Lucky U.K. readers get cliffhangers and toothsome prose, but at least Americans still get the thrills of the shooting...

READ REVIEW

IN A SPLIT SECOND

In a very near future, two teenagers in a scarcely functional London are caught up in terrorist plots.

Nat and Charlie live in an England with an economy just a touch worse than the real thing: Austerity cuts are closing hospitals, shrinking police departments, and leaving countless people unemployed and hungry. As the novel opens, Charlie, fighting with her mum in the free food line, barely survives the terrorist bomb that claims her mother's life. Nat knows about the bomb but—convinced his brother, Lucas, is the bomber—tries and fails to stop the attack in time. Now Charlie lives with relatives, and Nat (who hasn't reported his suspicions about Lucas) needs to understand his now-comatose brother's motivations. How had cheerful, peaceful Lucas fallen in with the racist terrorists of the League of Iron? In a series of brief first-person chapters, Nat and Charlie cope with the bombing's aftermath. Nat's attempts to infiltrate the League of Iron lead both teenagers into dangerous plots against the people and government of England (and into conversations with thugs who make violent, despicable, racist threats). Despite their attempts to defeat the villains, everything goes to hell just in time for the heavily foreshadowed reveals to set up the sequel. Though the action-packed suspense is up to snuff, heavy-handed Americanization leaves both characters and setting bland and flavorless.

Lucky U.K. readers get cliffhangers and toothsome prose, but at least Americans still get the thrills of the shooting practice and bombing plots . (Thriller. 13-15)

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-1394-7

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Though it’s a bit of a slog, readers of Book 1 will find it worth the time for its unexpected conclusion

THE SHADOW'S CURSE

A lost prince and his ladylove must defeat the tyrant rampaging over the steppes with an army of enslaved spirits in this sequel to The Oathbreaker’s Shadow (2015).

Raim is haunted by the spirit of his best friend, Khareh—a spirit that appeared when Raim accidentally broke an oath made by another, leaving him magically marked and exiled from his nomadic tribe as an oathbreaker. Khareh yet lives, but with the best part of himself lost in the spirit, his ambition has become megalomania. Not content to be khan of his tribe alone, Khareh aims to join all the northern nomads into one massive khanate. Raim seeks control over his spirit but also yearns to rescue Wadi, the dark-skinned desert girl to whom he's given his heart. Wadi is Khareh's captive, and she is more than capable of freeing herself from the cruel young khan; nevertheless she must stay a captive. It's her destiny to make a king of Raim, she learns from a blind seer in one of the stalest tropes of superpowered disability. Raim, Khareh, and Wadi travel all over the steppes of Darhan, giving a solid glimpse of this fantasy world roughly based on the lives of Mongolian nomads. A dense narrative of tiny chapters with shifting points of view leaves little time to become invested in each character's journey.

Though it’s a bit of a slog, readers of Book 1 will find it worth the time for its unexpected conclusion . (Fantasy. 13-15)

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7387-4512-1

Page Count: 456

Publisher: Flux

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This breathless political thriller isn't always coherent, but it keeps the adrenaline pumping

EVERY SECOND COUNTS

Two teens framed as terrorists need to save England from a terrorist attack and political takeover.

Charlie and Nat have been on the run since they were tricked into aiding a kidnapping and bombing (In a Split Second, 2015). Charlie, furious after the attack that killed her mother and left Nat's older brother in a coma, tried to do good by training as a soldier for the vigilante English Freedom Army. Nat and Charlie were told the EFA existed to fight terrorists like the racist League of Iron, but it turns out they were terrorists, fomenting chaos to support the political aspirations of charismatic politician Roman Riley. Now the teens, distracted by both their romance and Charlie's family secrets, must stop Riley from creating a far worse atrocity. Their single-minded focus on each other even as they learn of potentially horrific casualties can be read as either romantic or utterly lacking in empathy, but at least they prioritize the mission. Chapters that alternate their perspectives, most only about three pages, maintain endless urgency in the style of the television series 24. Though some lulls might have improved the flow, the nonstop action distracts from plot holes and flat secondary characters. U.S. readers may be bemused at the U.K. revolutionaries’ discussions of bombings but shock at the use of guns.

This breathless political thriller isn't always coherent, but it keeps the adrenaline pumping . (Thriller. 13-15)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3926-8

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more