An engaging book for kids, with a particular interest for the budding mechanic.

READ REVIEW

The Hidden City of Chelldrah-ham

WAR OF CHAOS

From the The Hidden City of Chelldrah-ham series , Vol. 2

A middle-grade fantasy novel continues the story of a young inventor and his hidden golden hometown of Chelldrah-ham.

After the events of the previous book (Stig’s Flight of Encounters, 2014), Stig returns to Chelldrah-ham with tales of the lands beyond: the sentient wooden pods that produce healing “corms,” the corrupted race of creatures called the Bach, the flower-wearing folk of the forest of Polandrea. The city’s Elders have debriefed him thoroughly about the Bach threat as well as the strange substance called “usty metal.” Stig’s instincts tell him they’re hiding something, so he keeps his newly developed empathic abilities secret, though he frequently communicates in dreams with Meg, the Polandrean girl he fell for on his journey. Alarmed when she falls silent, he gains permission to visit her, setting out with his best friend, Arn, one of the city’s doughty Guards of Old. They are shocked when they retrace Stig’s steps, visiting the homes of friends he made—and discover only devastation, the aftermath of fierce battles with the Bach. And when they finally reach Meg’s homeland, they discover that she’s missing, on a mission to rescue her brother, one of many Polandreans kidnapped by the Bach for nefarious purposes. Soon, Stig learns that the Bach are under the influence of a woman named Anet, who came through a rift from a place called Earth, “not on this planet, but also not off it.” Anet starts to breed bigger, more evil Bach with the help of a poison called Chaos; she plans to unleash her army and take over both worlds. Can Stig and his friends stop her before it’s too late? While the first book in the Chelldrah-ham series suffered from a surfeit of exposition, the background details pay off in this fast-paced sequel. Von Clinkerhoffen blends imaginative flora (like the fluid-filled flowers used as canteens) and fauna (Stig’s pets Noname, a plimph, and Jess, a fledgling bird of prey called a jeswit) with the hero’s love of machinery and problem-solving skills. The narrative chronicles Stig’s experiments with various contraptions, including a plane (he “pushed the motor lever forward to ‘Go.’ The motor whirred, the plane started to make a wooooooo sound, and a wind started to blow from the rear of the fuselage. It bounced slowly and then started shaking violently”).

An engaging book for kids, with a particular interest for the budding mechanic.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5147-0361-8

Page Count: 210

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

SHAKESPEARE FOR SQUIRRELS

Manic parodist Moore, fresh off a season in 1947 San Francisco (Noir, 2018), returns with a rare gift for Shakespeare fans who think A Midsummer Night’s Dream would be perfect if only it were a little more madcap.

Cast adrift by pirates together with his apprentice, halfwit giant Drool, and Jeff, his barely less intelligent monkey, Pocket of Dog Snogging upon Ouze, jester to the late King Lear, washes ashore in Shakespeare’s Athens, where Cobweb, a squirrel by day and fairy by night, takes him under her wing and other parts. Soon after he encounters Robin Goodfellow (the Puck), jester to shadow king Oberon, and Nick Bottom and the other clueless mechanicals rehearsing Pyramus and Thisby in a nearby forest before they present it in celebration of the wedding of Theseus, Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the captive Amazon queen who’s captured his heart, Pocket (The Serpent of Venice, 2014, etc.) finds Robin fatally shot by an arrow. Suspected briefly of the murder himself, he’s commissioned, first by Hippolyta, then by the unwitting Theseus, to identify the Puck’s killer. Oh, and Egeus, the Duke’s steward, wants him to find and execute Lysander, who’s run off with Egeus’ daughter, Hermia, instead of marrying Helena, who’s in love with Demetrius. As English majors can attest, a remarkable amount of this madness can already be found in Shakespeare’s play. Moore’s contribution is to amp up the couplings, bawdy language, violence, and metatextual analogies between the royals, the fairies, the mechanicals, his own interloping hero, and any number of other plays by the Bard.

A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-243402-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Fierce, poetic, uncompromising.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE CITY WE BECAME

This extremely urban fantasy, a love/hate song to and rallying cry for the author’s home of New York, expands her story “The City, Born Great” (from How Long ’Til Black Future Month, 2018).

When a great city reaches the point when it's ready to come to life, it chooses a human avatar, who guides the city through its birthing and contends with an extradimensional Enemy who seeks to strike at this vulnerable moment. Now, it is New York City’s time to be born, but its avatar is too weakened by the battle to complete the process. So each of the individual boroughs instantiates its own avatar to continue the fight. Manhattan is a multiracial grad student new to the city with a secret violent past that he can no longer quite remember; Brooklyn is an African American rap star–turned–lawyer and city councilwoman; Queens is an Indian math whiz here on a visa; the Bronx is a tough Lenape woman who runs a nonprofit art center; and Staten Island is a frightened and insular Irish American woman who wants nothing to do with the other four. Can these boroughs successfully awaken and heal their primary avatar and repel the invading white tentacles of the Enemy? The novel is a bold calling out of the racial tensions dividing not only New York City, but the U.S. as a whole; it underscores that people of color are an integral part of the city’s tapestry even if some white people prefer to treat them as interlopers. It's no accident that the only white avatar is the racist woman representing Staten Island, nor that the Enemy appears as a Woman in White who employs the forces of racism and gentrification in her invasion; her true self is openly inspired by the tropes of the xenophobic author H.P. Lovecraft. Although the story is a fantasy, many aspects of the plot draw on contemporary incidents. In the real world, white people don’t need a nudge from an eldritch abomination to call down a violent police reaction on people of color innocently conducting their daily lives, and just as in the book, third parties are fraudulently transferring property deeds from African American homeowners in Brooklyn, and gentrification forces out the people who made the neighborhood attractive in the first place. In the face of these behaviors, whataboutism, #BothSides, and #NotAllWhitePeople are feeble arguments.

Fierce, poetic, uncompromising.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-50984-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Orbit

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more