Readers of this multifaceted, well-crafted tale will eagerly await Sage’s further adventures.

THE FALSE PRINCE

From the Ascendance series , Vol. 1

A brazen 15-year-old orphan living in the imaginary kingdom of Carthya becomes embroiled in a treasonous power-play to install a false prince on the vacant throne.

For years, Sage has survived by lying and stealing in Mrs. Turbeldy’s Orphanage for Disadvantaged Boys. When scheming Bevin Connor removes him, Sage assumes he will serve Connor, but he quickly discovers he’s one of four orphan boys chosen by Connor for a more dangerous game. Connor plans to secretly transform them into gentlemen and select one to impersonate Prince Jaron, who is missing and presumed dead. Carthya’s current king, queen and crown prince have been murdered, and war could erupt at any moment. When the regents meet in two weeks, Connor plans to produce long-lost "Prince Jaron," who will rule as his pawn. Competition becomes fierce as the boys realize the one chosen to play Jaron will be the only survivor. Sage’s disdain, defiance and reckless arrogance mark him for failure, but his boldness, instinct and innate decency indicate there’s more than meets the eye. Could Sage become Prince Jaron? Sage reveals his story in the first person in slowly unfolding layers guaranteed to shock. Ruthless ambition, fierce action and plotting, complex characters and lots of sword play and hidden passages keep pages flipping.

Readers of this multifaceted, well-crafted tale will eagerly await Sage’s further adventures. (map) (Adventure. 8-14)

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-28413-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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?

A grand narrative that examines the power of music to inspire beauty in a world overrun with fear and intolerance, it’s...

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Newbery Honor Book

ECHO

A multilayered novel set in turbulent times explores music’s healing power.

Sweeping across years and place, Ryan’s full-bodied story is actually five stories that take readers from an enchanted forest to Germany, Pennsylvania, Southern California, and finally New York City. Linking the stories is an ethereal-sounding harmonica first introduced in the fairy-tale beginning of the book and marked with a mysterious M. In Nazi Germany, 12-year-old Friedrich finds the harmonica in an abandoned building; playing it fills him with the courage to attempt to free his father from Dachau. Next, the harmonica reaches two brothers in an orphanage in Depression-era Pennsylvania, from which they are adopted by a mysterious wealthy woman who doesn’t seem to want them. Just after the United States enters World War II, the harmonica then makes its way to Southern California in a box of used instruments for poor children; as fifth-grader Ivy Lopez learns to play, she discovers she has exceptional musical ability. Ryan weaves these stories together, first, with the theme of music—symbolized by the harmonica—and its ability to empower the disadvantaged and discriminated-against, and then, at the novel’s conclusion, as readers learn the intertwined fate of each story’s protagonist.

A grand narrative that examines the power of music to inspire beauty in a world overrun with fear and intolerance, it’s worth every moment of readers’ time. (Historical fiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-439-87402-1

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more