Far too self-consciously clever to be truly emotionally absorbing, this is nonetheless an enjoyable tribute for established...

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UNSPOKEN

From the Lynburn Legacy series , Vol. 1

Sassy girl detective meets overwrought gothic romance, and it goes about as well as you'd expect.

Kami Glass knows that she could be a great reporter, if there were only something worth investigating in her sleepy Cotswolds village. But now the aristocratic, secretive Lynburns are coming home to their sinister ancestral mansion, and Kami is determined that her high school newspaper will get the scoop. Soon, two gorgeous, near-identical Lynburn cousins, princely Ash and bad-boy Jared, join her journalistic team—not to mention Kami's imaginary best friend since babyhood, who turns out to be not quite so imaginary after all. And that's when the grisly murders start….From the abandoned abbey to the veiled villain, no gothic trope is forgotten while creating the doom-drenched atmosphere. Unfortunately, when an admirably intrepid 21st-century heroine with supportive family and friends replaces the traditional isolated innocent, and when every character banters with the same witty genre-savvy repartee even under the direst of circumstances, any suspension of disbelief is stretched to the snapping point. The abrupt tonal shift at the climax, when the magic previously hinted at is revealed as both deadly and heartbreaking, makes the final cliffhanger even more devastating.    

Far too self-consciously clever to be truly emotionally absorbing, this is nonetheless an enjoyable tribute for established fans of the gothic, as well as an enticing introduction for new ones. (Fantasy. 11-17)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-87041-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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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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Not much forward momentum but a tasty array of chills, thrills, and chortles.

A MAP OF DAYS

From the Peculiar Children series , Vol. 4

The victory of Jacob and his fellow peculiars over the previous episode’s wights and hollowgasts turns out to be only one move in a larger game as Riggs (Tales of the Peculiar, 2016, etc.) shifts the scene to America.

Reading largely as a setup for a new (if not exactly original) story arc, the tale commences just after Jacob’s timely rescue from his decidedly hostile parents. Following aimless visits back to newly liberated Devil’s Acre and perfunctory normalling lessons for his magically talented friends, Jacob eventually sets out on a road trip to find and recruit Noor, a powerful but imperiled young peculiar of Asian Indian ancestry. Along the way he encounters a semilawless patchwork of peculiar gangs, syndicates, and isolated small communities—many at loggerheads, some in the midst of negotiating a tentative alliance with the Ymbryne Council, but all threatened by the shadowy Organization. The by-now-tangled skein of rivalries, romantic troubles, and family issues continues to ravel amid bursts of savage violence and low comedy (“I had never seen an invisible person throw up before,” Jacob writes, “and it was something I won’t soon forget”). A fresh set of found snapshots serves, as before, to add an eldritch atmosphere to each set of incidents. The cast defaults to white but includes several people of color with active roles.

Not much forward momentum but a tasty array of chills, thrills, and chortles. (Horror/Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-3214-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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