A great read for Star Wars fans young and old.

A TEST OF COURAGE

From the Star Wars: The High Republic series

After rogue bandits catastrophically sabotage a luxury liner on its passage across the stars, a group of young survivors finds refuge on a distant moon far from home.

The hubbub at Port Haileap surrounds the opulent Steady Wing, a vessel with a course set for a commemoration of the launch of Starlight Beacon, the Republic’s latest emissary for hope across the wild of the Outer Rim. Vernestra Rwoh—a green-skinned child prodigy and newly appointed Jedi Knight of 16—must accompany and protect senator’s daughter Avon Starros, a precocious 12-year-old brown-skinned girl with a science-oriented mind. Joining Vern’s mission is J-6, Avon’s sassy bodyguard droid. Shortly after takeoff, explosions rock the Steady Wing, killing almost all the passengers. Vern, Avon, and J-6 manage to escape, joined by Honesty Weft, the distraught son of an ambassador who perishes, and Imri Cantaros, a 14-year-old Padawan who loses his master. With little recourse, the group lands on a far-off moon thick with peculiar jungles and deadly rain, eluding the grasp of dangers that shadow them. This tale ends with a promise of more dangerous times ahead, and Ireland’s attention to conflict building feeds nicely into that guarantee. Rich internal third-person dialogue reveals dollops of inner turmoil for each character (sans droid) at key moments as well as providing some much-needed worldbuilding to make this a winning choice.

A great read for Star Wars fans young and old. (Science fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-05730-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun

THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH

From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 1

It’s been 42 days since the Monster Apocalypse began, and 13-year-old Jack Sullivan, a self-proclaimed “zombie-fighting, monster-slaying tornado of cool” is on a quest to find and rescue his not-so-secret crush, June Del Toro, whether she needs it, wants it, or not.

Jack cobbles together an unlikely but endearing crew, including his scientist best friend, Quint Baker; Dirk Savage, Parker Middle School’s biggest bully; and a pet monster named Rover, to help him save the damsel in distress and complete the “ULTIMATE Feat of Apocalyptic Success.” Middle-grade readers, particularly boys, will find Jack’s pitch-perfect mix of humor, bravado, and self-professed geekiness impossible to resist. His sidekicks are equally entertaining, and it doesn’t hurt that there are also plenty of oozing, drooling, sharp-toothed monsters and zombies and a host of gizmos and gadgets to hook readers and keep them cheering with every turn of the page. Holgate’s illustrations play an integral role in the novel’s success. They not only bring Brallier’s characters to life, but also add depth and detail to the story, making plain just exactly how big Rover is and giving the lie to Jack’s “killer driving.” The marriage of text and illustration serves as a perfect example of what an illustrated novel can and should be.

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun (. (Graphic/horror hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-01661-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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A-mew-sing fare for readers who sometimes feel like fraidycats themselves.

SCAREDY CAT

Two shelter cats take on a mysterious puss with weird powers who is terrorizing the feline community.

Hardly have timorous (and aptly named) Poop and her sophisticated buddy, Pasha, been brought home by their new “human beans” for a two-week trial than they are accosted by fiery-eyed Scaredy Cat, utterly trashing the kitchen with a click of his claws and, hissing that he’s in charge of the neighborhood, threatening that if they don’t act like proper cats—disdaining ordinary cat food and any summons (they are not dogs, after all), clawing the furniture instead of the scratching post, and showing like “cattitude”—it’ll be back to the shelter for them. Will Poop and Pasha prove to be fraidycats or flee to the cowed clowder of homeless cats hiding from the bully in the nearby woods? Nope, they are made of sterner stuff and resolutely set out to enlist feline allies in a “quest for life, liberty, and the pursuit of purrs!” Cast into a gazillion very short chapters related by furry narrators Poop and Pasha, who are helpfully depicted in portrait vignettes by Herzog at each chapter’s head, the ensuing adventures test the defiant kitties’ courage (and, in some cases, attention spans) on the way to a spooky but poignant climax set, appropriately enough as it happens, in a pet graveyard.

A-mew-sing fare for readers who sometimes feel like fraidycats themselves. (Adventure. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49443-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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