DEVIANTS

From the Dust Chronicles series , Vol. 1

This first installment in an interesting new post-apocalyptic dystopian series finds the Earth choked with dust that creates paranormal abilities in some humans.

Sixteen-year-old Glory has hidden her paraplegic little brother Drake from the tyrannical authorities in their domed city for three years, ever since her father murdered their mother. Glory has the ability to kill by merely looking into the eyes of her victims, making her a Deviant and therefore, an outlaw subject to death by expulsion from the dome. The population of Haven comprises mostly “employees,” who live on meager rations, and “Management,” who enjoy a luxurious lifestyle. When Glory’s longtime heartthrob, who has just joined the cruel authorities, shows up with his new colleagues outside her tiny, windowless apartment, Glory and Drake escape with Burn, a rebel sent by her dreaded father. They must fight their way through the deathtrap surrounding the dome to get to uncontaminated lands Glory never knew existed. McGowan keeps the suspense throbbing throughout most of the novel, with new challenges constantly confronting the teens. In the opening scene, Glory hunts rats for food, bringing her bleak world clearly into focus. Glory’s ever-present mistrust, while understandable, begins to grate as she continually makes poor choices that increase the danger long after it becomes clear to readers that Burn is one of the good guys, but her contrition helps to set up the sequel. Exciting, if hardly groundbreaking. (Dystopian suspense. 12-16) 

 

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-6121-8367-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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Not quite the wild ride of Skyward (2018) but still great fun.

STARSIGHT

From the Skyward series , Vol. 2

As if the threat of huge, raging monsters from hyperspace isn’t scary enough, hotshot fighter pilot Spensa Nightshade becomes embroiled in an alien empire’s politics.

On a desperate mission to steal hyperdrive technology from the crablike invading Krell who are threatening to destroy her beleaguered home colony on Detritus, Spensa, who is white, holographically disguises herself as a violet-skinned UrDail and slips into a Krell pilot training program for “lesser species.” The discovery that she’s being secretly trained not to fight planet-destroying delvers but to exterminate humans, who are (with some justification, having kindled three interstellar wars in past centuries) regarded in certain quarters as an irrationally aggressive species, is just one in a string of revelations as, in between numerous near-death experiences on practice flights, she struggles to understand both her own eerie abilities and the strange multispecies society in which she finds herself. There are so many characters besides Spensa searching for self-identity—notably her comic-relief sidekick AI M-Bot, troubled human friend Jorgen back on Detritus, and Morriumur, member of a species whose color-marked sexes create trial offspring—that even with a plot that defaults to hot action and escalating intrigue the pacing has a stop and start quality. Still, Spensa’s habitual over-the-top recklessness adds a rousing spark, and the author folds in plenty of banter as well as a colorful supporting cast.

Not quite the wild ride of Skyward (2018) but still great fun. (Science fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-55581-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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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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