From the Brightstone Saga series , Vol. 2

An evil wizard bent on seizing the clockwork head that holds the secret to all the world’s magic takes up the chase again in this middle volume.

Three years of lying low in the wake of the opener’s (Brightworking, 2011) fiery climax come to a sudden end for young Mikal and Lyra when their nemesis, Master Harlano, tracks them down in a traveling show. Narrowly escaping with their chatty metal charge, Orichalkon, the fugitives strike out for the city of Farhaven in hopes of finding wizardly help (why they hadn’t done this earlier goes unexplained). Along the way, they find themselves caught up in a conflict between loggers and woods-loving fey folk, temporarily lose Orichalkon in a raging river and acquire an eerie but strong ally in Killeen, a newly reformed werewolf. Internal logic isn’t the author’s highest priority, but he does shepherd his young characters through a quick succession of dangerous situations and (as the two have conflicting personalities) entertaining quarrels. The end leaves Harlano triumphantly in possession of Orichalkon and Killeen too, with Mikal and Lyra in hot pursuit. Stay tuned. A predictable but not entirely earnest chase, with a page count that may draw readers wearied or intimidated by the ongoing flood of doorstopper epics. (Fantasy. 9-11)


Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7660-3983-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Enslow

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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After fighting the evil Blouts in The Otherworldlies (2008), Fern must now face a deadlier menace: rooming with the school's...


Twelve-year-old Fern is an Otherworldly, a vampire—though why a non–blood-drinking, non-immortal, naturally born, teleporting telekinetic is called a “vampire” is left as an exercise to the reader.

After fighting the evil Blouts in The Otherworldlies (2008), Fern must now face a deadlier menace: rooming with the school's mean girls on a class trip to Washington, D.C. Fern's only distraction from the bullies tormenting her is her vision of a boy in a cage. The boy, she discovers, is Miles Zapo, a kidnapped Otherworldly just Fern's age. Fern suspects Miles, like her, is one of the Unusuals, destined to do something or other. (It's not clear what’s so Unusual, and it doesn't really matter; as long as there's a prophecy it's important, right?) The kidnapper is the dastardly Silver Tooth, also known as Haryle (“Hair-uh-Lee”) Laffar, brother of evil Vlad from Fern's previous adventure, and possessed of even more mysterious and evil secrets. The Smithsonian, the Hope diamond, moon rocks and mohawked, scaled, monstrous birds all play a part in Haryle's villainous plans for Miles and Fern. A firmly middle-school adventure (despite packaging attempting to capitalize on the paranormal craze among older teens) composed of cartoon villains, unconvincing heroes and a muddled, nonsensical plot.

Pub Date: June 28, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-199443-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

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In this sketchy, incoherent, near-future tale, a child named Rain and the lion she has raised are stolen from an inland village for some never-explained Sacrifice by “Tekkies” inhabiting The Island, a former mountaintop surrounded by risen seas. Aside from vague references to “the Wild,” “Drylands” and air-conditioned “chill chambers,” the author does little to set up either the scene or the back story, nor does she ever reveal why Rain or the lion are considered so significant. Instead she focuses almost entirely on Rain’s unhappiness and confusion through disconnected encounters with Island residents, and then she engineers a highly contrived escape for the girl and lion as their former prison is totally destroyed for unknown reasons. The deadly effects of global warming certainly make a cogent theme, but this effort to take it up seems to have been, at best, phoned in by a veteran South African author who usually offers much more careful and sensitive work (Song of Be, 1993, etc.). Goodness knows, there's a raft of other eco-disaster tales out there for readers so inclined. (Science fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84780-114-2

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2010

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