DAY OF DELIVERANCE

From the Jack Christie Adventures series , Vol. 2

Jack Christie and his hulking sidekick, Angus (introduced in Day of the Assassins, 2009), take another trip into the past as agents of VIGIL, this time to scotch a scheme by the megalomaniac Pendleshape and his Revisionists to support the Spanish Armada with modern weaponry. Gore-splashed—Jack and Angus arrive just in time to witness the graphically described beheading of Mary, Queen of Scots—and fast-paced, the jaunt features plenty of chases and escapes, as well as encounters with the likes of Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth, not to mention extended scenes of actors in drunken revelry for comic relief and a violent climactic sea battle aboard Sir Francis Drake’s flagship. As before, O’Brien seems to see no conflict between VIGIL’s determination to prevent the past from being changed and its agents’ willingness to use 21st-century technology openly—and even leave it behind. Still, noncritical readers will enjoy the nonstop action, as well as the glimpses of historical figures. The author includes afternotes on the latter. (Time-travel fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5075-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2010

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I AM NUMBER FOUR

From the Lorien Legacies series , Vol. 1

If it were a Golden Age comic, this tale of ridiculous science, space dogs and humanoid aliens with flashlights in their hands might not be bad. Alas... Number Four is a fugitive from the planet Lorien, which is sloppily described as both "hundreds of lightyears away" and "billions of miles away." Along with eight other children and their caretakers, Number Four escaped from the Mogadorian invasion of Lorien ten years ago. Now the nine children are scattered on Earth, hiding. Luckily and fairly nonsensically, the planet's Elders cast a charm on them so they could only be killed in numerical order, but children one through three are dead, and Number Four is next. Too bad he's finally gained a friend and a girlfriend and doesn't want to run. At least his newly developing alien powers means there will be screen-ready combat and explosions. Perhaps most idiotic, "author" Pittacus Lore is a character in this fiction—but the first-person narrator is someone else entirely. Maybe this is a natural extension of lightly hidden actual author James Frey's drive to fictionalize his life, but literature it ain't. (Science fiction. 11-13)

     

 

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-06-196955-3

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2010

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With so many top-notch writers on tap, it's surprising this collection is only solid rather than exquisite; still, those...

WHAT YOU WISH FOR

A BOOK FOR DARFUR

This charitable benefit anthology gathers all-stars for both hits and misses on the theme of wishing.

Twelve stories are accompanied by five poems and one warmly vivid graphic short. Francisco X. Stork introduces Pablito, Breaker-Breaker and Sherry B in a stellar tale of teens supporting one another in a group home. Sofia Quintero's "The Great Wall," about a Jamaican-American girl with a thing for the Chinese-food delivery guy, is entertaining enough to overcome its brick-to-the-head lack of subtlety. Meg Cabot's nerdy hero, seeking a friend, is heartbreakingly funny. The stories cover First World problems, far from the Sudanese refugees described in the saccharine foreword by Mia Farrow, but that distance only helps the collection. John Green's "Reasons" directly addresses some of the moral issues underlying the desire to rescue people from other countries in a thought-provoking piece about a boy in love with a sponsored Kashmiri child. Ann M. Martin's epistolary tale shows two girls with different sets of financial and social problems finding support in each other's friendship. As for the poetry, with offerings from Naomi Shihab Nye, Marilyn Nelson, Gary Soto and Nikki Giovanni, even these tiny verses are lovely.

With so many top-notch writers on tap, it's surprising this collection is only solid rather than exquisite; still, those readers willing to brave anthologies will be rewarded . (Anthology. 11-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25454-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Aug. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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