealed, and foe becomes friend in Dashner's exciting finale. Dashner throws everything he has in to this volume, making for a breathless, action-packed read that will have readers on the edges of their seats. He further explores his hard sci-fi premise, in which beings flow like water between a computer world and a real world, lending the book as much speculative fun as action. The characterization still leaves a bit to be desired; few characters are given the depth and shading the author gives to Michael and Kaine. Moreover, Dashner doesn’t seem to have quite enough guts to keep a particularly painful death permanent; the novel's final pages allude to a resurrection that, while sweet, will make a few readers roll their eyes. However, in the broadest of strokes Dashner has stuck the landing, crafting a complete sci-fi trilogy that has little fat to trim and plenty of action, laughs, thoughts, and emotion. These books have notably improved with each outing, making this the best of the bunch.

A fitting end to an exceptional trilogy. (Science fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-74143-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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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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May well beguile readers with its mix of magic and political intrigue.

SHIELDED

From the Shielded series , Vol. 1

A princess fights to save her kingdom while trying to conceal her magic.

On the eve of her 17th birthday, Princess Jennesara learns of her betrothal to the prince of Turia, an alliance made by her father to secure the neighboring kingdom’s military support in quelling the fighting at his borders. Before she is sent away to safety in Turia, she learns of other worrying developments brewing at home: A burned letter references a search for the mages’ library, illicit magic is being used in skirmishes at the borders, and there is a potential betrayal within her father’s circle of trust. She frets, too, about her own secret magic being discovered, for only her older brother, Ren, is supposed to possess magic. On their way to Turia, Jenna’s party is ambushed and she narrowly escapes. She is forced to fend for herself and find her own way to Turia to discover who betrayed her family and what secrets lie in the rumored mages’ library. Jenna conceals her identity and ingratiates herself with her betrothed’s family as she eludes the threat of a shadowy, sinister foe. Though overflowing with common fantasy tropes and featuring lengthy expository passages, this series opener nevertheless features affable characters and moves at a solid clip that will keep readers entertained. Jenna’s people are fair-haired while Turians are olive-skinned with dark hair.

May well beguile readers with its mix of magic and political intrigue. (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: July 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-11853-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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