From the Gladiator series , Vol. 1

Marcus’ exciting journey as a Roman slave and the unfolding of secrets and fortunes will have readers racing through the...

When his father, a former Roman centurion, is murdered, 10-year-old Marcus Cornelius Primus is enslaved and forced into training as a gladiator, and his mother, a former slave, is returned to slavery.

“The Gods will play their games,” Aulus Tullius Taurus, his chief training instructor, tells him, reflecting on Marcus’ declining fortunes. Marcus’ dream is to survive gladiator school and one day earn his freedom. But his path will not be easy. Gladiator training is harsh enough, but he must also face a bully in the form of Ferax, a Celt bent on his destruction. But Marcus develops a friendship with Brixus, a slave in the kitchen who had once been a lieutenant to Spartacus, and Brixus discovers a secret about Marcus that will alter Marcus’ destiny. When Marcus is forced to face wolves in an early gladiator challenge and ends up saving the life of Portia, the niece of Gaius Julius Caesar, his life takes a turn, as Caesar brings Marcus to Rome to be Portia’s bodyguard. It’s an exciting, well-told adventure that deserves a readership…if young readers can get past the corny cover and untangle all the names that end in -us.

Marcus’ exciting journey as a Roman slave and the unfolding of secrets and fortunes will have readers racing through the pages and eagerly anticipating the sequel, Street Fighter.   (Historical adventure. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 24, 2012

ISBN: 988-1-4231-5101-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012


The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories.

Percy Jackson takes a break from adventuring to serve up the Greek gods like flapjacks at a church breakfast.

Percy is on form as he debriefs readers concerning Chaos, Gaea, Ouranos and Pontus, Dionysus, Ariadne and Persephone, all in his dude’s patter: “He’d forgotten how beautiful Gaea could be when she wasn’t all yelling up in his face.” Here they are, all 12 Olympians, plus many various offspring and associates: the gold standard of dysfunctional families, whom Percy plays like a lute, sometimes lyrically, sometimes with a more sardonic air. Percy’s gift, which is no great secret, is to breathe new life into the gods. Closest attention is paid to the Olympians, but Riordan has a sure touch when it comes to fitting much into a small space—as does Rocco’s artwork, which smokes and writhes on the page as if hit by lightning—so readers will also meet Makaria, “goddess of blessed peaceful deaths,” and the Theban Teiresias, who accidentally sees Athena bathing. She blinds him but also gives him the ability to understand the language of birds. The atmosphere crackles and then dissolves, again and again: “He could even send the Furies after living people if they committed a truly horrific crime—like killing a family member, desecrating a temple, or singing Journey songs on karaoke night.”

The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories. (Mythology. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-8364-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014


From the Maggie Brooklyn Mysteries series

In this series debut, Maggie Sinclair tracks down a dognapper and solves a mystery about the noises in the walls of her Brooklyn brownstone apartment building. The 12-year-old heroine, who shares a middle name—Brooklyn—with her twin brother, Finn, is juggling two dogwalking jobs she’s keeping secret from her parents, and somehow she attracts the ire of the dogs’ former walker. Maggie tells her story in the first person—she’s self-possessed and likable, even when her clueless brother invites her ex–best friend, now something of an enemy, to their shared 12th birthday party. Maggie’s attention to details helps her to figure out why dogs seem to be disappearing and why there seem to be mice in the walls of her building, though astute readers will pick up on the solution to at least one mystery before Maggie solves it. There’s a brief nod to Nancy Drew, but the real tensions in this contemporary preteen story are more about friendship and boy crushes than skullduggery. Still, the setting is appealing, and Maggie is a smart and competent heroine whose personal life is just as interesting as—if not more than—her detective work. (Mystery. 10-13)



Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 967-1-59990-525-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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