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DAUGHTERS OF STEEL

From the Shard series , Vol. 2

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

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. 5, 2019

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THE WILD ROBOT PROTECTS

From the Wild Robot series , Vol. 3

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant.

Robot Roz undertakes an unusual ocean journey to save her adopted island home in this third series entry.

When a poison tide flowing across the ocean threatens their island, Roz works with the resident creatures to ensure that they will have clean water, but the destruction of vegetation and crowding of habitats jeopardize everyone’s survival. Brown’s tale of environmental depredation and turmoil is by turns poignant, graceful, endearing, and inspiring, with his (mostly) gentle robot protagonist at its heart. Though Roz is different from the creatures she lives with or encounters—including her son, Brightbill the goose, and his new mate, Glimmerwing—she makes connections through her versatile communication abilities and her desire to understand and help others. When Roz accidentally discovers that the replacement body given to her by Dr. Molovo is waterproof, she sets out to seek help and discovers the human-engineered source of the toxic tide. Brown’s rich descriptions of undersea landscapes, entertaining conversations between Roz and wild creatures, and concise yet powerful explanations of the effect of the poison tide on the ecology of the island are superb. Simple, spare illustrations offer just enough glimpses of Roz and her surroundings to spark the imagination. The climactic confrontation pits oceangoing mammals, seabirds, fish, and even zooplankton against hardware and technology in a nicely choreographed battle. But it is Roz’s heroism and peacemaking that save the day.

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9780316669412

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023

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THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH

From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 1

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun

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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 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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