STREET MAGIC

From the Circle Opens series , Vol. 2

Pierce (Magic Steps, 2000, etc.) continues to individually develop her quartet of adolescent mages. Former street rat Briar Moss, now 14 and a fully certified Mage, visits the distant city of Chammur with his mentor Rosethorn, in order to use their plant magic to replenish its depleted soil. While sightseeing, Briar discovers the homeless waif Evvy leaking stone magic. Reluctantly tutoring her in the control of her incipient powers, he becomes embroiled in a gang war, as the Vipers, prodded by a bored noblewoman, seek to profit by Evvy's talents. While retaining his most appealing traits—his affectionate bond with plant life, his jaundiced skepticism towards authority, and the prickly sarcasm disguising his deep love for his teacher and foster sisters—Briar also matures through the rewards and frustrations of teaching; and the threat to his protégé forces him to confront his romanticized ambivalence toward his own childhood gang. Strong-willed Evvy is a delightful addition to Pierce's mostly female cast, and the villainous Lady Zenadia oozes serpentine menace. Most fascinating is rose-red Chammur itself, with its timeworn stones, bustling bazaars, dusty rooftop roads, and cool, shaded palaces. Ancient, arid, elegant, sinister, sophisticated, weary, and cruel, Chammur drips with an exotic atmosphere clearly inspired by (if uncomfortably close to stereotyping) classical Arab culture. A must for Pierce's many fans, and a solid choice for those interested in a different take on gangs, faraway lands, or just good imaginative fantasy. (Fiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-590-39628-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2001

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A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula.

HOCUS POCUS AND THE ALL-NEW SEQUEL

In honor of its 25th anniversary, a Disney Halloween horror/comedy film gets a sequel to go with its original novelization.

Three Salem witches hanged in 1693 for stealing a child’s life force are revived in 1993 when 16-year-old new kid Max completes a spell by lighting a magical candle (which has to be kindled by a virgin to work). Max and dazzling, popular classmate Allison have to keep said witches at bay until dawn to save all of the local children from a similar fate. Fast-forward to 2018: Poppy, daughter of Max and Allison, inadvertently works a spell that sends her parents and an aunt to hell in exchange for the gleeful witches. With help from her best friend, Travis, and classmate Isabella, on whom she has a major crush, Poppy has only hours to keep the weird sisters from working more evil. The witches, each daffier than the last, supply most of the comedy as well as plenty of menace but end up back in the infernal regions. There’s also a talking cat, a talking dog, a gaggle of costumed heroines, and an oblique reference to a certain beloved Halloween movie. Traditional Disney wholesomeness is spiced, not soured, by occasional innuendo and a big twist in the sequel. Poppy and her family are white, while Travis and Isabella are both African-American.

A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula. (Fantasy. 10-15)

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-02003-9

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Freeform/Disney

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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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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