A boisterous, environmentally savvy adventure.



From the Nature Keepers series , Vol. 1

In this debut YA fantasy novel, a group of cousins carry on a family legacy of battling evil in a fantastic kingdom.

Eighteen-year-old Tyler Scott awakens during the night as an intense storm rages outside. He’s been having a recurring dream about sea horse–like creatures pulling a giant sailing ship through blue fog. He saw the same ship in real life while he was looking through his father’s powerful telescope. It turns out that his dad, professor Caleb Scott, knows all about the mysterious Blue Galleon. Twenty-one years ago, he and his siblings, Ella and Remy, traveled in it to the realm of Turena, the home of the Nature Keepers, who govern the powers of life and death on Earth. There, they fought for the Light Keepers against the Dark Keepers. A generation later, the Light Keepers need more help from the Scott family, which includes Tyler; his 15-year-old sister, Samara; and their cousins, Cyrus (17), Mantha (15), Maggie (10), and Noah (8). The six kids, along with Abigail, Caleb’s departmental assistant, travel to Turena on the Blue Galleon. Each carries a powerful artifact, such as Mantha’s Waterstone Ring, which can turn her invisible. Queen Alexandra enlists the clan to retrieve the Scepter of Light from the lair of the evil Barrell, who’s closer than ever to creating lasting darkness. For this series opener, Kirkland presents an engaging, structured world for young nature enthusiasts to explore. Real-life astronomical facts (about the blue-moon phenomenon, for example) accompany striking fantasy tableaux, including the Sea of Clouds, where “jellyfish floated into the sky like translucent, pastel-colored balloons, their tentacles fluttering like silk ribbons.” The tale’s central message that “the actions of humans can also influence Nature” is an important one for young readers to grasp. Kirkland’s large cast never feels like a faceless squad because the author fleshes out everyone carefully—from Markis, Keeper of the Light, to Baybourn, queen of the wasp warriors. Well-crafted relationships between characters and the seeding of important concepts throughout should win over fantasy fans looking for a fresh series.

A boisterous, environmentally savvy adventure.

Pub Date: July 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-692-94250-5

Page Count: 458

Publisher: Moonray Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

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A financier's Ponzi scheme unravels to disastrous effect, revealing the unexpected connections among a cast of disparate characters.

How did Vincent Smith fall overboard from a container ship near the coast of Mauritania, fathoms away from her former life as Jonathan Alkaitis' pretend trophy wife? In this long-anticipated follow-up to Station Eleven (2014), Mandel uses Vincent's disappearance to pick through the wreckage of Alkaitis' fraudulent investment scheme, which ripples through hundreds of lives. There's Paul, Vincent's half brother, a composer and addict in recovery; Olivia, an octogenarian painter who invested her retirement savings in Alkaitis' funds; Leon, a former consultant for a shipping company; and a chorus of office workers who enabled Alkaitis and are terrified of facing the consequences. Slowly, Mandel reveals how her characters struggle to align their stations in life with their visions for what they could be. For Vincent, the promise of transformation comes when she's offered a stint with Alkaitis in "the kingdom of money." Here, the rules of reality are different and time expands, allowing her to pursue video art others find pointless. For Alkaitis, reality itself is too much to bear. In his jail cell, he is confronted by the ghosts of his victims and escapes into "the counterlife," a soothing alternate reality in which he avoided punishment. It's in these dreamy sections that Mandel's ideas about guilt and responsibility, wealth and comfort, the real and the imagined, begin to cohere. At its heart, this is a ghost story in which every boundary is blurred, from the moral to the physical. How far will Alkaitis go to deny responsibility for his actions? And how quickly will his wealth corrupt the ambitions of those in proximity to it? In luminous prose, Mandel shows how easy it is to become caught in a web of unintended consequences and how disastrous it can be when such fragile bonds shatter under pressure.

A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-52114-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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