Successfully evokes the sightless, slow-moving, claustrophobic, ever-present darkness of dystopian coal mines—but is that a...

ASHES OF TWILIGHT

From the Ashes of Twilight series , Vol. 1

Dystopian future plus steampunk plus romance: All these trendy ingredients are here plopped together in a plodding muddle.

Wren is a shiner, a coal miner whose family has lived in the bowels of the Earth for generations. When a comet threatened the world back in 1878, the royals moved into a city domed in glass, bringing soldiers, servants and a workforce to keep their protected enclave powered. Two centuries have passed, and the world outside is still wreathed in flame—or so Wren has always been taught. But others in her world are convinced there’s a better life. Wren, during a forbidden outing in the domed city above the mines, finds the dying, horribly burned body of her friend Alex, the words “the sky is blue,” on his lips. Now Wren’s on the run from the authorities, hiding away with a dreamy, blue-eyed boy. There’s another boy, of course, but Wren doesn’t want this one, who’s at least partly responsible for the ever-present threat of sexual violence in her world. Wren can save the blue-eyed boy or protect her village; seek the blue sky or find safety in darkness. Maybe she can snuggle in a freezing cave for a long time while she thinks about it.

Successfully evokes the sightless, slow-moving, claustrophobic, ever-present darkness of dystopian coal mines—but is that a victory in a romantic adventure? (Steampunk. 14-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-312-64178-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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Fans of the series who managed to enjoy volumes four and five will be pleased to find more of the same

THE DRAGONS OF WINTER

From the Imaginarium Geographica series , Vol. 6

The Caretakers fight the mind-controlling Echthroi through a tangle of timelines.

This penultimate volume in the Imaginarium Geographica series features such a massive ensemble of dead white men that it's difficult to follow their storylines. Don Quixote, Aristophanes and a badger quest for magic armor. Charles Williams, original characters Rose and Edmund, H.G. Wells, Richard Burton and a Clash of the Titans–style mechanical owl travel in time. J.R.R. Tolkien and Jules Verne meet a secret society so packed with dead authors that six William Blake clones ("We call them Blake's Seven") fit right in. A Chinese librarian speaking pidgin English betrays the questers, Medea meets Gilgamesh, and triple agents abound. A goblin market is peopled with characters from The Last Unicorn who make jokes from Blazing Saddles; Nathaniel Hawthorne paraphrases the 1988 cult classic They Live; a future Caretaker quotes Darth Vader. "Jules Verne show[s] goats descended from the herds of Genghis Khan in a county fair in an Indian nation in America … " Confused yet? If not, perhaps you'll be able to make sense of a resolution that relies on pasts that never were and futures that might-have-been.

Fans of the series who managed to enjoy volumes four and five will be pleased to find more of the same . (Fantasy. 14-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-1223-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2012

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THE PREY

From the Hunt series , Vol. 2

Out of the vampire-hunting-ground frying pan into the freakish-religious-cult fire.

Gene, Sissy and the boys aren't free of the bloodsuckers yet. Their thrilling escape from the hunting compound at the conclusion of The Hunt (2012) brought them to a serendipitous boat; now they rocket down the river as the monstrously strong vampires pursue them by night. Will their quest lead them to the promised Land of Milk and Honey, Fruit and Sunshine? A hidden village of generous, well-fed, happily singing villagers seems to glow with all the hope of their promised paradise. But all is not well in this compound: Gene worries that Sissy is forced to stay apart from both the boys and the village's eerily cheerful and heavily pregnant girls. As further evidence of wrongness, the village's charismatic leader has "smooth, effeminate" skin, and he and his henchmen are "all blubber and liquid fat"—clear indicators of his untrustworthiness and the general air of sexual violence. The standard creepy-cult-compound chapter of many a dystopian series is enhanced by a fast-paced escape sequence, peppered with the grotesqueries that mark Fukuda's vampire mythos. A few mysteries are solved, only to reveal further puzzles, and it all wraps up with a cinematic cliffhanger. A lengthy interlude in creepsterville, with the promise of a return to gory thrills. (Science fiction. 14-16)

 

Pub Date: Jan. 29, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-250-00511-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2012

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