SHATTERGLASS

From the Circle Opens series , Vol. 4

Pierce continues her successful blend of high fantasy, grisly suspense, and wry social commentary in this conclusion to the second series starring her quartet of adolescent mages. With control over earthquakes, lightning, volcanoes, and tides, the plump bespectacled pepperpot Tris may be one of the most powerful mages in the world; but the 14-year-old’s practical mind is more concerned about earning a living. A magical conference in exotic Tharios (which resembles a cross between the intellectual sophistication of Athens and the caste-ridden otherworldliness of India) seems a promising venue to learn some marketable magic. Instead, she bumps into Keth, a journeyman glassmaker, whose untrained powers over glass and lightning accidentally create a miniature living glass dragon, whom Tris delightedly adopts; less cheerfully, she takes on tutoring Keth in his dangerous magic, and he is equally reluctant to take lessons from a child years his junior. Meanwhile, Tharios is being stalked by a serial killer; and as the authorities worry more about avoiding ritual pollution than catching a murderer, Keth’s magic just might supply the key to stopping his rampage. There really isn’t much of a mystery here, since the eventual murderer turns out to be a total unknown, and the pace is too leisurely and repetitive to create much suspense. But Pierce (Lady Knight, 2002, etc.) more than makes up for these deficiencies with her appealing, well-rounded characters. Her fans will undoubtedly clamor for further updates on her likable young mages and their fascinating world. (Fiction. 11+)

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-590-39683-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2003

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An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic.

ALL OUR HIDDEN GIFTS

An Irish teen grapples with past misdeeds and newfound ties to magic.

When 16-year-old Maeve discovers a deck of tarot cards stashed with a mixtape of moody indie music from 1990, she starts giving readings for her classmates at her all-girls private school. Though her shame over dumping her strange friend Lily during an attempt to climb the social ladder at St. Bernadette’s is still palpable, it doesn’t stop her from trying to use the tarot in her favor to further this goal. However, after speaking harsh words to Lily during a reading, Maeve is horrified when her former friend later disappears. As she struggles to understand the forces at play within her, classmate Fiona proves to be just the friend Maeve needs. Detailed, interesting characters carry this contemporary story of competing energy and curses. Woven delicately throughout are chillingly eerie depictions of the Housekeeper, a figure who shows up on an extra card in the deck, echoing the White Lady legend from Irish folklore. Even more disturbing is an organization of young people led by a homophobic but charismatic figurehead intent on provoking backlash against Ireland’s recent civil rights victories. Most characters are White; Fiona is biracial, with a Filipina mother and White Irish father. Roe, Maeve’s love interest and Lily’s sibling, is a bisexual, genderqueer person who is a target for intolerance in their small city of Kilbeg.

An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic. (Paranormal. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1394-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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Wrought with admirable skill—the emptiness and menace underlying this Utopia emerge step by inexorable step: a richly...

THE GIVER

From the Giver Quartet series , Vol. 1

In a radical departure from her realistic fiction and comic chronicles of Anastasia, Lowry creates a chilling, tightly controlled future society where all controversy, pain, and choice have been expunged, each childhood year has its privileges and responsibilities, and family members are selected for compatibility.

As Jonas approaches the "Ceremony of Twelve," he wonders what his adult "Assignment" will be. Father, a "Nurturer," cares for "newchildren"; Mother works in the "Department of Justice"; but Jonas's admitted talents suggest no particular calling. In the event, he is named "Receiver," to replace an Elder with a unique function: holding the community's memories—painful, troubling, or prone to lead (like love) to disorder; the Elder ("The Giver") now begins to transfer these memories to Jonas. The process is deeply disturbing; for the first time, Jonas learns about ordinary things like color, the sun, snow, and mountains, as well as love, war, and death: the ceremony known as "release" is revealed to be murder. Horrified, Jonas plots escape to "Elsewhere," a step he believes will return the memories to all the people, but his timing is upset by a decision to release a newchild he has come to love. Ill-equipped, Jonas sets out with the baby on a desperate journey whose enigmatic conclusion resonates with allegory: Jonas may be a Christ figure, but the contrasts here with Christian symbols are also intriguing.

Wrought with admirable skill—the emptiness and menace underlying this Utopia emerge step by inexorable step: a richly provocative novel. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 1, 1993

ISBN: 978-0-395-64566-6

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1993

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