Next book


From the Ravenfall series , Vol. 2

A strong, enchanting adventure.

Young teens Colin and Anna travel to the Otherworld to thwart an attack on the Tree of Life.

In this sequel to Ravenfall (2022) that’s set during the eight nights of Hanukkah, Josephson dives into the arcana of Jewish mythology. Shortly after Anna’s father returns from an expedition with what he says is the Seal of Solomon, an old acquaintance of his named Salem, who is a Raven, or “guardian of the supernatural world responsible for helping to maintain its balance,” arrives at the inn as if by chance. According to Salem, the demon Ashmedai intends to absorb the magic from the Tree of Life, gathering all its power. The interweaving of (largely Western) folk and mystical traditions with encounters in the magical realm of Sheol is nicely realized. Magical practices—Colin’s use of his Ravenguard journal to hold weapons, and Anna’s ability to “read” artifacts and living beings—are described with authority. Anna struggles to understand her father, while Colin struggles with his desires to master his Raven warrior magic and avoid using the power that he inherited from Fin, the wicked King of the Dead. He sees Salem as a mentor, but Anna has her doubts. Chapters in Anna’s and Colin’s first-person voices alternate, along with several from the perspective of the Ravenfall Inn itself. The amalgam of mythical creatures and traditional beliefs provides context for a fantasy that feels original and is both captivating and convincing. Most characters read white.

A strong, enchanting adventure. (Fantasy. 9-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2023

ISBN: 9780593483626

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023

Next book


From the School for Good and Evil series , Vol. 1

Rich and strange (and kitted out with an eye-catching cover), but stronger in the set pieces than the internal logic.

Chainani works an elaborate sea change akin to Gregory Maguire’s Wicked (1995), though he leaves the waters muddied.

Every four years, two children, one regarded as particularly nice and the other particularly nasty, are snatched from the village of Gavaldon by the shadowy School Master to attend the divided titular school. Those who survive to graduate become major or minor characters in fairy tales. When it happens to sweet, Disney princess–like Sophie and  her friend Agatha, plain of features, sour of disposition and low of self-esteem, they are both horrified to discover that they’ve been dropped not where they expect but at Evil and at Good respectively. Gradually—too gradually, as the author strings out hundreds of pages of Hogwarts-style pranks, classroom mishaps and competitions both academic and romantic—it becomes clear that the placement wasn’t a mistake at all. Growing into their true natures amid revelations and marked physical changes, the two spark escalating rivalry between the wings of the school. This leads up to a vicious climactic fight that sees Good and Evil repeatedly switching sides. At this point, readers are likely to feel suddenly left behind, as, thanks to summary deus ex machina resolutions, everything turns out swell(ish).

Rich and strange (and kitted out with an eye-catching cover), but stronger in the set pieces than the internal logic. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: May 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-210489-2

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

Next book


From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship.

A young tennis champion becomes the target of revenge.

In this sequel to Legacy and the Queen (2019), Legacy Petrin and her friends Javi and Pippa have returned to Legacy’s home province and the orphanage run by her father. With her friends’ help, she is in training to defend her championship when they discover that another player, operating under the protection of High Consul Silla, is presenting herself as Legacy. She is so convincing that the real Legacy is accused of being an imitation. False Legacy has become a hero to the masses, further strengthening Silla’s hold, and it becomes imperative to uncover and defeat her. If Legacy is to win again, she must play her imposter while disguised as someone else. Winning at tennis is not just about money and fame, but resisting Silla’s plans to send more young people into brutal mines with little hope of better lives. Legacy will have to overcome her fears and find the magic that allowed her to claim victory in the past. This story, with its elements of sports, fantasy, and social consciousness that highlight tensions between the powerful and those they prey upon, successfully continues the series conceived by late basketball superstar Bryant. As before, the tennis matches are depicted with pace and spirit. Legacy and Javi have brown skin; most other characters default to White.

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949520-19-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

Close Quickview