Harrison’s satisfyingly hefty and page-turning adventure focuses on Rowan, the girl who willingly replaced Tanya as captive...

READ REVIEW

13 CURSES

From the 13 Treasures series , Vol. 2

In an absorbing sequel to The 13 Treasures (2010), Red pursues her stolen baby brother through the parallel world of fairies, negotiating a landscape of deliciously sinister and dreadful magical creatures, finally discovering her own heartrending secret.

Harrison’s satisfyingly hefty and page-turning adventure focuses on Rowan, the girl who willingly replaced Tanya as captive of the fairy realm. Rowan’s quest to find and return her brother James to real England is finally aided by the residents of Elvesden Manor through a series of problem-solving challenges and a search for the 13 magical charms from an old bracelet. The sure-handed storytelling creates a completely credible setting—by turns violent and tender, sinister and poignant—in which those who can see fairies are most at risk of harm from the magical beings. The permeable border between the magical and the ordinary is described with matter-of-fact authority; the convincing result is a fully realized world where humans and fairies occupy a similar landscape to very different ends. Contrasts between human emotion and commitment and the cold, often cruel magic and mischief of the fairy realm create terrific tension and afford opportunities for heroism for the young protagonists.  

Pub Date: June 7, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-316-04150-8

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Gripping and pretty dark—but, in the end, food, family, friendship, and straight facts win out over guile, greed, and terror.

THE ICKABOG

Rowling buffs up a tale she told her own children about a small, idyllic kingdom nearly destroyed by corrupt officials.

In the peaceful land of Cornucopia, the Ickabog has always been regarded as a legendary menace until two devious nobles play so successfully on the fears of naïve King Fred the Fearless that the once-prosperous land is devastated by ruinous taxes supposedly spent on defense while protesters are suppressed and the populace is terrorized by nighttime rampages. Pastry chef Bertha Beamish organizes a breakout from the local dungeon just as her son, Bert, and his friend Daisy Dovetail arrive…with the last Ickabog, who turns out to be real after all. Along with full plates of just deserts for both heroes and villains, the story then dishes up a metaphorical lagniappe in which the monster reveals the origins of the human race. The author frames her story as a set of ruminations on how evil can grow and people can come to believe unfounded lies. She embeds these themes in an engrossing, tightly written adventure centered on a stomach-wrenching reign of terror. The story features color illustrations by U.S. and Canadian children selected through an online contest. Most characters are cued as White in the text; a few illustrations include diverse representation.

Gripping and pretty dark—but, in the end, food, family, friendship, and straight facts win out over guile, greed, and terror. (Fantasy. 10-13)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-73287-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

Well paced and witty.

CITY OF THE PLAGUE GOD

Thirteen-year-old Iraqi American Sikander Aziz must stop the ancient Mesopotamian plague god Nergal from raining destruction and pestilence on New York City.

After the death of his older brother, Mo, who died during a trip to Iraq, Sik has been working in his refugee parents’ New York deli nonstop, trying to stymie his grief. But when Nergal and his minions trash the deli while seeking a stolen treasure, they start a plague that infects Sik’s parents and threatens all of New York. Teaming up with the goddess Ishtar; her sword-wielding adoptive daughter, Belet; and Mo’s frequently typecast aspiring actor best friend, Daoud, they must find a way to stop Nergal and cure New York’s residents in an epic adventure worthy of Gilgamesh. Chadda brings attention to the less well-recognized mythology of ancient Mesopotamia with engaging humor and wit. Dialogue between characters, most of whom are Iraqi and Iraqi American, allows exploration of heavier topics of Islamophobia, anti-Arabism, and terrorist and Orientalist tropes to be inserted with ease. The Aziz family and Daoud are Muslims; Chadda navigates the difficult line of reconciling the depiction of characters interacting with multiple gods with the fundamental Muslim belief in one God both in the text and the backmatter. Daoud and Mo are alluded to being gay and having been in love.

Well paced and witty. (author's note, glossary) (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-05150-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents/Disney

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more