Kirkus Reviews QR Code


From the Tristan Strong series, volume 3

by Kwame Mbalia

Pub Date: Oct. 5th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-368-05487-4
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents/Disney

The much-anticipated conclusion to the Tristan Strong trilogy.

It’s been two weeks since the events of Tristan Strong Destroys the World (2020), and Tristan is trying to find the many Alkeans “scattered across the country.” While searching for his Alkean friends, Tristan discovers children and spirits are being snatched and that his old foe, King Cotton, is free and has a nefarious plan that threatens the Alkeans’ and Tristan’s worlds alike. Fascinating new characters are introduced, but readers, sadly, don’t spend enough time with them; old friends reappear—readers will be happy to see the return of fan favorite Gum Baby. Sobering truths are balanced with humor and moments of wisdom throughout: “…anger uncontrolled is chaotic at best. At worst? It’s a time bomb. But anger leashed, anger harnessed, anger shaped and molded and given purpose? It can be a tool.” The pacing is choppy at times, but this story is just as action-packed as the previous two. Tristan, no longer a reluctant hero, continues to behave with reckless impetuousness despite experiencing the consequences of his actions, moving him from realistically fallible to borderline questionable, especially since the warnings he ignores are often from women and girls who suffer the consequences of his poor decisions. That said, fans of the series will enjoy this return to his story. Tristan and most other characters are Black.

A satisfying finale.

(Fantasy. 10-14)