This will leave fans enthralled and clamoring for more.

ARU SHAH AND THE SONG OF DEATH

From the Pandava Quintet series , Vol. 2

The second book in the Pandava Quartet begins with Aru Shah and her best friend, Mini, in an enchanted shopping center fending off zombies.

Someone has stolen the god of love’s enchanted bow and arrow, and they are using it to turn innocent humans into (literally) heartless, zombielike fighting machines. To make matters worse, Aru gets framed as the thief. The council of gods and Uloopi, the naga queen, give the two Pandavas an ultimatum: find and defeat the real thief in 10 days’ time or be exiled from the Otherworld forever. Aru and Mini unite with two other heroes—a new Pandava sister, Brynne Rao, and her best friend, Aiden Acharya—to save the world from mass destruction. On their numerous adventures in the Otherworld, from a giant-swan attack to their journey to the Ocean of Milk, Aru contemplates difficult questions about what it means to be good or evil, the role of duty, and the power of a good story. In this sequel to Aru Shah and the End of Time(2018), Chokshi seamlessly weaves Indian cosmology and pop culture into a refreshingly feminist plot laced with witty dialogue. The most compelling feature of the novel, however, is the complexity of its characters, who, despite their divinity or semidivinity, are at their core very human.

This will leave fans enthralled and clamoring for more. (Fantasy. 10-13)

Pub Date: April 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-01384-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents/Disney

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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This delightful series opener is an exciting blend of Russian and Jewish traditions

ANYA AND THE DRAGON

A Jewish girl meets dragons in a fantastical version of Kievan Rus’, where magic has been illegal for 10 years.

Anya’s the only Jewish child in Zmeyreka. In the mostly Christian 10th-century village, Anya’s family stands out: Her father’s father remains pagan, while her mother’s people are refugee Khazars and Mountain Jews. But unbeknownst to Anya, her village is not like the rest of Kievan Rus’. Magical creatures are nearly extinct everywhere else but common in Zmeyreka. The tsar’s sent a “fool family”—users of fool magic, authorized to use magic despite the ban—to capture the last dragon in the land. The youngest fool is Anya’s age (he’s named Ivan, just like his seven older brothers), and the two become fast friends. But can Anya really bring herself to help Ivan kill a dragon that hasn’t harmed anyone? Zmeyreka’s magical creatures are both helpful and frightening; there are dragons, leshiye, vodyaniye, and even a Jewish domovoi with a little kippah. Ivan, unlike his pale father and brothers, is dark-skinned like his mother, a princess from “far to the east.” Though historical accuracy isn’t perfect (Anya anticipates her bat mitzvah, for instance, and reads Hebrew), it is a fantasy, and anachronisms don’t detract from the adventures of truly likable characters in this original setting.

This delightful series opener is an exciting blend of Russian and Jewish traditions . (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-358-00607-7

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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THE EMPEROR OF NIHON-JA

From the Ranger's Apprentice series , Vol. 10

The 10th and final full-length episode in an alternate-Earth series that's just about reached its sell-by date unites the five members of the central cast in yet another rescue mission to a distant land. This time its a thinly disguised medieval Japan, where bluff young warrior Horace has been swept up in the entourage accompanying a kindly emperor who is on the run from a vicious usurper. Thanks to a sequence of massive coincidences, he is soon joined in a remote mountain fortress by Rangers Will (who graduated from "apprentice" about five volumes ago) and his crusty mentor Halt, plus temperamental Princess Evanlyn and her spunky frenemy Alyss. While the usurper and his forces obligingly winter nearby, the menfolk train a peasant army for the true emperor while Evanlyn and Alyss set out to recruit more allies and have an air-clearing heart-to-heart about who really loves whom. By the end battles are won, bad guys slain, feasts held and everyone heads home for weddings and further adventures. The "keep it simple" approach has served Flanagan—and readers who prefer predictable plots and easily recognizable settings and character types—well, but the formula has staled. "The Final Battle" blazoned on the cover indicates a recognition of this fact, though loose ends leave open the possibility of further, as-yet-unplanned developments. Here's hoping a break will restore zing to future adventures. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25500-7

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011

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