A marvelously spellbinding tale with all the wit and heart that fans have come to expect.

WAYWARD SON

From the Simon Snow series , Vol. 2

Simon Snow, his boyfriend, Baz, and their friend Penny road trip through America in this sequel to Carry On (2015).

After an eventful final year at the Watford School of Magicks, Simon has lost his magic powers but gained a tail and giant red dragon wings. He’s been in a funk and even considers breaking up with Baz. Penny decides a change of scenery might help, and the British trio plan a visit to their friend Agatha in San Diego. The United States is nothing like they expected, and after a comical trip to a Renaissance Faire leads to a magical battle, they’re on the run. After learning that Agatha’s in trouble at a mysteriously sinister wellness retreat, they set out to find her with the help of Shepard, a nonmagical American. Their journey brings encounters with a were-skunk in Nebraska, a dragon in the Rocky Mountains, a water spirit in the Hoover Dam, and vampires in Vegas (obviously). Alternating perspectives and clever dialogue keep the fast-paced action moving despite the muddled plot. While running around saving the day takes the forefront, Simon and Baz’s complex relationship is never fully explored—but thankfully the ending leaves the door open for more magical adventures. Most characters are white; Penny is biracial (Indian and white). Shepard, who is black, is given a couple of flippant race-related lines that read as tone deaf. 

A marvelously spellbinding tale with all the wit and heart that fans have come to expect. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-14607-6

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

CROOKED KINGDOM

From the Six of Crows series , Vol. 2

This hefty sequel to Six of Crows (2015) brings high-tension conclusions to the many intertwined intrigues of Ketterdam.

It's time for revenge—has been ever since old-before-his-time crook Kaz and his friends were double-crossed by the merchant princes of Ketterdam, an early-industrial Amsterdam-like fantasy city filled to the brim with crime and corruption. Disabled, infuriated, and perpetually scheming Kaz, the light-skinned teen mastermind, coordinates the efforts to rescue Inej. Though Kaz is loath to admit weakness, Inej is his, for he can't bear any harm come to the knife-wielding, brown-skinned Suli acrobat. Their team is rounded out by Wylan, a light-skinned chemist and musician whose merchant father tried to have him murdered and who can't read due to a print disability; Wylan's brown-skinned biracial boyfriend, Jesper, a flirtatious gambler with ADHD; Nina, the pale brunette Grisha witch and recovering addict from Russia-like Ravka; Matthias, Nina's national enemy and great love, a big, white, blond drüskelle warrior from the cold northern lands; and Kuwei, the rescued Shu boy everyone wants to kidnap. Can these kids rescue everyone who needs rescuing in Ketterdam's vile political swamp? This is dark and violent—one notable scene features a parade of teens armed with revolvers, rifles, pistols, explosives, and flash bombs—but gut-wrenchingly genuine. Astonishingly, Bardugo keeps all these balls in the air over the 500-plus pages of narrative.

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-213-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

In the end, it’s just another violent dystopian series opener for all its yellow-brick veneer, but it’s a whole lot more fun...

DOROTHY MUST DIE

When a cyclone deposits a 21st-century Kansas teen in Oz, she and readers discover there’ve been some changes made.

Dirt-poor “Salvation Amy” Gumm lives in a trailer park, effectively parenting her alcoholic mom (her dad ran off years ago), who seems to care more about her pet rat, Star, than her daughter. That doesn’t mean Amy is eager to be in Oz, particularly this Oz. Tyrannized by a megalomaniacal Dorothy and mined of its magic, it’s a dystopian distortion of the paradise Baum and MGM depicted. In short order, Amy breaks the wholly capricious laws and is thrown into a cell in the Emerald City with only Star for company. There, she’s visited first by the mysterious but sympathetic Pete and then by the witch Mombi, who breaks her out and takes her to the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked (among whom is the very hot Nox). Amy may well be the salvation of Oz—only someone from the Other Place can take Dorothy down. Paige has clearly had the time of her life with this reboot, taking a dystopian-romance template and laying it over Oz. Readers of Baum’s books will take special delight in seeing new twists on the old characters, and they will greet the surprise climactic turnabout with the smugness of insiders.

In the end, it’s just another violent dystopian series opener for all its yellow-brick veneer, but it’s a whole lot more fun than many of its ilk. (Dystopian fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-228067-1

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

more