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From the Brightstorm series , Vol. 2

A charming and thought-provoking sequel.

Two children and their stalwart chosen family sail a sky-ship beyond the known lands in this sequel to Brightstorm (2020).

Maudie and Arty Brightstorm, orphaned 13-year-olds, were adopted into the crew of the Aurora after their adventure in South Polaris. Now all the Lontown exploring families are off on a quest to find a missing adventurer. If only the rescue attempt weren’t led by the twins’ archnemesis: their maternal aunt Eudora Vane, who had their father murdered. Arty suspects there’s more here than a rescue mission. There’s a mysterious signet ring, odd triangle tattoos, and rumors of a university secret society. He even keeps seeing an unusual word, Erythea. But his beloved Maudie, usually interested in whatever Arty does, is wrapped up in her new engineering projects and has no time for the mystery. They eventually find their way to the lost continent, a beautiful, tropical ecotopia led by scholars with extremely advanced technology who live in harmony with nature. This entry smoothly blends a warmhearted, lovely fantasy adventure with moral lessons inherent in discovering a utopian secret. The Lontowners read as White while the people of the Eastern Isles and the lost continent range from pale to brown-skinned. Arty’s disability—he has one arm and no longer wears a prosthetic—is rarely mentioned, unlike in Book 1, in which it’s beautifully and realistically handled. Final art not seen.

A charming and thought-provoking sequel. (Steampunk. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-01595-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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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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From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

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

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 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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