ATTACK OF THE FIEND

From the Last Apprentice series , Vol. 4

Once again packaged as a doorstopper but reading as if it’s half the length, the fourth episode in the harrowing training of teenaged Tom Ward as a bulwark against all that is evil and supernatural brings some disturbing revelations about his absent mother’s identity. Plus there are battles with undead creatures, a trained assassin who likes to use scissors, three entire clans of witches—and not just a fiend, not just some fiend, but Old Nick himself, newly re-invited back to the world and far more powerful than all other threats combined. Fortunately (if that’s the word), with help from a small but doughty crew of allies that swells with the addition of two winged, bestial vampires who turn out to be relatives, Tom pulls through; the stage is set, though, for further bloody struggles with the Devil and his minions. Dark chapter-head illustrations add a properly ominous air to the narrative, as do closing notes on each ghost, ghast, wight and worse he has met. Not recommended for beneath-the-sheets reading. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: March 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-06-089127-5

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Greenwillow

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2008

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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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AKATA WITCH

Who can't love a story about a Nigerian-American 12-year-old with albinism who discovers latent magical abilities and saves the world? Sunny lives in Nigeria after spending the first nine years of her life in New York. She can't play soccer with the boys because, as she says, "being albino made the sun my enemy," and she has only enemies at school. When a boy in her class, Orlu, rescues her from a beating, Sunny is drawn in to a magical world she's never known existed. Sunny, it seems, is a Leopard person, one of the magical folk who live in a world mostly populated by ignorant Lambs. Now she spends the day in mundane Lamb school and sneaks out at night to learn magic with her cadre of Leopard friends: a handsome American bad boy, an arrogant girl who is Orlu’s childhood friend and Orlu himself. Though Sunny's initiative is thin—she is pushed into most of her choices by her friends and by Leopard adults—the worldbuilding for Leopard society is stellar, packed with details that will enthrall readers bored with the same old magical worlds. Meanwhile, those looking for a touch of the familiar will find it in Sunny's biggest victories, which are entirely non-magical (the detailed dynamism of Sunny's soccer match is more thrilling than her magical world saving). Ebulliently original. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 14, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-670-01196-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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