Too complicated to engage.

THE LAZARUS MACHINE

From the Tweed & Nightingale series , Vol. 1

A series opener, Crilley’s steampunk adventure follows an unlikely duo to the underworld of Victorian London.

Coldly rational and from the bad part of town, Tweed is 17 when his father is kidnapped. Headstrong and highborn, Octavia is about the same age, only her mother has been missing a year, so she has had more time to gather facts on the likely culprits. A nebulous Ministry is at the center of their suspicions, as are the resurrected characters of Professor Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes and a nefarious mastermind. Octavia’s father turns a blind eye to her comings and goings, and Tweed has no mother, but the two receive help from a mildly entertaining couple Tweed and his father know. This seemingly low-bred pair of lovebirds adds one of the few human touches to a story that is too full of gadgets and machinations for most readers to keep track of. The primary action of the book is a break-in at the Ministry beneath London that Tweed and Octavia execute with success, only to find all is not what they expected. Though the style of writing is simple and engaging enough, the story itself goes in too many directions to follow, leaving open too many loose ends for readers to know exactly what they are looking for in the next installment.

Too complicated to engage. (Steampunk. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61614-688-7

Page Count: 280

Publisher: Pyr/Prometheus Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A rush of emotion and suspense.

THE FIRST TO DIE AT THE END

Crowds gather across the United States for the launch of Death-Cast, a company that promises to change the world by predicting the deaths of everyone who subscribes in this prequel to They Both Die at the End (2017).

Orion Pagan, an aspiring author with a heart condition, hopes his phone won’t ring at midnight, but he knows Death-Cast’s call is coming soon. Unlike Orion, Valentino Prince, a model on the verge of his national debut, has no reason to anticipate Death-Cast’s call and isn’t sure if he believes the company’s claims. By coincidence or fate, their lives collide at a party in Times Square, and a single, historic phone call alters the courses of their futures. This heart-pounding story follows the final day of the first Decker, or person who is going to die, and the national chaos of Death-Cast’s premiere. Silvera crafts a web of intricately interconnected character perspectives and conflicts around Orion and Valentino. Apart from Valentino and his twin sister, who are presumed White, most of the characters are Latine, including White-passing Orion, whose family is Puerto Rican. The story confronts heavy topics like grief, abuse, and religious faith with complexity and care. Despite the presumed inevitability of a fatal end to the central romance between Orion and Valentino, Silvera subverts the trope of punishing gay characters with violent tragedy. Familiarity with the original book provides additional context and depth but isn’t essential to understanding the plot.

A rush of emotion and suspense. (Speculative fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-324080-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

This gripping page-turner will keep readers guessing until the final twist.

SHE'S GONE

Seventeen-year-old Hunter Gifford has no memories of the car accident he was in the night of the homecoming dance with Chloe Summers, his now-missing girlfriend.

In the small southern Kentucky city of Bentley, comments on social media condemn Hunter as responsible for Chloe’s disappearance. When he attends the community vigil for her, Chloe’s mother publicly accuses Hunter of obstructing the investigation. Hunter’s own mom died when he was 15 and his sister, Olivia, was 12. Their dad has awkwardly attempted to pull his weight as a solo parent, and Hunter has stepped in and nurtured Livvy. Small but mighty Livvy is an ardent defender of her brother and is fiercely in love with her girlfriend, Gabriela. To make things worse, childhood friend Daniel informs Hunter that he’s making a true-crime documentary about Chloe. Hunter is upset, especially since it makes him look like a prime suspect, and a subsequent dramatic event draws more attention to the video. Hunter and Chloe met in creative writing club, and he knew she kept a journal—but it’s missing. Enter the sleuthing team of Hunter, Livvy, and Gabriela, who hatch a plan to find it. The dynamics between Hunter and Livvy and Livvy and Gabriela are endearing and will charm readers, who will root for them to solve the well-executed mystery. Main characters default to White; Gabriela is Mexican American.

This gripping page-turner will keep readers guessing until the final twist. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72825-420-3

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more