Soon the kingdom of Comnor, which like Narnia exists only in the imagination, will become a free republic, but not before a rebel named Com is removed. Tasha’s father abdicated his throne to begin a democratic republic, and Marko has been duly elected its president. In his absence, however, Com has declared himself the new king and has put Tasha and Marko’s little sister, Raina, into a compound for political prisoners. When Marko sends the symbol of a white dove, Tasha knows the time has come for her and Raina to flee. Her father’s brother, Ari, wearing the disguise of an old man, plans and executes their harrowing escape and their return to Marko—but not before vital state documents are retrieved from a secret bedroom compartment, thus ensuring Com’s downfall. Readers will not want to put this book down. Accounts of treachery, deceit, and truth rewarded fill this novel. Escaping from caves and a dungeon, Tasha’s determination to oust Com and rejoin the rebels gives her the courage to strive for her personal freedom and the freedom of her country. Boundless determination, hope, and desire put into action—these are the messages here. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-618-00464-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

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From the Lorien Legacies series , Vol. 1

If it were a Golden Age comic, this tale of ridiculous science, space dogs and humanoid aliens with flashlights in their hands might not be bad. Alas... Number Four is a fugitive from the planet Lorien, which is sloppily described as both "hundreds of lightyears away" and "billions of miles away." Along with eight other children and their caretakers, Number Four escaped from the Mogadorian invasion of Lorien ten years ago. Now the nine children are scattered on Earth, hiding. Luckily and fairly nonsensically, the planet's Elders cast a charm on them so they could only be killed in numerical order, but children one through three are dead, and Number Four is next. Too bad he's finally gained a friend and a girlfriend and doesn't want to run. At least his newly developing alien powers means there will be screen-ready combat and explosions. Perhaps most idiotic, "author" Pittacus Lore is a character in this fiction—but the first-person narrator is someone else entirely. Maybe this is a natural extension of lightly hidden actual author James Frey's drive to fictionalize his life, but literature it ain't. (Science fiction. 11-13)



Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-06-196955-3

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2010

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In a clumsy take on a well-used premise (see also the review of Winifred Morris's Liar, below), an at-risk city teenager is sent to his country relatives for attitude correction. To get Taylor away from bad friends, his mother dispatches him to the mountain home of his great-aunt and great-uncle near tiny Pandora, Texas. Although he carries a switchblade and shoplifts, Taylor makes an unconvincing juvie-in-training; despite failing English, he sends off long, glib letters to his friends—and vicious hate mail to his mother—describing how stupid and boring everything is, meanwhile pitching in with a will at the local grist mill and general store. He spends most of his wages on gifts for the children of an abusive, itinerant ``post-cutter'' and tree-poacher, teaching them to read in exchange for shooting lessons from the eldest of them, Jesse Lee. In a lachrymose climax, Taylor's mother shows up and confesses that she shot his father in a hunting accident, and Taylor owns up to a prank that left its victim in a coma. Garland (Cabin 102, 1995, etc.) only outlines the ending: Taylor is sentenced to a term of community service in a teen literacy center, spends his spare time at his victim's bedside, and gets an uplifting letter from Jesse Lee. An intriguing supporting cast goes to waste in a weak, uneven story. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-200661-3

Page Count: 211

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1996

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