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

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

LEGACY AND THE DOUBLE

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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A moving tale of baseball, magic, and former rivals who come together to solve a problem.

MUCH ADO ABOUT BASEBALL

A middle schooler struggles to adjust after moving to an idyllic Massachusetts town.

Trish Das is at a crossroads. Not only is the 12-year-old unhappy that her family has moved yet again due to her mother’s cardiology career, she also has to try out for a new baseball team. The fact that one of her new teammates is a former archrival further complicates matters. Math prodigy Ben Messina went head-to-head against fellow math whiz Trish at last spring’s Math Puzzlers Championship. When Trish emerged victorious, Ben was stunned. The two get closer when the team’s mysterious pregame snacks start making everyone play better while also causing magical side effects during games. Equally surprising are the cryptic puzzle booklets Trish and Ben receive in the mail that lead them to even more wins. But as the puzzles get harder to solve, the risk of failing to do so increases. Alternating between Trish’s and Ben’s perspectives, LaRocca’s novel—a companion to 2019’s Midsummer’s Mayhem—is a Much Ado About Nothing homage that explores parental expectations, complicated friendships, and teamwork. The protagonists’ love of problem-solving shines through, and the puzzles themselves are clearly explained. As a third-generation Indian American, Trish also has moving conversations about the circumstances that led her grandparents to emigrate and how those decisions still impact their lives. Ben is implied White. Final illustrations not seen.

A moving tale of baseball, magic, and former rivals who come together to solve a problem. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4998-1101-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Yellow Jacket

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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