A fantasy world overpopulated with colorful—and powerful—characters.

READ REVIEW

BREAKING THE SCROLL

In this high-stakes epic, a princess who was pushed from the throne by her power-hungry husband must escape his control.

Lamare Amark was born the daughter and heir of Northsam, emperor of Akea. Every citizen of Akea is born with a special power—invisibility, charisma, speed, even the ability to remove “bad” parts of foods. Lamare’s gift is that whatever she writes down will come true. Once she marries the ruthless weather-manipulator McWindStorm “Wind” Arren, however, she finds herself growing increasingly helpless. Wind suffered trauma that changed him into a hardened, ambitious character who can only be tamed by Sol Dugress, a woman whose power, conveniently, is calmness. After eliminating Lamare’s father and his allies, Wind pushes her aside and claims the rule of Akea. When Lamare finds solace with another man and gives birth to his baby, Wind punishes her by binding her power to his: every 14 days she must write a scroll filled with events to help Wind maintain control over Akea, or Wind will destroy her and her son, Kino. Any words she writes in the future will not come true unless Wind burns them with lightning. As the years pass, Lamare grows tired of being controlled by Wind and begins to plot her escape. In Vergara’s debut novel, various players narrate chapters; unfortunately, the numerous clamoring voices become overwhelming. The best narrators are Lamare, a complex character who evolves from privileged princess to beaten-down scribe to bold woman, and Dogan Ronda, whose working-class ramblings, littered with slang, make his the most distinctive of the novel’s many voices. Adolescent Kino and his friends, including loyal Mayo and the spunky Pyper, are given pages to tell their own stories, but the adults are far more compelling. The cliffhanger ending leaves multiple plot points to be resolved in future installments.

A fantasy world overpopulated with colorful—and powerful—characters.

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 386

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2015

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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DIARY OF A WIMPY KID

A NOVEL IN CARTOONS

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 1

First volume of a planned three, this edited version of an ongoing online serial records a middle-school everykid’s triumphs and (more often) tribulations through the course of a school year. Largely through his own fault, mishaps seem to plague Greg at every turn, from the minor freak-outs of finding himself permanently seated in class between two pierced stoners and then being saddled with his mom for a substitute teacher, to being forced to wrestle in gym with a weird classmate who has invited him to view his “secret freckle.” Presented in a mix of legible “hand-lettered” text and lots of simple cartoon illustrations with the punch lines often in dialogue balloons, Greg’s escapades, unwavering self-interest and sardonic commentary are a hoot and a half—certain to elicit both gales of giggles and winces of sympathy (not to mention recognition) from young readers. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8109-9313-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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