The well-integrated background information, a doomed romance and lots of video game action will keep teens reading and...

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THE CITY OF DEATH

The nonstop action in this exciting sequel to The Savage Fortress (2012) uses every bell and whistle of the suspense novelist’s craft to satisfy readers—no middle-novel syndrome here.

Ash Mistry escapes tensions at home and in school by returning to India with the half rakshasa Parvati. Their aim: to keep the mystical aastra that is the Koh-I-Noor diamond out of the hands of the evil sorcerer, Lord Alexander Savage. Ash experiences much physical and emotional violence as the tale progresses: danger to his first love, further initiation into the Kali-aastra, betrayal by one of his closest friends and abduction by two man-sized stone monkeys. Characters from Hindu mythology once again play a key role in the narrative. Though the story is set mainly in Kolkata, the city of Kali, goddess of death, the climax takes place off the coast of southern India in an ancient undersea palace. The ending leaves a great many plot threads unresolved, promising a third in the series.

The well-integrated background information, a doomed romance and lots of video game action will keep teens reading and panting for more. (Fantasy. 12-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-38518-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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THE LIGHTNING THIEF

From the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series , Vol. 1

Edgar Award–winning Riordan leaves the adult world of mystery to begin a fantasy series for younger readers. Twelve-year-old Percy (full name, Perseus) Jackson has attended six schools in six years. Officially diagnosed with ADHD, his lack of self-control gets him in trouble again and again. What if it isn’t his fault? What if all the outrageous incidents that get him kicked out of school are the result of his being a “half-blood,” the product of a relationship between a human and a Greek god? Could it be true that his math teacher Mrs. Dodds transformed into a shriveled hag with bat wings, a Fury, and was trying to kill him? Did he really vanquish her with a pen that turned into a sword? One need not be an expert in Greek mythology to enjoy Percy’s journey to retrieve Zeus’s master bolt from the Underworld, but those who are familiar with the deities and demi-gods will have many an ah-ha moment. Along the way, Percy and his cohort run into Medusa, Cerberus and Pan, among others. The sardonic tone of the narrator’s voice lends a refreshing air of realism to this riotously paced quest tale of heroism that questions the realities of our world, family, friendship and loyalty. (Fantasy. 12-15)

Pub Date: July 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7868-5629-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2005

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Melodramatic but definitively all over the place contentwise.

WHERE SHE FELL

A teenager battles social anxiety disorder and giant bugs in a subterranean world.

When two bad friends to whom she’s been clinging trick her into venturing into the ominously named Drowners Swamp, Eliza falls into a sinkhole that leads into a seemingly endless cave system. Being an avid fan of caves and geology, Eliza is as enthralled as she is terrified—a mix of emotions that remains unaltered as she encounters a small community of likewise trapped people surviving on a diet of outsized spiders and cave insects. Weeks later she is captured (briefly, thanks to a conveniently timed spider attack) by bioluminescent humanoids. All the while, despite having been in therapy for years, she continually denigrates herself for panic attacks and freezing up around others. Her emotional reactions take up so much of the narrative, in fact, that for all its lurid, occasionally gruesome turns, it’s hard to tell whether character or action drives the story more. In the event, Eliza is surprised to find reserves of inner strength—and a chance at personal transformation—through her ordeal. The first-person narration is punctuated with excerpts and sketches from Eliza’s journal. Except for one character with brown skin, the nonglowing cast defaults to white. Warring themes and elements give this outing a distinct feel of multiple stories yoked together by violence.

Melodramatic but definitively all over the place contentwise. (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-23007-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Point/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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