It ends with one princess in exile and the other separated from her true love; whether there’s a sequel to wrap up the...

THE ROSE THRONE

A tale of two princesses and a fair amount of magic.

Ailsbet is a princess of Rurik, and Marlissa—Issa—is a princess of Weirland, two island kingdoms not quite at war with each other. Issa is strong in neweyr, women’s magic of the Earth and growing things; Ailsbet, who thought herself unweyr, without magic, turns out to be strong in taweyr, men’s magic of blood, death and war. Taweyr in a woman makes her ekhono—tainted—and thus considered worthy of burning by Ailsbet’s father, King Haikor, who rules capriciously and with the power of his own taweyr. However, he betroths her to Lord Umber of Weirland, and Ailsbet’s younger brother to Issa, as the king hopes to combine both kingdoms under his own iron rule. For most of the book, the two princesses circle around each other; after 400 pages, there is a stopping point but no resolution. There’s a certain amount of murderous violence and a small amount of kissing, both oddly passionless. What passion there is comes in Ailsbet’s love for her flute and the making of music, which is delineated beautifully and boldly, as is the overwhelming response Ailsbet has to her taweyr in a hunt in which she takes down a stag. Talk about duty and honor, about laying aside one’s feelings for the good of the kingdom and about not knowing one’s self or one’s companions dominates, though.

It ends with one princess in exile and the other separated from her true love; whether there’s a sequel to wrap up the dangling plotlines is unclear. Also unclear is whether readers will want it. (Fantasy. 11-15)

Pub Date: May 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-60684-365-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Egmont USA

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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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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