Uneven yet at moments exceedingly exciting: readers who stick through to the end will be looking for the next in the series.

READ REVIEW

THE TELLING STONE

From the Time Out of Time series , Vol. 2

Timothy James Maxwell and his friends continue their adventure in cosmic realms.

Think of The Dark is Rising and A Swiftly Tilting Planet: when Celtic forces of good, evil, and the fairy folk come together, snow flies, winds rise, and mere mortals are caught off balance. McQuerry dives right in, picking up where she left off in series opener Beyond the Door (2014). The one-eyed evil representative of the Dark, Balor, wreaks havoc on the Marketplace out of time, while armies of trees and birds join to beat back his reptile and insect forces. An enigmatic map and a Christmas (when “the Light comes into the world”) trip to Edinburgh set the stage for another mythic encounter between good and evil. McQuerry borrows freely for her tropes, tossing in ancient tales, the Scottish regalia, Macbeth’s Dunsinane, the Wild Hunt, and fairy folk with a great deal of scope and ambition. Though she slides distractingly from one point of view to another in early chapters, she sticks with young Timothy for most of the rest, engaging readers in his predicament and the web of cosmic tension. The overlap of mythical and present is nicely realized, with adults especially not what they seem, whether representative of good or evil.

Uneven yet at moments exceedingly exciting: readers who stick through to the end will be looking for the next in the series. (Fantasy. 9-13)

Pub Date: May 12, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1494-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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  • Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Winner

  • Newbery Honor Book

HEART OF A SAMURAI

BASED ON THE TRUE STORY OF NAKAHAMA MANJIRO

In 1841, 14-year-old Manjiro joined four others on an overnight fishing trip. Caught by a severe storm, their small rowboat was shipwrecked on a rocky island. Five months later, they were rescued by the crew of a whaling ship from New Bedford. Manjiro, renamed John Mung, was befriended by the captain and eventually lived in his home in New Bedford, rapidly absorbing Western culture. But the plight of his impoverished family in Japan was never far from Manjiro’s mind, although he knew that his country’s strict isolationist policy meant a death sentence if he returned. Illustrated with Manjiro’s own pencil drawings in addition to other archival material and original art from Tamaki, this is a captivating fictionalized (although notably faithful) retelling of the boy’s adventures. Capturing his wonder, remarkable willingness to learn, the prejudice he encountered and the way he eventually influenced officials in Japan to open the country, this highly entertaining page-turner is the perfect companion to Shipwrecked! The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy, by Rhoda Blumberg (2001). (historical note, extensive glossary, bibliography.) (Historical fiction. 9-13)

 

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8109-8981-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2010

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Much rousing sturm und drang, though what’s left after the dust settles is a heap of glittering but disparate good parts...

THE ENCHANTRESS

From the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series , Vol. 5

Scott tops off his deservedly popular series with a heaping shovelful of monster attacks, heroic last stands, earthquakes and other geological events, magic-working, millennia-long schemes coming to fruition, hearts laid bare, family revelations, transformations, redemptions and happy endings (for those deserving them).

Multiple plotlines—some of which, thanks to time travel, feature the same characters and even figures killed off in previous episodes—come to simultaneous heads in a whirl of short chapters. Flamel and allies (including Prometheus and Billy the Kid) defend modern San Francisco from a motley host of mythological baddies. Meanwhile, in ancient Danu Talis (aka Atlantis), Josh and Sophie are being swept into a play to bring certain Elders to power as the city’s downtrodden “humani” population rises up behind Virginia Dare, the repentant John Dee and other Immortals and Elders. The cast never seems unwieldy despite its size, the pacing never lets up, and the individual set pieces are fine mixtures of sudden action, heroic badinage and cliffhanger cutoffs. As a whole, though, the tale collapses under its own weight as the San Francisco subplots turn out to be no more than an irrelevant sideshow, and climactic conflicts take place on an island that is somehow both a historical, physical place and a higher reality from which Earth and other “shadowrealms” are spun off.

Much rousing sturm und drang, though what’s left after the dust settles is a heap of glittering but disparate good parts rather than a cohesive whole. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: May 22, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-73535-3

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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