Entertaining journeyman chapter in an ongoing epic.

DECAY

A YA dystopian sci-fi/fantasy adventure, the second volume in Lingane’s Tesla series, which mashes up the cyberpunk and steampunk subgenres.

Humanity has been forced into one last city, swamped by refugees and besieged by an endless army of cyborgs and dragons. The city and its Steam Academy are being rebuilt from previous battles, but the influx of new people, new buildings and new ideas has created a rapidly changing landscape for these final battles of survival. Young Sebastian and Melanie are Teslas—humans with paranormal abilities attuned to electrical fields—who have fought to protect humanity while searching for Sebastian’s lost mother. Now they prepare to go on a mission to fight the deadly cyborgs on their home turf while old and new friends prove to be unreliable and things grow murky and complicated. Seb and Melanie also find new feelings in their friendship, even as the struggle intensifies and the enemy launches its new weapons, the sullivans: “They’re over fifteen feet tall, with arms to their knees, muscles upon muscles, and they’re covered in some special armor that makes them impervious to EM attack.” While assuming readers are familiar with the setting from the first book, this volume proceeds straight into action. That’s only a minor issue in this entertaining, fairly well-written story that will have readers eager to turn the page to find out what happens next. Dialogue is crisp, pacing is strong, and despite its generally grim tone and flashes of violence, the story is dotted with touches of humor. Seb and Melanie are fun, personable teens whom readers can identify with and enjoy. The cyborg enemy is somewhat reminiscent of TV’s Cybermen and Borg species—a hive of human beings merged with machines and controlled by a central computer—which embody fears of zombielike conformity and personal oblivion. However, there’s more going on here than a revamp of fan favorites, and the story closes on a cliffhanger, preparing readers for the next novel, Faraday.

Entertaining journeyman chapter in an ongoing epic.

Pub Date: April 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-0992377984

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Insync Holdings

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2014

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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