Easily the best book in the trilogy.

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NEVER

From the Lightbringer series , Vol. 3

Left powerless and near death in Reaper (2012), Wendy must unravel the mysteries of her Reaper family before the Lady Walker’s evil plans reach fruition.

While physically comatose, Wendy joins her ghost friends in a desperate attempt to thwart her family’s schemes and stay alive. These plots now come from two angles, as her cousin Jane isn’t working with Reaper leader Elise anymore. Also, there’s the Lady Walker, who, in between reaching out to invite Wendy to join her side, opens pathways to the Never for the terrifying creatures that live in the space between worlds. These grotesque creatures are a welcome addition to the story, as horrifying as they are fun. To defeat Elise’s manipulation and the Lady Walker’s destructive plans, Wendy must uncover her mother’s history with Elise as well as Piotr’s past and history with Reapers (and surprising Reaper mythology). The expository flashbacks and dream sequences occasionally disrupt the story rhythm, but the action scenes are exciting and mostly believable. Some of the awkward dialogue that plagued the trilogy’s previous installments is minimized by the faster pace and near-constant action. Wendy’s siblings, drawn into the fray, join the cast of side characters endangered to raise stakes. The conclusion drops a few plot points entirely, but it ends on an emotionally complex, satisfying note.

Easily the best book in the trilogy. (Fantasy. 12-17)

Pub Date: May 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-61614-771-6

Page Count: 302

Publisher: Pyr/Prometheus Books

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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May well beguile readers with its mix of magic and political intrigue.

SHIELDED

From the Shielded series , Vol. 1

A princess fights to save her kingdom while trying to conceal her magic.

On the eve of her 17th birthday, Princess Jennesara learns of her betrothal to the prince of Turia, an alliance made by her father to secure the neighboring kingdom’s military support in quelling the fighting at his borders. Before she is sent away to safety in Turia, she learns of other worrying developments brewing at home: A burned letter references a search for the mages’ library, illicit magic is being used in skirmishes at the borders, and there is a potential betrayal within her father’s circle of trust. She frets, too, about her own secret magic being discovered, for only her older brother, Ren, is supposed to possess magic. On their way to Turia, Jenna’s party is ambushed and she narrowly escapes. She is forced to fend for herself and find her own way to Turia to discover who betrayed her family and what secrets lie in the rumored mages’ library. Jenna conceals her identity and ingratiates herself with her betrothed’s family as she eludes the threat of a shadowy, sinister foe. Though overflowing with common fantasy tropes and featuring lengthy expository passages, this series opener nevertheless features affable characters and moves at a solid clip that will keep readers entertained. Jenna’s people are fair-haired while Turians are olive-skinned with dark hair.

May well beguile readers with its mix of magic and political intrigue. (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: July 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-11853-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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A trilogy opener both rich and strange, if heavy at the front end.

MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN

From the Peculiar Children series , Vol. 1

Riggs spins a gothic tale of strangely gifted children and the monsters that pursue them from a set of eerie, old trick photographs.

The brutal murder of his grandfather and a glimpse of a man with a mouth full of tentacles prompts months of nightmares and psychotherapy for 15-year-old Jacob, followed by a visit to a remote Welsh island where, his grandfather had always claimed, there lived children who could fly, lift boulders and display like weird abilities. The stories turn out to be true—but Jacob discovers that he has unwittingly exposed the sheltered “peculiar spirits” (of which he turns out to be one) and their werefalcon protector to a murderous hollowgast and its shape-changing servant wight. The interspersed photographs—gathered at flea markets and from collectors—nearly all seem to have been created in the late 19th or early 20th centuries and generally feature stone-faced figures, mostly children, in inscrutable costumes and situations. They are seen floating in the air, posing with a disreputable-looking Santa, covered in bees, dressed in rags and kneeling on a bomb, among other surreal images. Though Jacob’s overdeveloped back story gives the tale a slow start, the pictures add an eldritch element from the early going, and along with creepy bad guys, the author tucks in suspenseful chases and splashes of gore as he goes. He also whirls a major storm, flying bullets and a time loop into a wild climax that leaves Jacob poised for the sequel.

A trilogy opener both rich and strange, if heavy at the front end. (Horror/fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: June 7, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59474-476-1

Page Count: 234

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

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