CURSE OF THE THIRTEENTH FEY

THE TRUE TALE OF SLEEPING BEAUTY

A graceful and absorbing look at a familiar villain.

Despite its misleading cover image of Sleeping Beauty, this is quite a nice back story as to how and why that last fairy was late to her christening.

Yolen takes off from a handful of short stories she published in the mid-1980s and engages readers with the voice of Gorse, the 13th fey of the title, youngest child of her Irish Elven father and her mother, who is of the Shouting Fey. Despite her heritage, magic—using it or even being around it—always makes Gorse ill. She is sick when the rest of the family is called to the fateful christening, and her hurrying, late, with a magic spindle for a gift lands her down a hole—with allusions to both Alice's rabbit hole and a wormhole—with a prince and his loyal companion. These two have been imprisoned together in caves inhabited by a furry and smelly lot of creatures for generations. The relationship between Grey and Orybon is silken with loyalty and betrayal, and Yolen studies it carefully through Gorse’s eyes. They expect Gorse to rid them of the curse that keeps them imprisoned, and she does, although not in the way anyone expects. The pages are peppered with subtle references to everything from Lord of the Rings to Emily Dickinson, and Gorse grows in both cleverness and thoughtfulness as the story unwinds.

A graceful and absorbing look at a familiar villain. (Fairy tale/fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-399-25664-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

THE WORLD-FAMOUS NINE

A whodunit that doesn’t live up to its intriguing premise.

Coded clues put two young sleuths on the trail of a magic mandala hidden somewhere in a huge, bustling department store.

Hardly has meek young Zander Olinga arrived for a visit with Zina Winebee, his grandmother and owner-manager of the Number Nine Plaza, than he learns of a threat to the continued existence of the renowned emporium. The danger is linked to Darkbloom, a rumored evil spirit set on reversing the good-fortune charm left by Nepali monks at the store’s founding. The stone tablet bearing the magical mandala vanished 90 years ago, and finding its hiding place becomes a race pitting Zander and intrepid new ally Natasha Novikov against unknown saboteurs whose minds have been taken over by Darkbloom. The keys to the tablet’s location are a series of ingenious word and number clues left by Zander’s great-granduncle Vladimir, and Guterson provides enough hints along the way for savvy readers to decode them. What he doesn’t do is give either his leads or the many-faceted store (which, over the course of the story, is explored from the Ferris wheel on its roof to the bakery in the cellar) any more depth or distinctive traits than he gives Nepali religious practice. Darkbloom remains a shadowy bugaboo, its actual nature and motivations unexplained and its fate left anticlimactically unresolved. Zander’s father is from Cameroon, and his mother reads white; names cue some diversity in the supporting cast. Final art not seen. (This review has been updated for factual accuracy.)

A whodunit that doesn’t live up to its intriguing premise. (Mystery. 9-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2024

ISBN: 9780316484442

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023

LEGACY AND THE DOUBLE

From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship.

A young tennis champion becomes the target of revenge.

In this sequel to Legacy and the Queen (2019), Legacy Petrin and her friends Javi and Pippa have returned to Legacy’s home province and the orphanage run by her father. With her friends’ help, she is in training to defend her championship when they discover that another player, operating under the protection of High Consul Silla, is presenting herself as Legacy. She is so convincing that the real Legacy is accused of being an imitation. False Legacy has become a hero to the masses, further strengthening Silla’s hold, and it becomes imperative to uncover and defeat her. If Legacy is to win again, she must play her imposter while disguised as someone else. Winning at tennis is not just about money and fame, but resisting Silla’s plans to send more young people into brutal mines with little hope of better lives. Legacy will have to overcome her fears and find the magic that allowed her to claim victory in the past. This story, with its elements of sports, fantasy, and social consciousness that highlight tensions between the powerful and those they prey upon, successfully continues the series conceived by late basketball superstar Bryant. As before, the tennis matches are depicted with pace and spirit. Legacy and Javi have brown skin; most other characters default to White.

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949520-19-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

Close Quickview