A carefully crafted and empowering coming-of-age tale that adds welcome diversity to the fantasy shelves.

READ REVIEW

THE SECOND GUARD

From the Second Guard series , Vol. 1

In the matrilineal monarchy of Tequende, when second-born children reach the tender age of 15, their families must surrender them to be trained as the mightiest soldiers in the land, known as the Second Guard.

Talimendra Sanchez Kalloryn of the Sun Guild is one such recruit, sworn to uphold the Oath of Guilds to serve and protect the queen at all costs. Fellow recruits Zarif Baz Hasan of the Moon Guild and Chey Maconde of the Earth Guild join her to forge an earnest triumvirate supporting one another as fledgling warriors, up to and including their challenges at the Final Tournament. This realm’s setting has a colonial Mesoamerican sensibility, with one city called New Seville and a small immigrant population of Arabites from the Far World. Socially, the Sun, Moon and Earth Guilds correspond to merchant, intellectual and working classes, each with its own culture and rituals. Tested via multiple, layered moral and ethical dilemmas that have modern resonance, Tali swings between moments of confusion (“What is true if everything I’ve been taught to believe is false?”) and mildly subversive clarity (“Sometimes disobeying orders is the only way to follow them”). Vaughn is the pen name for Julia Durango and Tracie Zimmer, and working together, the two writers prove to be competent worldbuilders, cleverly introducing each chapter with a page of background out of a fictitious Tequende history book. 

A carefully crafted and empowering coming-of-age tale that adds welcome diversity to the fantasy shelves. (Fantasy. 11-14)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4231-6909-3

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Not much forward momentum but a tasty array of chills, thrills, and chortles.

A MAP OF DAYS

From the Peculiar Children series , Vol. 4

The victory of Jacob and his fellow peculiars over the previous episode’s wights and hollowgasts turns out to be only one move in a larger game as Riggs (Tales of the Peculiar, 2016, etc.) shifts the scene to America.

Reading largely as a setup for a new (if not exactly original) story arc, the tale commences just after Jacob’s timely rescue from his decidedly hostile parents. Following aimless visits back to newly liberated Devil’s Acre and perfunctory normalling lessons for his magically talented friends, Jacob eventually sets out on a road trip to find and recruit Noor, a powerful but imperiled young peculiar of Asian Indian ancestry. Along the way he encounters a semilawless patchwork of peculiar gangs, syndicates, and isolated small communities—many at loggerheads, some in the midst of negotiating a tentative alliance with the Ymbryne Council, but all threatened by the shadowy Organization. The by-now-tangled skein of rivalries, romantic troubles, and family issues continues to ravel amid bursts of savage violence and low comedy (“I had never seen an invisible person throw up before,” Jacob writes, “and it was something I won’t soon forget”). A fresh set of found snapshots serves, as before, to add an eldritch atmosphere to each set of incidents. The cast defaults to white but includes several people of color with active roles.

Not much forward momentum but a tasty array of chills, thrills, and chortles. (Horror/Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-3214-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more