REMEMBERING GREEN

In this sketchy, incoherent, near-future tale, a child named Rain and the lion she has raised are stolen from an inland village for some never-explained Sacrifice by “Tekkies” inhabiting The Island, a former mountaintop surrounded by risen seas. Aside from vague references to “the Wild,” “Drylands” and air-conditioned “chill chambers,” the author does little to set up either the scene or the back story, nor does she ever reveal why Rain or the lion are considered so significant. Instead she focuses almost entirely on Rain’s unhappiness and confusion through disconnected encounters with Island residents, and then she engineers a highly contrived escape for the girl and lion as their former prison is totally destroyed for unknown reasons. The deadly effects of global warming certainly make a cogent theme, but this effort to take it up seems to have been, at best, phoned in by a veteran South African author who usually offers much more careful and sensitive work (Song of Be, 1993, etc.). Goodness knows, there's a raft of other eco-disaster tales out there for readers so inclined. (Science fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84780-114-2

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

After fighting the evil Blouts in The Otherworldlies (2008), Fern must now face a deadlier menace: rooming with the school's...

THE SIREN'S CRY

Twelve-year-old Fern is an Otherworldly, a vampire—though why a non–blood-drinking, non-immortal, naturally born, teleporting telekinetic is called a “vampire” is left as an exercise to the reader.

After fighting the evil Blouts in The Otherworldlies (2008), Fern must now face a deadlier menace: rooming with the school's mean girls on a class trip to Washington, D.C. Fern's only distraction from the bullies tormenting her is her vision of a boy in a cage. The boy, she discovers, is Miles Zapo, a kidnapped Otherworldly just Fern's age. Fern suspects Miles, like her, is one of the Unusuals, destined to do something or other. (It's not clear what’s so Unusual, and it doesn't really matter; as long as there's a prophecy it's important, right?) The kidnapper is the dastardly Silver Tooth, also known as Haryle (“Hair-uh-Lee”) Laffar, brother of evil Vlad from Fern's previous adventure, and possessed of even more mysterious and evil secrets. The Smithsonian, the Hope diamond, moon rocks and mohawked, scaled, monstrous birds all play a part in Haryle's villainous plans for Miles and Fern. A firmly middle-school adventure (despite packaging attempting to capitalize on the paranormal craze among older teens) composed of cartoon villains, unconvincing heroes and a muddled, nonsensical plot.

Pub Date: June 28, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-199443-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Comfortably predictable fare for younger fans and those who prefer their fantasy charged with standard themes and tropes.

THE BRIGHTWORKING

From the Brightstone Saga series , Vol. 1

A blacksmith’s son becomes a wizard’s apprentice in this uncomplicated series opener.

Illiterate Mikal is snatched from his home village and pressed into service oiling bookbindings for the urban magicians of the Guild of Constant Working. Shortly thereafter, he is promoted to librarian/copyist for Harlano, the Guild’s cruel and remote head. The obligatory quest begins with a revelation that all the world’s magic is metal “brightworking,” derived from a lost meteoric “Brightstone.” Supposedly lost, that is—before sending Mikal and company into subsequent episodes (at least two more are planned), Thompson clumsily provides a huge and obvious clue to its whereabouts that his characters miss but readers won’t. Mikal acquires rudimentary reading skills along the way, as well as a quick-witted if mouthy sidekick named Lyra and Orichalkon, a babbling but extremely well-informed clockwork talking head. With their help, he escapes Harlano’s repeated efforts to do him in on the way to a massive fire and an invasion of the city that put him and his companions on the road.

Comfortably predictable fare for younger fans and those who prefer their fantasy charged with standard themes and tropes. (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7660-3950-6

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Enslow

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more