Readers will be anxious for the second installment, soon to follow.

LAST DESCENDANTS

From the Assassin's Creed series , Vol. 1

The debut of an action-adventure series that ties in with the popular “Assassin’s Creed” video games.

Monroe, the information technology guy at Owen’s high school, runs an unusual operation: his Animus console allows users to enter simulations to explore genetic memories. For the 15-year-old white boy, this means he might be able to uncover the truth about his father. He doesn’t believe what his grandparents say about his father: that he had a gambling addiction, robbed a store, shot a guard. Owen feels his father was framed by friends, and that landed him in prison. That thread of the story proves to be a dead end, left to future installments, but in a simulation that sends Owen and others to New York City during the 1863 draft riots, Owen and companions finds themselves caught in the middle of an ancient rivalry between two factions, the Templar Order and the Assassins Brotherhood. Amid the fast-paced action and historical drama, they uncover an ancient relic, a Piece of Eden, with tremendous power. The fascinating, free-wheeling blend of science, history, and action-adventure will make this a sure hit, even for those who haven’t played the video games. The consciously diverse cast includes, in addition to Owen, a Latino, an African-American brother and sister, a Central Asian girl, and a white boy in a wheelchair.

Readers will be anxious for the second installment, soon to follow. (Science fiction. 11-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-85551-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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A trilogy opener both rich and strange, if heavy at the front end.

MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN

From the Peculiar Children series , Vol. 1

Riggs spins a gothic tale of strangely gifted children and the monsters that pursue them from a set of eerie, old trick photographs.

The brutal murder of his grandfather and a glimpse of a man with a mouth full of tentacles prompts months of nightmares and psychotherapy for 15-year-old Jacob, followed by a visit to a remote Welsh island where, his grandfather had always claimed, there lived children who could fly, lift boulders and display like weird abilities. The stories turn out to be true—but Jacob discovers that he has unwittingly exposed the sheltered “peculiar spirits” (of which he turns out to be one) and their werefalcon protector to a murderous hollowgast and its shape-changing servant wight. The interspersed photographs—gathered at flea markets and from collectors—nearly all seem to have been created in the late 19th or early 20th centuries and generally feature stone-faced figures, mostly children, in inscrutable costumes and situations. They are seen floating in the air, posing with a disreputable-looking Santa, covered in bees, dressed in rags and kneeling on a bomb, among other surreal images. Though Jacob’s overdeveloped back story gives the tale a slow start, the pictures add an eldritch element from the early going, and along with creepy bad guys, the author tucks in suspenseful chases and splashes of gore as he goes. He also whirls a major storm, flying bullets and a time loop into a wild climax that leaves Jacob poised for the sequel.

A trilogy opener both rich and strange, if heavy at the front end. (Horror/fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: June 7, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59474-476-1

Page Count: 234

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

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