A winsome, energetic series preamble for new and returning readers.



In the prequel to O’Neale’s (Eternal Sacrifice, 2016, etc.) fantasy series, a prince from a world of elementals must decide whether he can kill an innocent 15-year-old princess in order to save his court.

Prince Rowan’s relationship with his mother, Queen Prisma, is all but destroyed. For unknown reasons, she’s exiled Rowan to the world of mortals, while she rules the fire court in their parallel world of Avalon. But Prisma sends Rowan’s best friend, Marcus, to bring him back to Avalon with the promise that she’ll give up her throne. Rowan is skeptical, certain that Prisma will want something from him in exchange. Sadly, he’s right: Rowan will only get the throne if he kills, the daughter of King Taron of the air court. Kalin is half-human, living with her mortal mother in Baltimore, but Prisma believes the teenage girl is the next akasha—a rare, powerful being who can wield power over all four elements. Rowan and Marcus travel back to the mortal world via a portal with plans to assassinate Kalin, whom knights  are protecting; they’re invisible to mortals, thanks to a cloaking spell called a “glamour.” But Rowan quickly has doubts about the mission, as he finds himself smitten with the red-haired girl he’s been assigned to kill. Disobeying the queen, however, will have dire results for both Rowan and his friend. O’Neale treads familiar terrain in this story, which has several elements that are reminiscent of the animated TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender. But the author packs plenty of plot and characters into the novella; the brisk story introduces various creatures (including shape-shifting “gabriel hounds,” like Marcus) and some romance (Marcus fancies an air elemental named Ariel). There’s also lots of tension, as killing Kalin has the potential to ignite a war. The well-established villains pave the way for appearances in later series installments. O’Neale’s unadorned prose successfully fuses the real world with the fantastical Avalon; Rowan’s first-person narration, for example, is rife with down-to-earth descriptions (“she seemed even more pissed than I’d envisioned”) and the go-to interjection “man.”

A winsome, energetic series preamble for new and returning readers.

Pub Date: March 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-07-112893-0

Page Count: 98

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2019

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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