A captivating volley of revelations and resolutions.


From the Shadow Weaver series , Vol. 2

Emmeline and company return to thwart the nefarious Lady Aisling in Connolly’s gripping conclusion to her Shadow Weaver duet.

When the Cerelia Comet, under which all magically talented children are born, streaks through the sky 12 years early, there can only be one cause—Lady Aisling. A centuries-old magic eater, Lady Aisling steals and traps other talented people, and the comet’s early arrival means she has gained control of a sky shaker, who has the power to rearrange celestial bodies at will. Meanwhile, Emmeline and Lucas work hard to hone their respective talents of shadow weaving and light singing, which allowed them to escape Lady Aisling’s clutches before, but when Lucas’ parents are captured, the duo must flee to find the secret network that protects talented people and seek help. Terrified at the prospect that Lady Aisling may cultivate more magical children to harvest, Emmeline and Lucas and a small handful of new friends prepare to take her down once and for all. But to have a chance of defeating Lady Aisling, they must work with someone just as dangerous—Dar, Emmeline’s former shadow and Lady Aisling’s twin sister. Picking up immediately after the events of the first book, this narrative immerses readers in the layered tensions of a fight for survival, building them to the breaking point. Conflict on a cosmic scale is no simple thing to contain effectively, but a more action-oriented focus than its prequel and a classic evil to defeat keep things balanced. The book assumes a white default.

A captivating volley of revelations and resolutions. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4998-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.


From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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The series keeps cruising along…though iffy casting may be an early sign that it’s losing steam.


From the Spy School series , Vol. 9

In a new caper, the Spy School team thwarts a fiendish scheme on the high seas.

A fresh chance to catch up to world-class gourmand and perennial foe Murray Hill plants dogged CIA junior agent Ben Ripley and associates—including markedly more competent classmate Erica Hale and her equally able mom, Catherine—aboard the Emperor of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, for a fresh round of ridiculously destructive chases, startling twists, and repeated attempts on the hapless young spy’s life that are somehow always averted in the nick of time. Along with adding a grandfatherly, eco-conscious Costa Rican drug lord to the supporting cast, Gibbs flirts with stereotypes by trotting in, among the few characters who don’t at least present as White, a Chinese teen given to muddling her English idioms, her bling-loving mother, and a chipper shipboard event manager of Australian Indigenous descent. Still, the revved-up plot will leave readers as breathless as Ben is in the wake of a final, unexpected turn in his relationship with Erica. Finally, finally nabbing the slobby supervillain (at least for now) as well as saving the lives of hundreds of oblivious, hard-partying onboard tourists must count for something.

The series keeps cruising along…though iffy casting may be an early sign that it’s losing steam. (Thriller. 10-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-7943-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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