An affecting and unforgettable SF series with heart.

RISE UP

From the Last Pick series , Vol. 3

In this trilogy closer, a group of teens fights their final battle against intergalactic foes.

Picking up where Born To Run (2019) left off with its nail-biting cliffhanger, siblings Samantha and Wyatt Erickson are trying to find each other across vast galaxies. Sam and girlfriend Mia escape from an interstellar prison while Wyatt and friend Adiva fly across the cosmos to save them. Sam believes her parents are alive and presumes to have found the prison where inmates are forced to fight in an alien civil war. The maliciously evil extraterrestrial known as the Sheriff, now sick with a mutating virus, is in close pursuit of the Ericksons. As the tension ratchets up with a ferocious intensity, they face off for the ultimate battle, which both profoundly thrills and devastates with its bittersweet conclusion. Walz’s series has been consistently fantastic, with its inclusive worldbuilding and electrifying pacing coupled with dazzling, cinematically styled art. Throughout the series, the characters have explored what it means to be labeled “useless,” affirming the intrinsic value of those considered lesser for being different by small-minded bigots (in this case, virulent, war-hungry aliens). The team that saves the day encompasses a broad spectrum of identities: Sam, neurodiverse Wyatt, and Harper, Wyatt’s Deaf girlfriend, present White; Mia is cued as Latinx; and Adiva is a brown-skinned, hijabi Muslim girl from the U.S. South.

An affecting and unforgettable SF series with heart. (Graphic science fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62672-895-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An epic series opener of old-school high fantasy catering to modern audiences.

REALM BREAKER

When the realm is in danger, only a small band of misfits can save Allward.

An in medias res prologue, told from the point of view of the lone squire accompanying the 12 Companions of the Realm, tosses readers into the thick of a quest. Half the Companions are human heroes and half are immortal Elders; they seek to stop a rogue thief and his wizard accomplice from using a magical Spindle to tear a passage between worlds for nefarious ends. A disastrous battle sends squire Andry fleeing with Cortael’s sword so villain Taristan can’t get his hands on it. Grieving Elder Dom requires both a person of Corblood (a descendant of human travelers from another realm) and the Spindleblade Andry protects to stop Taristan from bringing ruin to the realm. Dom seeks Cortael’s secret daughter, Corayne, a bright but sheltered teenager with a pirate mother. At times the narrative tension is undermined by flashbacks that readers already know the conclusions to and by occasional repetition caused by the multiple point-of-view jumps, but there’s a wide variety of action scenes, daring escapes, and betrayals. Many tropes and character types are familiar, but exquisite descriptions and clashing motivations result in a nuanced, sprawling realm with a sense of complicated history. This world is highly diverse in terms of both skin tone and in the refreshing range of roles female characters inhabit.

An epic series opener of old-school high fantasy catering to modern audiences. (map) (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-287262-3

Page Count: 576

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

CROOKED KINGDOM

From the Six of Crows series , Vol. 2

This hefty sequel to Six of Crows (2015) brings high-tension conclusions to the many intertwined intrigues of Ketterdam.

It's time for revenge—has been ever since old-before-his-time crook Kaz and his friends were double-crossed by the merchant princes of Ketterdam, an early-industrial Amsterdam-like fantasy city filled to the brim with crime and corruption. Disabled, infuriated, and perpetually scheming Kaz, the light-skinned teen mastermind, coordinates the efforts to rescue Inej. Though Kaz is loath to admit weakness, Inej is his, for he can't bear any harm come to the knife-wielding, brown-skinned Suli acrobat. Their team is rounded out by Wylan, a light-skinned chemist and musician whose merchant father tried to have him murdered and who can't read due to a print disability; Wylan's brown-skinned biracial boyfriend, Jesper, a flirtatious gambler with ADHD; Nina, the pale brunette Grisha witch and recovering addict from Russia-like Ravka; Matthias, Nina's national enemy and great love, a big, white, blond drüskelle warrior from the cold northern lands; and Kuwei, the rescued Shu boy everyone wants to kidnap. Can these kids rescue everyone who needs rescuing in Ketterdam's vile political swamp? This is dark and violent—one notable scene features a parade of teens armed with revolvers, rifles, pistols, explosives, and flash bombs—but gut-wrenchingly genuine. Astonishingly, Bardugo keeps all these balls in the air over the 500-plus pages of narrative.

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-213-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more