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From the Gabriel Gale's Ages of Oz series , Vol. 1

A fast-paced series opener.

Dorothy wasn’t the first young girl to take an epic journey down the Yellow Brick Road.

Long before becoming the Good Witch of the South, Glinda Gavaria was a wide-eyed, red-haired white teenager from Quadling Country whose biggest worry was what career she would be forced to accept. Poised to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a seamstress, Glinda quickly learns that life in Oz is nothing like what it seems. Her mother, a seemingly benign seamstress, is actually a powerful sorceress whose revolutionary faction is trying to restore Princess Ozma to the throne, stolen from her while fighting against the four wicked witches who have a stranglehold on the four Oz kingdoms. In Fiedler’s dystopian reimagining of the Oz mythos, the country is suppressed by four wicked witches who forbid the use of magic while subjugating the citizens to the rule of a secret evil sorceress to whom the witches owe their allegiance. While this novel stands alone on its own merits, readers familiar with Baum’s original series will enjoy spending time with famous characters such as the malevolent Mombi and Nick Chopper midway through his transformation into the Tin Woodsman. The author crafts an intricate world filled with excitement and magical creatures, but unfortunately Glinda’s character does not fully crystallize before she is swept up in her adventure.

A fast-paced series opener. (Fantasy. 12-17)

Pub Date: May 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6971-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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From the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series , Vol. 1

The sardonic tone of the narrator’s voice lends a refreshing air of realism to this riotously paced quest tale of heroism...

Edgar Award–winning Riordan leaves the adult world of mystery to begin a fantasy series for younger readers. 

Twelve-year-old Percy (full name, Perseus) Jackson has attended six schools in six years. Officially diagnosed with ADHD, his lack of self-control gets him in trouble again and again. What if it isn’t his fault? What if all the outrageous incidents that get him kicked out of school are the result of his being a “half-blood,” the product of a relationship between a human and a Greek god? Could it be true that his math teacher Mrs. Dodds transformed into a shriveled hag with bat wings, a Fury, and was trying to kill him? Did he really vanquish her with a pen that turned into a sword? One need not be an expert in Greek mythology to enjoy Percy’s journey to retrieve Zeus’s master bolt from the Underworld, but those who are familiar with the deities and demi-gods will have many an ah-ha moment. Along the way, Percy and his cohort run into Medusa, Cerberus and Pan, among others. 

The sardonic tone of the narrator’s voice lends a refreshing air of realism to this riotously paced quest tale of heroism that questions the realities of our world, family, friendship and loyalty. (Fantasy. 12-15)

Pub Date: July 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7868-5629-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2005

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Sensitive subject matter that could have benefited from a subtler, more sober touch.

A Jewish girl joins up with Polish resistance groups to fight for her people against the evils of the Holocaust.

Chaya Lindner is forcibly separated from her family when they are consigned to the Jewish ghetto in Krakow. The 16-year-old is taken in by the leaders of Akiva, a fledgling Jewish resistance group that offers her the opportunity to become a courier, using her fair coloring to pass for Polish and sneak into ghettos to smuggle in supplies and information. Chaya’s missions quickly become more dangerous, taking her on a perilous journey from a disastrous mission in Krakow to the ghastly ghetto of Lodz and eventually to Warsaw to aid the Jews there in their gathering uprising inside the walls of the ghetto. Through it all, she is partnered with a secretive young girl whom she is reluctant to trust. The trajectory of the narrative skews toward the sensational, highlighting moments of resistance via cinematic action sequences but not pausing to linger on the emotional toll of the Holocaust’s atrocities. Younger readers without sufficient historical knowledge may not appreciate the gravity of the events depicted. The principal characters lack depth, and their actions and the situations they find themselves in often require too much suspension of disbelief to pass for realism.

Sensitive subject matter that could have benefited from a subtler, more sober touch. (afterword) (Historical fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-14847-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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