A sometimes-amusing, sometimes-thrilling, and always entertaining sequel that hints that math might be used for evil and the...

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QUEST MAKER

From the Last Dragon Charmer series , Vol. 2

Prince Caden, future Elite Paladin of the Greater Realm, continues to try and find a way home from the Land of Shadow (aka Asheville, North Carolina), where he and the young sorceress Brynne are trapped with some of their world’s greatest villains.

Red lightning signifies the presence of powerful magic and the arrival of another infamous villain, but when Caden and Brynne arrive at the site of the spell, all they find is the dagger used to murder one of Caden’s brothers. Villains are often banished with their weapons, so in addition to worrying about the Elderdragon that acts as their principal, their evil math teacher, and the wicked lunchroom ladies, Caden and Brynne must cope with a new foe. But when the newest arrival turns out to be Jasan, Caden’s oldest and angriest brother, neither knows quite what to do. Caden is a true individual and hero. Dedicated to the Paladin Code, he is honest, noble, and brave. Thankfully Brynne and the rest of his friends are willing to be flexible: sometimes it takes a little subterfuge to battle evil. As in series opener Villain Keeper (2015), McKay juxtaposes hoary fantasy tropes against 21st-century reality with verve.

A sometimes-amusing, sometimes-thrilling, and always entertaining sequel that hints that math might be used for evil and the mystery lunch might pack a deadly surprise. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-230846-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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This can’t be the last we ever hear of the Legendary Alston Boys of the purely surreal Logan County—imaginative,...

THE LAST LAST-DAY-OF-SUMMER

From the Legendary Alston Boys series , Vol. 1

Can this really be the first time readers meet the Legendary Alston Boys of Logan County? Cousins and veteran sleuths Otto and Sheed Alston show us that we are the ones who are late to their greatness.

These two black boys are coming to terms with the end of their brave, heroic summer at Grandma’s, with a return to school just right around the corner. They’ve already got two keys to the city, but the rival Epic Ellisons—twin sisters Wiki and Leen—are steadily gaining celebrity across Logan County, Virginia, and have in hand their third key to the city. No way summer can end like this! These young people are powerful, courageous, experienced adventurers molded through their heroic commitment to discipline and deduction. They’ve got their shared, lifesaving maneuvers committed to memory (printed in a helpful appendix) and ready to save any day. Save the day they must, as a mysterious, bendy gentleman and an oversized, clingy platypus have been unleashed on the city of Fry, and all the residents and their belongings seem to be frozen in time and place. Will they be able to solve this one? With total mastery, Giles creates in Logan County an exuberant vortex of weirdness, where the commonplace sits cheek by jowl with the utterly fantastic, and populates it with memorable characters who more than live up to their setting.

This can’t be the last we ever hear of the Legendary Alston Boys of the purely surreal Logan County—imaginative, thrill-seeking readers, this is a series to look out for. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-46083-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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