SLATHBOG’S GOLD

ADVENTURERS WANTED, BOOK 1

Boy meets adventure in a paint-by-numbers fantasy quest. Young Alex toils with mild discontent in his stepfather’s tavern when he spots a sign in a shop window declaring ADVENTURERS WANTED. Succumbing to impulse, he inquires within and is recruited willy-nilly to help slay the evil dragon Slathbog and claim his treasure. His cookie-cutter companions include painfully generic dwarves, elves and human stereotypes, all of whom regard Alex with inexplicable delight and wonder, especially as he starts to reveal a dazzling range of hitherto-unknown powers, while remaining so gosh-darn modest and likable that every person of note wants to be his friend and every villain makes him his target. After an interminable journey through vaguely described fantasy locales, the company eventually catches up with the Big Bad Beast, whom Alex (naturally) dispatches in a few paragraphs. Cue another chapter divvying up the loot, before Alex can return home to receive a SHOCKING!!! revelation, just in time to set up threatened sequels. Wait for the collectible card game instead. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-60641-029-5

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2009

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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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WHAT THE MOON SAW

When Clara Luna, 14, visits rural Mexico for the summer to visit the paternal grandparents she has never met, she cannot know her trip will involve an emotional and spiritual journey into her family’s past and a deep connection to a rich heritage of which she was barely aware. Long estranged from his parents, Clara’s father had entered the U.S. illegally years before, subsequently becoming a successful business owner who never spoke about what he left behind. Clara’s journey into her grandmother’s history (told in alternating chapters with Clara’s own first-person narrative) and her discovery that she, like her grandmother and ancestors, has a gift for healing, awakens her to the simple, mystical joys of a rural lifestyle she comes to love and wholly embrace. Painfully aware of not fitting into suburban teen life in her native Maryland, Clara awakens to feeling alive in Mexico and realizes a sweet first love with Pedro, a charming goat herder. Beautifully written, this is filled with evocative language that is rich in imagery and nuance and speaks to the connections that bind us all. Add a thrilling adventure and all the makings of an entrancing read are here. (glossaries) (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2006

ISBN: 0-385-73343-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2006

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