A quick read not without pleasures, but the premise is the best part.

FIRE & HEIST

A fantasy heist long on worldbuilding and short on theft.

Following her mother’s midheist disappearance, Sky Hawkins wants to determine what happened and repair her grieving family and their fall in wyvern society. Wyverns, this Earth’s famous-for-being-famous people, are formerly shape-shifting dragons exiled from Home. They look like and live among humans but have their own customs and rules; hoard size conveys status, and teens come of age with a first heist. Sky assembles her crew—loyal boyfriend, Ryan, whose vault Sky’s mother was robbing; book-smart human Gabriela Marquez, who mostly exists to drive Sky around and feel worthless compared to the adventurous wyverns; and brown-skinned wyvern wizard Maximus, who has his own plans—and schemes to follow her mother’s trail while Sky’s three protective older brothers and her father keep secrets. The heist is absurdly simple (they have an inside guy) and quickly gives way to many revelations and a journey Home, followed by a return and the requisite upending of society. Sky’s incredible wealth and privilege are acknowledged in her wry narration, but the poor-little-rich-girl refrain and self-consumed approach make her hard to like. Secondary characters largely lack depth. On the other hand, hints of the larger world—like wyvern-run California—intrigue. The Hawkins family is assumed white.

A quick read not without pleasures, but the premise is the best part. (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-101-93100-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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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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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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