THE WOMAN WHO RIDES LIKE A MAN

From the Song of the Lioness series , Vol. 3

Courage, skill, and magic are qualities that characterize 18-year-old Alanna in this third volume of the Song of the Lioness series. The tale (which can be enjoyed separately from the first two books) depicts Alanna's first year as a knight-errant for King Roald of Torvall, and combines the best charms of fantasy, adventure and romance. Alanna's adventures test not only her physical and spiritual qualities but her sense of identity and purpose. Alanna, her talking cat Faithful, her horse Moonlight, and teacher/ companion Coran meet the Bazhir desert tribesmen as the story begins. Finding themselves captive of the Bloody Hawk tribe, Alanna overcomes their leader's distrust through courage and luck. Alanna's defeat of the tribe's best fighter begins her exploits, which amaze and awe the Bazhirs. When she destroys her enemy, the tribe's evil holy man Ibn Nazzior, Alanna is asked to become their shaman. She challenges many of the tribe's customs and beliefs (especially those of sex roles) because of her independent action. As shaman, she trains two young outcast Bazhir women in their magical talents to become the first female tribal shamans. Alanna also fights the evil that enchants a crystal sword, which she won from a desert bandit in battle. The love Alanna feels for Prince Jonathon, who visits the tribe to learn its history, conflicts with her adventurous nature which craves action and recognition as a knight/soldier of the realm. Her attraction for George, the King of Thieves, brings her happiness, but another set of problems. Whom should she marry, Prince Jonathon or George? Alanna's world is a harsh one, but believable. Her uncertainties about her identity and her future are the ones that many young contemporary teens face. This fantasy provides food for introspection as well as flights of imagination into a magical kingdom. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 1, 1986

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2765-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1986

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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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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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