Mediocre, but flashes of inspiration indicate Burtenshaw’s potential, as yet untapped. (Fantasy. 10-14)

READ REVIEW

SHADOWCRY

From the Secrets of Wintercraft series , Vol. 1

This lackluster debut combines familiar elements into a tale neither rare nor wonderful, despite some acclaim in its native Britain.

The formula is simple: war-torn country, power-mad leader (one of 13, technically), young person with unexpected powers who might be the answer to everything. But heroine Kate Winters never shows much pluck: She may wield significant power, though generally with little sense of how, and spends most of her time listening to other characters spout lengthy exposition. There is no purpose to power-mad leader Da’ru beyond her hunger for control. And although graveyard/city Fume is fascinating and the magic of Fume (bonemen, magical locks powered by spirits) hints at great powers of invention, Albion as a whole remains unknowable. What is the war, and why? How, in this pre-industrialized world with no commercial ties to “the continent,” does a bookstore make for a viable living? Enigmatic, deathless Silas Dane comes across as the most nuanced of the characters, and his cold alliance with Kate is the heart of the novel, but Kate’s narrative perspective keeps him at a distance.

Mediocre, but flashes of inspiration indicate Burtenshaw’s potential, as yet untapped. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: July 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-202642-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Greenwillow

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A trilogy opener both rich and strange, if heavy at the front end.

MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN

From the Peculiar Children series , Vol. 1

Riggs spins a gothic tale of strangely gifted children and the monsters that pursue them from a set of eerie, old trick photographs.

The brutal murder of his grandfather and a glimpse of a man with a mouth full of tentacles prompts months of nightmares and psychotherapy for 15-year-old Jacob, followed by a visit to a remote Welsh island where, his grandfather had always claimed, there lived children who could fly, lift boulders and display like weird abilities. The stories turn out to be true—but Jacob discovers that he has unwittingly exposed the sheltered “peculiar spirits” (of which he turns out to be one) and their werefalcon protector to a murderous hollowgast and its shape-changing servant wight. The interspersed photographs—gathered at flea markets and from collectors—nearly all seem to have been created in the late 19th or early 20th centuries and generally feature stone-faced figures, mostly children, in inscrutable costumes and situations. They are seen floating in the air, posing with a disreputable-looking Santa, covered in bees, dressed in rags and kneeling on a bomb, among other surreal images. Though Jacob’s overdeveloped back story gives the tale a slow start, the pictures add an eldritch element from the early going, and along with creepy bad guys, the author tucks in suspenseful chases and splashes of gore as he goes. He also whirls a major storm, flying bullets and a time loop into a wild climax that leaves Jacob poised for the sequel.

A trilogy opener both rich and strange, if heavy at the front end. (Horror/fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: June 7, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59474-476-1

Page Count: 234

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula.

HOCUS POCUS AND THE ALL-NEW SEQUEL

In honor of its 25th anniversary, a Disney Halloween horror/comedy film gets a sequel to go with its original novelization.

Three Salem witches hanged in 1693 for stealing a child’s life force are revived in 1993 when 16-year-old new kid Max completes a spell by lighting a magical candle (which has to be kindled by a virgin to work). Max and dazzling, popular classmate Allison have to keep said witches at bay until dawn to save all of the local children from a similar fate. Fast-forward to 2018: Poppy, daughter of Max and Allison, inadvertently works a spell that sends her parents and an aunt to hell in exchange for the gleeful witches. With help from her best friend, Travis, and classmate Isabella, on whom she has a major crush, Poppy has only hours to keep the weird sisters from working more evil. The witches, each daffier than the last, supply most of the comedy as well as plenty of menace but end up back in the infernal regions. There’s also a talking cat, a talking dog, a gaggle of costumed heroines, and an oblique reference to a certain beloved Halloween movie. Traditional Disney wholesomeness is spiced, not soured, by occasional innuendo and a big twist in the sequel. Poppy and her family are white, while Travis and Isabella are both African-American.

A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula. (Fantasy. 10-15)

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-02003-9

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Freeform/Disney

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more