Deepens characterizations as it neatly sets up Volume 3

CURSES AND WARFARE

From the Tokens and Omens series

Twins Zander and Alexa are faced with the threat of warfare in this second book of the Tokens and Omen series.

At 17, Zander has been anointed with the task of training all the young warriors to prepare for war to defend their village of Puck’s Gulch, intended as a Utopian society for its five racially diverse tribes. His twin, Alexa, is on the path to become a fortuneteller. The twins have taken on Zephyr as an adopted little brother of sorts, whom Zander decides to train to fight among the warriors. As revealed in chapters that alternate perspective among these three main characters, secrecy and division in the tribes threaten to weaken their bond. Zander is on high alert, as he knows there are unknown traitors in the ranks. The women want to fight as warriors, and leader Zander wrestles with the need for fairness and his competing concern for their safety, especially one that he favors. Alexa’s impatience to use her magic before she is truly ready causes serious consequences for those closest to her; aligning with the women warriors who make their own preparations for war gives her direction. Though the story is not immediately riveting due to a slow build, the characters are well-developed and diverse, with a strong sense of camaraderie built among them. The setting is evocative of medieval Europe, with significant liberties in details and dialogue.

Deepens characterizations as it neatly sets up Volume 3 . (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63163-126-9

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Jolly Fish Press

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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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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Heartbreaking, historical, and a little bit hopeful.

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SALT TO THE SEA

January 1945: as Russians advance through East Prussia, four teens’ lives converge in hopes of escape.

Returning to the successful formula of her highly lauded debut, Between Shades of Gray (2011), Sepetys combines research (described in extensive backmatter) with well-crafted fiction to bring to life another little-known story: the sinking (from Soviet torpedoes) of the German ship Wilhelm Gustloff. Told in four alternating voices—Lithuanian nurse Joana, Polish Emilia, Prussian forger Florian, and German soldier Alfred—with often contemporary cadences, this stints on neither history nor fiction. The three sympathetic refugees and their motley companions (especially an orphaned boy and an elderly shoemaker) make it clear that while the Gustloff was a German ship full of German civilians and soldiers during World War II, its sinking was still a tragedy. Only Alfred, stationed on the Gustloff, lacks sympathy; almost a caricature, he is self-delusional, unlikable, a Hitler worshiper. As a vehicle for exposition, however, and a reminder of Germany’s role in the war, he serves an invaluable purpose that almost makes up for the mustache-twirling quality of his petty villainy. The inevitability of the ending (including the loss of several characters) doesn’t change its poignancy, and the short chapters and slowly revealed back stories for each character guarantee the pages keep turning.

Heartbreaking, historical, and a little bit hopeful. (author’s note, research and sources, maps) (Historical fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-16030-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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