This fantasy relies on technology to stand out.

READ REVIEW

BETWEEN WORLDS

Teen misfits accidentally discover a portal to a dangerous fantasy world in this immersive book/app combo.

Bullied nerd-type Marshall and proudly nonconformist new girl Mayberry (white, relatively blank-slate characters) decide to investigate a local legend about a grove in the middle of a forest and the magical Wishing Tree in its center. They jokingly wish for a magical adventure in a new world and then fall asleep at the foot of the tree. Initially, it’s great fun, but soon they encounter a chain of life-threatening dangers and vicious creatures, the final one a violent Troll-man with a white human slave (readers will quickly make a connection with the prologue, undermining the characters’ discovery later in the book). The villainous Troll-man teaches the teens magic in order to make them tools in his plan, the goal of which is murder and conquest. While the earlier parts of the adventure read like a walking tour and introduction to the land and its inhabitants, a later storyline—to save the other human—is where the story really picks up steam. The ending leaves plenty of wiggle room for other adventures in the magic world, Nith, as well as possible mishaps with powerful magical objects. The book will release alongside an app that uses a smartphone’s camera and the book’s illustrations to “create” 3-D animated models; it also gives bonus world information in the form of Mayberry’s diary, with planned additional interactive features. (The preview app consists of clean, high-quality sample character models and animation based on the full-color images; most full-color images not seen but likely will be the base of the full app’s materials.)

This fantasy relies on technology to stand out. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-17689-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula.

HOCUS POCUS AND THE ALL-NEW SEQUEL

In honor of its 25th anniversary, a Disney Halloween horror/comedy film gets a sequel to go with its original novelization.

Three Salem witches hanged in 1693 for stealing a child’s life force are revived in 1993 when 16-year-old new kid Max completes a spell by lighting a magical candle (which has to be kindled by a virgin to work). Max and dazzling, popular classmate Allison have to keep said witches at bay until dawn to save all of the local children from a similar fate. Fast-forward to 2018: Poppy, daughter of Max and Allison, inadvertently works a spell that sends her parents and an aunt to hell in exchange for the gleeful witches. With help from her best friend, Travis, and classmate Isabella, on whom she has a major crush, Poppy has only hours to keep the weird sisters from working more evil. The witches, each daffier than the last, supply most of the comedy as well as plenty of menace but end up back in the infernal regions. There’s also a talking cat, a talking dog, a gaggle of costumed heroines, and an oblique reference to a certain beloved Halloween movie. Traditional Disney wholesomeness is spiced, not soured, by occasional innuendo and a big twist in the sequel. Poppy and her family are white, while Travis and Isabella are both African-American.

A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula. (Fantasy. 10-15)

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-02003-9

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Freeform/Disney

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 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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