Between Owen, likable in his thoughtfully awkward way while evolving into a hero, and the lovingly crafted setting, Camp...

THE LOST CODE

From the Atlanteans series , Vol. 1

Coming-of-age story meets conspiracy thriller at a summer camp in a post–climate-catastrophe world.

During his first full day at Camp Eden Owen drowns. In the 10 minutes he's underwater before lifeguard (and Owen's crush) Lilly rescues him, he survives by sprouting gills. Camp Eden exists in a distant future wrecked so severely by global warming that it must be contained in climate-controlled BioDome. Owen's disastrous introduction to the camp is normal for him—he isn't a privileged full-time dome resident, but a kid who won a lottery to attend camp, socially awkward and physically weak. Lilly warns him not to reveal his gills to the staff and invites him into the counselor-in-training clique for secret swims with their shared mutations. Investigating the camp—why would letting the camp director know about the gills be dangerous?—leads to his discovery that the dome is close to failing, as well as hints at a larger scheme that will doom or save the world. The conspiracy hinges on Owen. Minor social conflicts fail to ramp up enough tension until the long-awaited main plot begins in earnest—more than halfway through—bringing high stakes. The plot suffers from the pacing, but it ends with a big finish.

Between Owen, likable in his thoughtfully awkward way while evolving into a hero, and the lovingly crafted setting, Camp Eden offers summer escapism. (Science fiction. 11-17)

Pub Date: May 22, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-206279-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Bound to be popular.

AN EMBER IN THE ASHES

From the Ember in the Ashes series , Vol. 1

A suddenly trendy trope—conflict and romance between members of conquering and enslaved races—enlivened by fantasy elements loosely drawn from Arabic tradition (another trend!).

In an original, well-constructed fantasy world (barring some lazy naming), the Scholars have lived under Martial rule for 500 years, downtrodden and in many cases enslaved. Scholar Laia has spent a lifetime hiding her connection to the Resistance—her parents were its leaders—but when her grandparents are killed and her brother’s captured by Masks, the eerie, silver-faced elite soldiers of the Martial Empire, Laia must go undercover as a slave to the terrifying Commandant of Blackcliff Military Academy, where Martials are trained for battle. Meanwhile, Elias, the Commandant’s not-at-all-beloved son, wants to run away from Blackcliff, until he is named an Aspirant for the throne by the mysterious red-eyed Augurs. Predictably, action, intrigue, bloodshed and some pounding pulses follow; there’s betrayal and a potential love triangle or two as well. Sometimes-lackluster prose and a slight overreliance on certain kinds of sexual violence as a threat only slightly diminish the appeal created by familiar (but not predictable) characters and a truly engaging if not fully fleshed-out fantasy world.

Bound to be popular. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: April 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-59514-803-2

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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