A richly imagined high-octane thriller.

THE ADVENTURES OF JOHN BLAKE

MYSTERY OF THE GHOST SHIP

Purloined technology, time travelers, ghost ships, and deception converge in this graphic page-turner.

In a world not too unlike our own, most everyone is connected by Apparators, smartphonelike devices that can also project images, created by technology mogul Carlos Dahlberg. A member of the crew on the ghost ship Mary Alice, white time traveler John Blake is doomed to ride in and out of different time periods after an accident suffered during an experiment conducted by his scientist father. Young Blake knows Dahlberg’s darkest secret and has the evidence and desire to expose him. Serena Anderson, a white Australian teenager lost at sea, Danielle Quayle Reid, a black Harvard Law graduate, and Roger Blake, a white commander in the Royal Navy, all become caught up in Dahlberg and Blake’s tangled web. High-adrenaline chases, blazing explosions, and gunfights abound as they come to discover their shocking connections. Will they be able to stop Dahlberg before his nefarious plans come to fruition? Pullman has created an intricate blend of science fiction and adventure, skillfully weaving together many disparate elements into a cohesive and exciting tale. Fordham’s art, although realistic and spare, is cinematic in scope, imbuing this with all the momentum of a Hollywood blockbuster. Some of the finer plot details have a tendency to be quickly glossed over, but expect readers to be too caught up in this whirlwind ride to care.

A richly imagined high-octane thriller. (Science fiction/adventure. 13-adult)

Pub Date: May 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-14912-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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Forget the capes and tights: this is an entirely accessible and richly imagined superhero tour de force.

THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF WEST

From the Battling Boy series

A teenage superheroine vows to destroy the monster that killed her mother but discovers vengeance doesn’t come without dire consequences.

Following The Rise of Aurora West (2014), Aurora and her notorious superhero father are still haunted by the long-unsolved murder of her mother by a nefarious seven-fingered monster. Determined to solve the mystery herself, Aurora also yearns to break free from the shadow of her famous father. Venturing out alone, she stalks a fiendish syndicate of masked monsters that has been terrorizing her home, Arcopolis. Through her unrelenting search, she discovers a shocking truth—could she have played a role in her mother's murder? Now imbued with her newfound dangerous knowledge, Aurora must make a decision that could not only save her family, but the city at large. Rubín's frenetic black-and-white illustrations stylistically complement Pope and Petty's breakneck-paced plotting. True to the genre, the story explores notions of good and evil but provides no easy answers. Aurora is a powerful heroine who is refreshingly free of sexualized buxom stylings, instead relying on her intelligence and strength. This is a must-read for readers tired of traditional superheroes with endlessly shifting storylines and vast back stories. With their wholly original worldbuilding and cinematically explosive pace, Pope and Petty have created a strong female protagonist that should easily appeal to both genders.

Forget the capes and tights: this is an entirely accessible and richly imagined superhero tour de force. (Graphic adventure. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62672-010-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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AKIKO ON THE PLANET SMOO

Opening episodes of a comic-book series created by an American teacher in Japan take a leap into chapter-book format, with only partial success. Resembling—in occasional illustrations—a button-eyed, juvenile Olive Oyl, Akiko, 10, is persuaded by a pair of aliens named Bip and Bop to climb out her high-rise bedroom’s window for a trip to M&M-shaped Planet Smoo, where Prince Fropstoppit has been kidnapped by widely feared villainness Alia Rellaport. Along with an assortment of contentious sidekicks, including brainy Mr. Beeba, Akiko battles Sky Pirates and video-game-style monsters in prolonged scenes of cartoony violence, displaying resilience, courage, and leadership ability, but not getting very far in her rescue attempt; in fact, the story cuts off so abruptly, with so little of the quest completed, and at a lull in the action to boot, that readers expecting a self-contained (forget complete) story are likely to feel cheated. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2000

ISBN: 0-385-32724-2

Page Count: 162

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1999

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