A thrilling second act filled with faith, determination, and the pursuit of justice.



From the Shard series , Vol. 2

Two months after the defeat of the king in series opener Sisters of Glass (2017), the former princess and now queen Halan Ali and her tawam, or mirror-self, Queen’s Sword Nalah Bardak, struggle with their newfound political and magical powers.

As princess of the Magi Kingdom, Halan lived in ignorance of Tam’s reign of terror—and also the state of the kingdom. Now she faces corrupt Thauma lords and an increasing scarcity of resources. Each day brings new problems, and the pressure to undo all of Tam’s misdeeds weighs heavily. Nalah is similarly eager to help the public, but her powers are far from refined. After Halan discovers a mysterious crystal orb, Nalah and dashing former revolutionary Soren Ferro set out for the mysterious Talon Mountains, where the secrets of her Thauma powers might be unlocked. At home, Halan wrestles the mounting piles of worries. Suddenly, Nalah’s old friend Marcus Cutter bursts through the Transcendent Mirror connecting New Hadar and the Magi Kingdom to ask for Nalah’s help to find his missing brother. Queen Halan volunteers to go instead. This second outing to Cyprus’ Middle Eastern–inflected fantasy world takes readers through new challenges, emotional as well as physical. Emphasizing the power of community and trust, fighting through fear, and believing in oneself, it delivers both adventure and satisfying complexity.

A thrilling second act filled with faith, determination, and the pursuit of justice. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-245850-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

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Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.


From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun


From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 1

It’s been 42 days since the Monster Apocalypse began, and 13-year-old Jack Sullivan, a self-proclaimed “zombie-fighting, monster-slaying tornado of cool” is on a quest to find and rescue his not-so-secret crush, June Del Toro, whether she needs it, wants it, or not.

Jack cobbles together an unlikely but endearing crew, including his scientist best friend, Quint Baker; Dirk Savage, Parker Middle School’s biggest bully; and a pet monster named Rover, to help him save the damsel in distress and complete the “ULTIMATE Feat of Apocalyptic Success.” Middle-grade readers, particularly boys, will find Jack’s pitch-perfect mix of humor, bravado, and self-professed geekiness impossible to resist. His sidekicks are equally entertaining, and it doesn’t hurt that there are also plenty of oozing, drooling, sharp-toothed monsters and zombies and a host of gizmos and gadgets to hook readers and keep them cheering with every turn of the page. Holgate’s illustrations play an integral role in the novel’s success. They not only bring Brallier’s characters to life, but also add depth and detail to the story, making plain just exactly how big Rover is and giving the lie to Jack’s “killer driving.” The marriage of text and illustration serves as a perfect example of what an illustrated novel can and should be.

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun (. (Graphic/horror hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-01661-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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