Readers who enjoy inner conflicts, barbed dialogue, casts replete with supernatural creatures and fantasy epics that don’t...

READ REVIEW

CITY OF ICE

From the City series , Vol. 2

The chase after an evil sorcerer who is gathering up the scattered parts of a scarily powerful magical bow continues in this sequel to City of Fire (2009).

As the bad guy, Roland, and his dragon, Badik, don’t show up until near the end and then only for a few moments the central plotline takes a back seat to the ongoing squabbles of the motley group of pursuers. The chase takes place in a world populated by figures from world mythology and Yep’s imagination in such hordes that they seem to outnumber its human population. Riding a sky raft driven by an amusingly boastful wind spirit, young Scirye and companions (which range from her fierce lap griffin and a self-absorbed, shapechanging badger to a maternal dragon and a troubled street youth) fly to the Arctic city of Novia Hafnia and the frozen wastes beyond, encountering wonder upon wonder along the way. Because even in the midst of battle and disaster the author always allows his characters time to marvel and exchange repartee, this won’t hold much appeal for readers after tightly woven, suspenseful tales.

Readers who enjoy inner conflicts, barbed dialogue, casts replete with supernatural creatures and fantasy epics that don’t take themselves too seriously will find it a treat.   (afterword, bibliography) (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: June 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7653-1925-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Starscape/Tom Doherty

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

Wholesome shading to bland, but well-stocked with exotic creatures and locales, plus an agreeable cast headed by a child...

KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES

A San Diego preteen learns that she’s an elf, with a place in magic school if she moves to the elves’ hidden realm.

Having felt like an outsider since a knock on the head at age 5 left her able to read minds, Sophie is thrilled when hunky teen stranger Fitz convinces her that she’s not human at all and transports her to the land of Lumenaria, where the ageless elves live. Taken in by a loving couple who run a sanctuary for extinct and mythical animals, Sophie quickly gathers friends and rivals at Foxfire, a distinctly Hogwarts-style school. She also uncovers both clues to her mysterious origins and hints that a rash of strangely hard-to-quench wildfires back on Earth are signs of some dark scheme at work. Though Messenger introduces several characters with inner conflicts and ambiguous agendas, Sophie herself is more simply drawn as a smart, radiant newcomer who unwillingly becomes the center of attention while developing what turn out to be uncommonly powerful magical abilities—reminiscent of the younger Harry Potter, though lacking that streak of mischievousness that rescues Harry from seeming a little too perfect. The author puts her through a kidnapping and several close brushes with death before leaving her poised, amid hints of a higher destiny and still-anonymous enemies, for sequels.

Wholesome shading to bland, but well-stocked with exotic creatures and locales, plus an agreeable cast headed by a child who, while overly fond of screaming, rises to every challenge. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4593-2

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more