MISTER IMPOSSIBLE

From the Dreamer Trilogy series , Vol. 2

Whether dreamed or crafted, art engenders life.

Creation and destruction, art and mimicry, power and disenfranchisement: The world requires balance, but the Lynch brothers, standing at the center of it all, have always tended to extremes. Although Ronan continues to be the pivot, the dreams take precedence: Jordan finds herself as a maker rather than a forger while Matthew grapples with who he is now that he understands he was dreamed. Power dynamics have shifted following the showdown between the dreamers and the Moderators. Three groups—the dreamers, the dreams, plus a rogue Moderator/Visionary team, each selfish, amoral, and deeply sympathetic in turn—circle one another, trying to change or save the world, or dreams, or themselves, or all of the above. The dreamers want open ley lines and the freedom to dream. The dreamed want to live free of their dreamers. Farooq-Lane wants to stop killing but still stop the dreamers. More meditative than the first volume, this complexly plotted wonder offers little to reorient readers but much to engage them. Stiefvater’s pitch-perfect prose, detached and full of precise details, creates a tension that never lets up until the zinger of an ending that will leave fans gasping. The Lynch brothers are White; Jordan is Black, and Farooq-Lane’s name cues some Middle Eastern heritage.

Explosive. (Fantasy. 13-adult)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-18836-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula.

HOCUS POCUS AND THE ALL-NEW SEQUEL

In honor of its 25th anniversary, a Disney Halloween horror/comedy film gets a sequel to go with its original novelization.

Three Salem witches hanged in 1693 for stealing a child’s life force are revived in 1993 when 16-year-old new kid Max completes a spell by lighting a magical candle (which has to be kindled by a virgin to work). Max and dazzling, popular classmate Allison have to keep said witches at bay until dawn to save all of the local children from a similar fate. Fast-forward to 2018: Poppy, daughter of Max and Allison, inadvertently works a spell that sends her parents and an aunt to hell in exchange for the gleeful witches. With help from her best friend, Travis, and classmate Isabella, on whom she has a major crush, Poppy has only hours to keep the weird sisters from working more evil. The witches, each daffier than the last, supply most of the comedy as well as plenty of menace but end up back in the infernal regions. There’s also a talking cat, a talking dog, a gaggle of costumed heroines, and an oblique reference to a certain beloved Halloween movie. Traditional Disney wholesomeness is spiced, not soured, by occasional innuendo and a big twist in the sequel. Poppy and her family are white, while Travis and Isabella are both African-American.

A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula. (Fantasy. 10-15)

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-02003-9

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Freeform/Disney

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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A lushly written story with an intriguing heart.

ONCE UPON A BROKEN HEART

From the Once Upon a Broken Heart series , Vol. 1

After praying to a Fate for help, Evangeline discovers the dangerous world of magic.

When her father passes away, Evangeline is left with her cold stepmother and kind but distant stepsister, Marisol. Despite inheriting a steady trust in magic, belief in her late mother’s homeland of the mystical North (where fantastical creatures live), and philosophy of hope for the future, her dreams are dashed when Luc, her love, pledges to marry Marisol instead. Evangeline desperately prays to the Prince of Hearts, a dangerous and fickle Fate famed for his heart that is waiting to be revived by his one true love—and his potentially lethal kisses. The bargain they strike sends her on a dark and magical journey throughout the land. The writing style fluctuates from clever and original to overly verbose and often confusing in its jumble of senses. While the pervasive magic and concept of the Fates as a religious system add interest, other fantasy elements are haphazardly incorporated without enough time devoted to building a cohesive world. However, the themes of love, the power of story, family influence, and holding onto belief are well rounded and add depth. The plot contains welcome surprises, and the large cast piques curiosity; readers will wish more time was spent getting to know them. Evangeline has rose-gold hair and, like other main characters, reads as White; there is diversity among the fantasy races in this world.

A lushly written story with an intriguing heart. (map) (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26839-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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