Deliciously immersive and captivating.


From the Greenglass House series

Rain pours down and waters rise as a group of travelers, trapped by the weather in an inn above the river Skidwrack, tell stories.

Twelve guests plus innkeeper, maid, and neighbor Phineas Amalgam (compiler of these tales, according to the title page) make up the company of 15, including one child, Maisie, who is traveling alone. The stories, part morality tales and part facets of a drawing-room mystery, suggest a hidden conversation among the assembly: supplicating, surmising, interpreting, warning. Each guest is matched with an activity: dancing, building with cards, whittling, offering cigars, binding papers into books. Milford’s rich, complex language hints of magic and connection, of interwoven fates and tragedies. The stories celebrate patterns, numbers, marvelous inventions, puzzles, and possibilities. Several stories of peddlers, choices, crossroads, and arcane clockwork devices point to the mystery, and maps, keys, and music figure prominently. Madame Grisaille, Maisie, Petra, and Gregory Sangwin have darker skin while others are assumed White or, in the cases of the beautiful young man Sullivan and the tattooed brothers Negret and Reever, possibly other than human. The inn is full of its own secrets. Its rooms and layout will feel familiar to Greenglass House fans, but it’s set earlier in time, with a steampunk focus on cartography, gearwork, and combustion. At times wryly humorous and at others marvelously unnerving and superbly menacing, this novel delights.

Deliciously immersive and captivating. (Mystery. 9-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-328-46690-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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


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

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. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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


From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

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 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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