THE HOUSE OF HADES

From the Heroes of Olympus series , Vol. 4

Having plunged into Tartarus at the end of the last book, The Mark of Athena (2013), Percy and Annabeth struggle toward the Doors of Death, while their friends hurry to meet them on the other side at the titular House of Hades.

Riordan is most successful in his evocation of Tartarus and its hellish, monster-infested landscape. Without lightening his heroes’ miseries in any way, the author provides a helper and necessary mood-lifter in the person of Iapetus/Bob, the Titan whose memory Percy had obliterated with the waters of Lethe in a previous adventure. Now Hades’ janitor, Bob, along with a skeletal saber-tooth kitten he names Small Bob, joins Percy and Annabeth on their trek, causing them both to plumb unexpected moral depths. Meanwhile, on board (and off) the Argo II, Jason, Piper, Leo, Hazel and Frank similarly must come to understand themselves better in order to accomplish the tasks set before them (though not to equal extents). Though Riordan doesn’t stint on action or laughs (fart jokes abound, and a tart-tongued Calypso is a special treat), readers may find themselves appreciating these moments of contemplation all the more for the depth of characterization they reveal. The denouement finds the demigods poised for the final battle with Gaea and her minions; they have exactly 14 days to save the world. In this adventure, victories are hard-won and the essence of bravery nuanced, making the journey as satisfying as it is entertaining. (Fantasy. 10-14)

 

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4231-4672-8

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An intense referendum on football’s dangers and glories.

FINAL SEASON

A star 12-year-old quarterback has a championship to win, a developing family tragedy to cope with, and a life-changing decision to make.

Barely disguising the autobiographical elements contained here in the wake of his own diagnosis of ALS, former Atlanta Falcons player Green places his protagonist, Ben Redd, in a football family and on an upstate New York team coached by his dad and two older brothers—all former gridiron stars themselves. Ben’s anticipation as he looks forward to a season that will be capped by a game against archrival Penn Yan battles with his terror as he watches his father’s NFL injuries come home to roost in slurred speech, loss of physical coordination, and, eventually, a frantic trip to the hospital for an emergency tracheotomy. But as Ben’s parents, both iron willed, clash over whether he should be allowed to follow the family career path (and one of his brothers even announces that none of his kids will ever play), the sport’s allure comes through in a series of exciting clashes, with Ben and wonderfully hard-nosed new teammate, Thea Jean, leading the on-field heroics on the way to a last-yard, smash-mouth finale that leaves him dazed and exultant, with a broken finger, a probable concussion…and a choice of futures. Though the cast is mostly male and mostly White, between them, Thea and Ben’s mom add strong female representation.

An intense referendum on football’s dangers and glories. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-248595-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

more