Readers will revel in the shivery mood.


From the Legends of Eerie-on-Sea series , Vol. 3

Instead of Halloween, Eerie-on-Sea townsfolk celebrate Ghastly Night, lighting manglewick candles to keep the legendary Shadowghast from stealing their shadows.

This year, candles won’t be enough. The holiday commemorates a stranger’s mesmerizing shadow-puppet show in which Eerie townsfolk watched the shadow of a grinning, horned man chase and consume fleeing shadows, human and otherwise. Cheated of payment by Eerie’s duplicitous mayor, the puppet master fed his shadow to the Shadowghast. (The mayor himself vanished). Dr. Thalassi and Mrs. Fossil retell these historical events annually. They’re blindsided when charismatic stage magician Caliastra arrives with her agent and two mimes, planning to re-create the story theatrically. Caliastra dazzles Herbie; claiming she’s his aunt, she invites him to be her assistant. Violet, Herbie’s fellow orphan, is skeptical—and also worried because her guardian is missing. Their friendship suffers, but as Mrs. Fossil disappears and Shadowghast sightings accumulate, the two put aside differences for dangerous investigations that lead to Sebastian Eels’ empty house and the Netherways, a labyrinth of underground passageways. When quick-witted, intrepid Violet is sidelined, cautious, risk-averse Herbie needs a gutsy plan and help from Erwin, the oracular cat, and Clermit, the charming, clockwork hermit crab. Eclipsing clowns in sheer creepiness, the mimes are nastily memorable creations. Inventive plotting, spooky atmospherics, and quirky humor will keep readers entertained. Characters are minimally described, but prior entries and names signal some diversity in the default White cast. Final illustrations not seen.

Readers will revel in the shivery mood. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0860-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship.


From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

A young tennis champion becomes the target of revenge.

In this sequel to Legacy and the Queen (2019), Legacy Petrin and her friends Javi and Pippa have returned to Legacy’s home province and the orphanage run by her father. With her friends’ help, she is in training to defend her championship when they discover that another player, operating under the protection of High Consul Silla, is presenting herself as Legacy. She is so convincing that the real Legacy is accused of being an imitation. False Legacy has become a hero to the masses, further strengthening Silla’s hold, and it becomes imperative to uncover and defeat her. If Legacy is to win again, she must play her imposter while disguised as someone else. Winning at tennis is not just about money and fame, but resisting Silla’s plans to send more young people into brutal mines with little hope of better lives. Legacy will have to overcome her fears and find the magic that allowed her to claim victory in the past. This story, with its elements of sports, fantasy, and social consciousness that highlight tensions between the powerful and those they prey upon, successfully continues the series conceived by late basketball superstar Bryant. As before, the tennis matches are depicted with pace and spirit. Legacy and Javi have brown skin; most other characters default to White.

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949520-19-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun

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From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 1

It’s been 42 days since the Monster Apocalypse began, and 13-year-old Jack Sullivan, a self-proclaimed “zombie-fighting, monster-slaying tornado of cool” is on a quest to find and rescue his not-so-secret crush, June Del Toro, whether she needs it, wants it, or not.

Jack cobbles together an unlikely but endearing crew, including his scientist best friend, Quint Baker; Dirk Savage, Parker Middle School’s biggest bully; and a pet monster named Rover, to help him save the damsel in distress and complete the “ULTIMATE Feat of Apocalyptic Success.” Middle-grade readers, particularly boys, will find Jack’s pitch-perfect mix of humor, bravado, and self-professed geekiness impossible to resist. His sidekicks are equally entertaining, and it doesn’t hurt that there are also plenty of oozing, drooling, sharp-toothed monsters and zombies and a host of gizmos and gadgets to hook readers and keep them cheering with every turn of the page. Holgate’s illustrations play an integral role in the novel’s success. They not only bring Brallier’s characters to life, but also add depth and detail to the story, making plain just exactly how big Rover is and giving the lie to Jack’s “killer driving.” The marriage of text and illustration serves as a perfect example of what an illustrated novel can and should be.

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun (. (Graphic/horror hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-01661-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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