FLIGHT OF THE RAVEN

A slow-moving sequel to Tolan’s Welcome to the Ark (1996) in which Elijah, a young African-American empath who has escaped from a juvenile mental health facility in the Adirondacks, becomes entangled in a domestic terrorist organization. This projected second in a trilogy about the Ark kids follows Elijah after the breakup of the Ark, the therapeutic group home for child prodigies. An Ark kid is a child with special psychic powers who can link with other Ark kids to form a powerful psychic web “to tame the violence in others.” When the reader first meets Elijah, he has become so wounded from feeling the violence in the world that he has utterly withdrawn into himself. Two things pull him out: a raven with which he has a mystic link (and whose message is decidedly unclear), and Amber, daughter of the leader of the Free Mountain Militia, in whom Elijah detects a fellow Ark kid. For a story that culminates with the foiling of a plot to broadcast a particularly deadly strain of smallpox throughout the world, this is awfully slow and muddled. Elijah and Amber spend a lot of time plumbing their feelings about violence together and separately, Amber’s sociopathic brother Kenny providing a near-lethal counterpoint to the philosophizing. The ravens (Elijah attracts a flock) swoop in and out, quorking mysteriously, Elijah alternately links psychically with animals and acts as the militia’s computer guru, Amber alternately entertains doubts as to the ethics of her father’s methodologies and regrets that she, as a girl, cannot join him more fully. While the topic may be timely, there’s too much talk and not enough action; its message, too, is unclear, as Elijah commits violence in order to prevent violence, his psychic web nowhere in evidence. Only for committed fans of part one. (Fiction. 10-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-688-17419-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2001

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CLOCKWORK ANGEL

From the Infernal Devices series , Vol. 1

A century before the events of Clare’s Mortal Instruments trilogy, another everyday heroine gets entangled with demon-slaying Shadowhunters. Sixteen-year-old orphaned Tessa comes to London to join her brother but is imprisoned by the grotesque Dark Sisters. The sisters train the unwilling Tessa in previously unknown shapeshifter abilities, preparing her to be a pawn in some diabolical plan. A timely rescue brings Tessa to the Institute, where a group of misfit Shadowhunters struggles to fight evil. Though details differ, the general flavor of Tessa’s new family will be enjoyably familiar to the earlier trilogy’s fans; the most important is Tessa’s rescuer Will, the gorgeous, sharp-tongued teenager with a mysterious past and a smile like “Lucifer might have smiled, moments before he fell from Heaven.” The lush, melodramatic urban fantasy setting of the Shadowhunter world morphs seamlessly into a steampunk Victorian past, and this new series provides the setup for what will surely be a climactic battle against hordes of demonically powered brass clockworks. The tale drags in places, but this crowdpleaser’s tension-filled conclusion ratchets toward a new set of mysteries. (Steampunk. 13-15)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4169-7586-1

Page Count: 496

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2010

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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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