A heroine who places herself in the back seat during a revolution makes for an unsatisfying end to the series. (Steampunk....

REMNANTS OF TOMORROW

The conclusion to the Ashes of Twilight trilogy misses the potential of its promised revolution, focusing on pining over punches.

Shadow of Glass (2013) left Wren imprisoned at the hands of her father, the Master General Enforcer of the dome. Now she waits in isolation for a chance to escape. An unexpected ally reveals the fate of her paramours, Pace and Levi, and soon enough, they’re reunited. However, Wren’s father quickly foils their getaway plan, and Wren and her friends are cast outside the dome, enslaved to a band of rovers. All but doomed in violent new territory, Wren must decide which boy she truly loves before it’s too late to tell him. The ensuing battles rip apart their old world as Wren finally confronts her father and greets the dawn of a new era. Tayler paints elaborate, engrossing settings and never shies from a well-orchestrated, bloody battle scene. However, Wren disappoints as a heroine. Though constantly told she inspires all around her, she lets her love interests lead in both the great battle for the dome and its aftermath. By the time Wren finally chooses a beau, readers will wish she’d chosen to focus on herself. Her flat, present-tense narration is meted out in short sentences, a choppy delivery that grates.

A heroine who places herself in the back seat during a revolution makes for an unsatisfying end to the series. (Steampunk. 14-16)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-312-64177-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

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It’s imaginative enough, but it lacks the convincing philosophical worldbuilding essential to successful fantasy.

THE TEMPLE OF DOUBT

From the Temple of Doubt series , Vol. 1

A fantasy series opener pits adolescent angst against an all-powerful religion.

Living in Port Sapphire, on the island of New Meridian in the world of Kuldor, almost-16-year-old Hadara chafes under the tenets of a religion headed by the god Nihil that teaches that magic is superior to anything in nature. Since Hadara and her mother continue the passed-down-in-the-female-line family business of concocting healing potions from plants, the two are regarded with suspicion even as their services are sought out by townspeople. When an object falls from the sky into the marsh, Azwans (mages of Nihil) and their oversized Feroxi guards arrive to investigate, complicating things for Hadara and her family, not least because Hadara begins to have feelings for one of the guards. Although Hadara is a delightfully pert narrator, the story’s foremost tension—her subversive doubt of Nihil’s tenets—fails to reach its full potential because the religious concepts are not convincingly clear enough to weave themselves inextricably into the story. Levy shines brightest in her potent descriptions of settings and her imaginative scenes. Continuity, however, is a recurring problem. Among other lapses, the first two chapters seem to be two separate beginnings.

It’s imaginative enough, but it lacks the convincing philosophical worldbuilding essential to successful fantasy. (Fantasy. 14-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-63220-427-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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Forgettable. (Fiction. 14-16)

HIT

A dual-narrator novel explores the concept of forgiveness.

Budding poet Sarah is torn between two colleges: Mills, which has offered her a full scholarship, and the University of Washington, whose only appeal is Mr. Haddings. A grad student and poet-in-residence at her school, the charismatic Haddings has Sarah considering a change of plans, to the dismay of Sarah’s controlling mother. Haddings knows he needs to keep the relationship professional, but he’s having a hard time with that. Then, in a moment of distraction, Haddings hits Sarah with his car. Over the next three days, Sarah will cope with the pain, the accident and her worries about her future, while her family—oblivious father, brittle mother and immature brother—and her best friend try to help her. Haddings copes with his crushing guilt, usually making choices that make everything worse. Straining credulity, both Sarah and Haddings wonder if there might be a chance for them still, when the more important question is whether they can ever forgive. Plot events are sequenced poorly and depend far too much on coincidence for their effect; the dual narrative does not provide substantial additional insight, making it feel contrived as well. Stilted dialogue makes characters feel flat, particularly Sarah’s brother.

Forgettable. (Fiction. 14-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-310-7295-0-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Blink

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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