ATLANTIS LOST

From the Atlantis series , Vol. 3

While Barron makes that final choice a hard one, the problems seen in the previous installments also haunt this final...

The conclusion to the Atlantis trilogy.

Opening with an accident that completes the destruction of the veil that separates the spirit and mortal worlds, one-dimensional villain Narkazan gnashes his tusks and prepares to launch his attack against rival spirit forces that include immortal Promi and his family. Elsewhere, Promi frets: he still hasn’t declared his love to Atlanta. When news of Narkazan’s gathering forces reaches Promi and his family, he decides to travel to Atlantis to save the powerful, magical Starstone from Narkazan’s henchmen—and to confess his feelings to Atlanta—rather than stay and fight Narkazan in the spirit realm. Meanwhile on Atlantis, Narkazan unleashes a giant toadlike creature that will eventually consume all creatures on Earth. Expository dialogue refreshes readers’ memories of the events that lead up to this final chapter, and overwrought, cliché-ridden prose carries it along. Since Atlantis’ eventual outcome is foregone, the suspense lies not so much in the battle between good and evil but rather in how immortal Promi will resolve his love for the mortal Atlanta. Human characters are largely described by hair and eye color, leaving readers to infer that they are white.

While Barron makes that final choice a hard one, the problems seen in the previous installments also haunt this final volume, making it one for committed fans only . (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-16805-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL

From the School for Good and Evil series , Vol. 1

Rich and strange (and kitted out with an eye-catching cover), but stronger in the set pieces than the internal logic.

Chainani works an elaborate sea change akin to Gregory Maguire’s Wicked (1995), though he leaves the waters muddied.

Every four years, two children, one regarded as particularly nice and the other particularly nasty, are snatched from the village of Gavaldon by the shadowy School Master to attend the divided titular school. Those who survive to graduate become major or minor characters in fairy tales. When it happens to sweet, Disney princess–like Sophie and  her friend Agatha, plain of features, sour of disposition and low of self-esteem, they are both horrified to discover that they’ve been dropped not where they expect but at Evil and at Good respectively. Gradually—too gradually, as the author strings out hundreds of pages of Hogwarts-style pranks, classroom mishaps and competitions both academic and romantic—it becomes clear that the placement wasn’t a mistake at all. Growing into their true natures amid revelations and marked physical changes, the two spark escalating rivalry between the wings of the school. This leads up to a vicious climactic fight that sees Good and Evil repeatedly switching sides. At this point, readers are likely to feel suddenly left behind, as, thanks to summary deus ex machina resolutions, everything turns out swell(ish).

Rich and strange (and kitted out with an eye-catching cover), but stronger in the set pieces than the internal logic. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: May 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-210489-2

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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