MADDIGAN’S FANTASIA

A feisty circus girl and two alien boys embark on a perilous quest to save a failing city in this fantastical futurist adventure. Proud she’s a “true-born Maddigan,” 12-year-old Garland performs magic tricks and walks the tightrope in Maddigan’s Fantasia, her family’s traveling circus that criss-crosses the “nowhere” to entertain leftover people in leftover places following generations of cataclysmic poisonings, wars and plagues. When Garland’s father is killed by marauding Road Rats, she and her mother Maddie know Fantasia must move on since they are on a mission to find a new solar converter to supply power to Solis, the only surviving city. Then 15-year-old Timon and 11-year-old Eden appear with their baby sister, claiming to have traveled back in time fleeing from Nennog, their power-mad guardian. They join Fantasia’s odyssey through a hostile landscape, shadowed by Nennog’s assassin flunkies who repeatedly attempt to capture the boys and a mysterious talisman. As Garland confronts one obstacle after another, she remains true to her Maddigan roots while trying to sort out the mysterious Timon and Eden. An intense time-travel tale packed with Mahy’s usual repertoire of memorable tricksters, magical happenings and ominous undertones. (Fantasy. 10-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2007

ISBN: 978-1-4169-1812-7

Page Count: 512

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

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Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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CLOCKWORK ANGEL

From the Infernal Devices series , Vol. 1

A century before the events of Clare’s Mortal Instruments trilogy, another everyday heroine gets entangled with demon-slaying Shadowhunters. Sixteen-year-old orphaned Tessa comes to London to join her brother but is imprisoned by the grotesque Dark Sisters. The sisters train the unwilling Tessa in previously unknown shapeshifter abilities, preparing her to be a pawn in some diabolical plan. A timely rescue brings Tessa to the Institute, where a group of misfit Shadowhunters struggles to fight evil. Though details differ, the general flavor of Tessa’s new family will be enjoyably familiar to the earlier trilogy’s fans; the most important is Tessa’s rescuer Will, the gorgeous, sharp-tongued teenager with a mysterious past and a smile like “Lucifer might have smiled, moments before he fell from Heaven.” The lush, melodramatic urban fantasy setting of the Shadowhunter world morphs seamlessly into a steampunk Victorian past, and this new series provides the setup for what will surely be a climactic battle against hordes of demonically powered brass clockworks. The tale drags in places, but this crowdpleaser’s tension-filled conclusion ratchets toward a new set of mysteries. (Steampunk. 13-15)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4169-7586-1

Page Count: 496

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2010

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