Auxier has a juggler’s dexterity with prose that makes this fantastical tale quicken the senses, even if it does bog down...

PETER NIMBLE AND HIS FANTASTIC EYES

What begins Dickensian turns Tolkien-esque in this quest replete with magic and mystery.

Peter Nimble is an orphan. Blinded by ravens in infancy and made to steal for the town’s beggar-monger (think Fagin), Peter becomes an expert thief and pickpocket. His wretched existence changes when he steals a box containing eggs that are actually three pairs of magical eyes. When Peter drops the first pair into his eye-sockets, he’s instantly swept away. Thus begins a perilous adventure wrought from a riddle found in a bottle. After much travail, Peter learns that the mysterious eyes are not always dependable. He seeks and eventually finds a vanished kingdom, where he faces a tyrannical king. The king has brainwashed all the adults and enslaved all of their children, who are controlled by a horde of bloodthirsty apes. The action never flags, even though the suspense does. With one onslaught after another, the violence turns from suggested to overt, with weaponry and bloody battles. Solving the riddle and embracing his destiny are just the beginning of Peter’s problems. In the end it’s Peter’s true talents, not magic, that prove most reliable.

Auxier has a juggler’s dexterity with prose that makes this fantastical tale quicken the senses, even if it does bog down from time to time. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0025-5

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2011

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CHANGING MOON

From the Nola's Worlds series

Bubble-gum–tinged whimsy abounds in this stylish French graphic-novel import. Cotton-candy–tressed Nola spends her days dreaming in her peaceful town, Alta Donna. Her world is cozy and ordinary until she meets the aloof and mysterious Damiano and Inés. Nola quickly learns that there are strange forces after the siblings and is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery. Nola and her friends radiate a funky fashion sense, constantly changing clothes and hairstyles; it’s hard to imagine a reader who wouldn’t want to raid her closet. This first installment propels forward with the force of a rocket—albeit a very pink, fanciful one. Luckily for the ravenous reader, the whole trilogy releases simultaneously (#2, Ferrets and Ferreting Out, PLB: 978-0-7613-6504-4; #3, Even for a Dreamer Like Me, PLB: 978-0-7613-6505-1). Though it's a fantastic visual experience, the actual plot is thin; even as Nola delves into the mystery in the subsequent volumes, the narrative never really gains any degree of complexity. However, with its upbeat palette (courtesy of Pop), manga-inspired art and hip characters, this charmer is sure to please preteen girls. (Graphic fiction. 9-12)



Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7613-6538-9

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2010

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Emily’s motives turn out to be little more than a pretext, but the author delivers another clever, suspenseful drama in the...

DEADLY PINK

Vande Velde again traps teenagers inside an authentically depicted arcade game—but here she works twists into the premise that are both amusing and crank up the danger.

As in User Unfriendly (1991) and Heir Apparent (2002), the game, called “The Land of Golden Butterflies,” is manufactured by the shadowy Rasmussem Corp. and is fully immersive, fed directly into the brain through electrodes. Into this game 14-year-old Grace Pizzelli’s big sister Emily has gone; moreover, she has refused to come out and altered the code so she can’t be forcibly ejected. As sessions that run longer than a few hours cause brain damage and death, the corporation desperately turns to Grace to follow Emily in and persuade her to leave. Reluctantly agreeing, Grace discovers to her disgust that, rather than offering the usual heroic-fantasy or science-fiction setting, this digital world has been colored in pinks and lavenders. It is stocked with (supposedly) benign magical creatures and hunky male servitors—in general, it seems designed to cater to 10-year-old would-be princesses. The idyll has gone sour, though, because thanks to Emily’s fiddling, not only have the wish-granting sprites turned nasty, but the game’s governing Artificial Intelligence has changed the Rules—disabling the “Quit” function and forcing both Grace and her already-failing sister to embark on a seemingly hopeless quest with their real lives at stake.

Emily’s motives turn out to be little more than a pretext, but the author delivers another clever, suspenseful drama in the digital domain. (Science fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: July 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-547-73850-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

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