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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Equal parts entertaining and thought-provoking.

I AM NOT STARFIRE

Sixteen-year-old Mandy considers herself the anti-Starfire: Unlike her scantily clad superhero mother, she doesn’t have superpowers, can’t fly, and doesn’t even own a bathing suit.

Mandy dyes her hair and dresses in all black to further call out how different they are. Mandy’s best friend, Lincoln, whose parents were born in Vietnam, insightfully summarizes this rift as being down to an intergenerational divide that occurs whether parents and children come from different countries or different planets. Mandy tries to figure out what kind of future she wants for herself as she struggles with teenage insecurities and bullying, her relationship with her mom, and her budding friendship (or is it something more?) with her new class project partner, Claire. Yoshitani’s vibrant and colorful stylized illustrations beautifully meld the various iterations of Starfire and the Titans with the live-action versions of those characters. Together with Tamaki’s punchy writing, this coming-of-age story of identity, family, friendship, and saving the world is skillfully brought to life in a quick but nuanced read. These layers are most strongly displayed as the story draws parallels between cultural differences between the generations as evidenced in how the characters address bullying, body positivity, fatphobia, fetishization and sexualization, and feminism. This title addresses many important concepts briefly, but well, with great pacing, bold art, and concise and snappy dialogue. The cast is broadly diverse in both primary and secondary characters.

Equal parts entertaining and thought-provoking. (Graphic fantasy. 14-16)

Pub Date: July 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77950-126-4

Page Count: 184

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more