Simultaneously odd and intriguing.

THE KALEIDOSCOPE SISTERS

From the Indigo Realm series , Vol. 1

As Quinn fights to save her dying sister, their realistic struggles blend with fantasy and speculative fiction in this series opener.

Quinn’s younger sister, Riley, was born with a heart deformity, and as Riley’s seventh birthday approaches, she begins to exhibit signs of heart failure. With Quinn, Riley, and their single mother out of medical options, Quinn knows they need a miracle. While leaving a wishful note at Riley’s favorite butterfly garden, Quinn follows an unusual butterfly through a portal to an alternate realm. There, oxygen, light, and other essentials of life defy earthly logic, and the boundaries of caves, deserts, and oceans merge together inexplicably. Quinn meets Meelie, an aviatrix whose plane crashed into the realm (and who Quinn later discovers is Amelia Earhart). With the help of Meelie and others lost in history, Quinn seeks a potential cure for Riley. Slipping between two worlds has its own price, however, and she must decide just how much she is willing to sacrifice. Although Quinn is 15 and acts as a caregiver with some attendant tough choices, the storyline reads more like a middle-grade novel, as it focuses on her fantastical adventures. Devoid of sex, alcohol, and violence, this book does make a good option for conservative readers. Numerous questions, including the significance of mysterious kaleidoscopes from the girls’ absent father, remain unanswered. Quinn and her family present as white.

Simultaneously odd and intriguing. (Fantasy. 12-15)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61775-702-0

Page Count: -

Publisher: Kaylie Jones/Akashic

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

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Not quite the wild ride of Skyward (2018) but still great fun.

STARSIGHT

From the Skyward series , Vol. 2

As if the threat of huge, raging monsters from hyperspace isn’t scary enough, hotshot fighter pilot Spensa Nightshade becomes embroiled in an alien empire’s politics.

On a desperate mission to steal hyperdrive technology from the crablike invading Krell who are threatening to destroy her beleaguered home colony on Detritus, Spensa, who is white, holographically disguises herself as a violet-skinned UrDail and slips into a Krell pilot training program for “lesser species.” The discovery that she’s being secretly trained not to fight planet-destroying delvers but to exterminate humans, who are (with some justification, having kindled three interstellar wars in past centuries) regarded in certain quarters as an irrationally aggressive species, is just one in a string of revelations as, in between numerous near-death experiences on practice flights, she struggles to understand both her own eerie abilities and the strange multispecies society in which she finds herself. There are so many characters besides Spensa searching for self-identity—notably her comic-relief sidekick AI M-Bot, troubled human friend Jorgen back on Detritus, and Morriumur, member of a species whose color-marked sexes create trial offspring—that even with a plot that defaults to hot action and escalating intrigue the pacing has a stop and start quality. Still, Spensa’s habitual over-the-top recklessness adds a rousing spark, and the author folds in plenty of banter as well as a colorful supporting cast.

Not quite the wild ride of Skyward (2018) but still great fun. (Science fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-55581-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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