SAMURAI

It’s no picnic being the scion of the last dragon-hunting family. Simon St. George doesn’t understand his father, can’t pick up girls and spends his days training to destroy the dragons responsible for all the world’s plagues. The world is at risk from two powerful dragons seeking to mate, and Simon and his father are off to Japan to kill them before it’s too late. There they meet an ancient boys’ club of dragon-slaying samurai, who are committed to protecting the secret weapon that the St. George family didn’t know existed: Simon’s cousin Kyoshi. The two groups of dragon slayers join forces to fight the wicked Japanese and Indian Dragons, but their efforts are hampered by constant infighting. The samurai—ethnic stereotypes and stock characters, all—are unable to communicate with Simon’s pigheaded father. The bumbling forces of light fight the unremittingly evil forces of evil in a massive conflagration packed with fire, tigers and torture. Too bad there’s no accompanying spark in the choppy prose of this plodding tale. (Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-054014-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Eos/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2006

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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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STORMBREAKER

What if James Bond had started spying as a teenager? This thriller pits 14-year-old Alex Rider against a mad billionaire industrialist. Non-stop action keeps the intrigue boiling as Alex tries to stop the remarkably evil Herod Sayles from murdering Britain’s schoolchildren through biological warfare. Alex begins as an innocent boy shocked by the death of his Uncle Ian in a traffic accident. Suspicious of the official explanation, he investigates and finds Ian’s car riddled with bullet holes. He narrowly escapes being crushed in the car as it’s demolished, then climbs out of a 15-story window to break into Ian’s office. He learns that Ian was a spy, and reluctantly joins Britain’s MI6 intelligence agency. After surviving brutal training and armed with stealthy spy tools, Alex infiltrates Sayles’s operation as the teenage tester of the “Stormbreaker,” a new computer Sayles is giving to British schools. Thereafter he survives murderous ATV drivers, an underwater swim in an abandoned mine, and an encounter with a Portuguese man-o-war jellyfish before hitching a ride on an already airborne plane. The plot is, of course, preposterous, but young readers won’t care as they zoom through numerous cliffhangers. This is the first book in a series planned by the author, and may prove useful for reluctant readers looking for excitement. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-23620-1

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2001

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