Readers will enjoy what is still a romantic and exciting story, but with the tease of such rich material they’ll miss the...

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CLEOPATRA'S MOON

Following in a parent’s footsteps is never easy…especially when your parents are Cleopatra and Mark Antony. 

From the little known about the lives of Cleopatra Selene and her two brothers, taken to Rome after the deaths of their parents to live in the emperor’s compound, Shecter has written an entertaining but ultimately thin first novel. The first-person narration follows Cleopatra Selene from age 7 to 16 as she grows politically savvy, falls in love and sets her own course. The author has written nonfiction books for children about this era (Cleopatra Rules!, 2010, etc.), and here the historical context and characters are well drawn. The sadistic family plotting in Octavianus’ compound makes for intriguing storytelling, and Cleopatra Selene’s loneliness, terror and ultimate bravery are well developed. Yet she’s just not believable as a brainy 25th-century-BCE princess, exhibiting a 21st-century naïveté (especially regarding espionage) and the subtlety of a school bus. Conversations with her beloved introduce the audience to philosophical concepts of Stoicism, free will and women’s rights, but there’s almost an avoidance of issues of slavery and sovereignty, for all their essential part in the plot.

Readers will enjoy what is still a romantic and exciting story, but with the tease of such rich material they’ll miss the meatiness of such storytellers as Katherine Sturtevant, Megan Whalen Turner or Robin McKinley.   (character list, author’s note) (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-545-22130-6

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

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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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Esmerine has only just become a siren when her older sister Dosia, also a siren, disappears into the human world. Mermaids...

BETWEEN THE SEA AND THE SKY

A mermaid braves the human world to find her lost sister and to seek her only love in this new fantasy.

Esmerine has only just become a siren when her older sister Dosia, also a siren, disappears into the human world. Mermaids can grow legs temporarily and live on land although, as in Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, walking is terribly painful for them. But Esmerine not only longs for her sister, she’d like to locate her childhood friend Alander, a winged man-creature, for whom she secretly longs. Esmerine quickly finds him in the bookstore he runs, and although she’s sure no romance is possible, she can’t seem to tear herself away from him. He agrees to carry her on his back in a flight to the mountains to find Dosia, and adventures ensue. Dolamore writes in a simple style that feels more middle-grade than teen, but her story should also appeal to middle- and younger high-school readers, making this a good hi-lo choice. She displays plenty of imagination, especially in her setting, with its 19th-century-style clothing and quaint towns. The portraits of her two leads will convince readers, and several of her minor characters, such as ex-mermaid Belawyn and Alander’s father, stand out as quirky and individual.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59990-434-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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