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An odd, egg-shaped object, planted by aliens in the mesozoic swamp, is found about 80 million years later by Tycho Tithonis, an eleven-year-old digging in his garden. (Tycho's name, and those of his siblings Ludwig, Leonardo, and Tamara, reflect a deterministic bent on their parents' part that is not irrelevant to the questions raised later.) Immediately, the tyrannical Ludwig demands the object, but Tycho holds on stubbornly, and soon discovers that the "egg" has the power to transport him into the past or the future. At first, Tycho uses the egg to settle small scores with his three siblings, all of whom bully and berate him to an unnatural extent; but he then begins to make forays into the future for glimpses of his adult self. Gradually, Tycho realizes that there are several alternate futures, but in each one the adult Tycho, abusing the power of the egg, becomes more menacing and despicable. In the last visit, he's a crazed "slave" of the egg, controlling and torturing his family. The aghast young Tycho finally realizes that the object itself is behind all the grim developments, and the story ends in a breakneck chase through the eons, with young Tycho, determined to return the egg, pursued by his older self who wants to keep it. Sleator manipulates the family conflicts and their nightmare transformations expertly—building the ideas through the page-turning action, weaving in subtle variations on the dominant theme, and turning to his own nimble advantage those built-in paradoxes of the time-travel concept which often weaken similar stories.

Pub Date: April 30, 1981

ISBN: 0765352389

Page Count: 132

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1981

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From the Powerless Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes.

The Plague has left a population divided between Elites and Ordinaries—those who have powers and those who don’t; now, an Ordinary teen fights for her life.

Paedyn Gray witnessed the king kill her father five years ago, and she’s been thieving and sleeping rough ever since, all while faking Psychic abilities. When she inadvertently saves the life of Prince Kai, she becomes embroiled in the Purging Trials, a competition to commemorate the sickness that killed most of the kingdom’s Ordinaries. Kai’s duties as the future Enforcer include eradicating any remaining Ordinaries, and these Trials are his chance to prove that he’s internalized his brutal training. But Kai can’t help but find Pae’s blue eyes, silver hair, and unabashed attitude enchanting. She likewise struggles to resist his stormy gray eyes, dark hair, and rakish behavior, even as they’re pitted against each other in the Trials and by the king himself. Scenes and concepts that are strongly reminiscent of the Hunger Games fall flat: They aren’t bolstered by the original’s heart or worldbuilding logic that would have justified a few extreme story elements. Illogical leaps and inconsistent characterizations abound, with lighthearted romantic interludes juxtaposed against genocide, child abuse, and sadism. These elements, which are not sufficiently addressed, combined with the use of ableist language, cannot be erased by any amount of romantic banter. Main characters are cued white; the supporting cast has some brown-skinned characters.

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9798987380406

Page Count: 538

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023

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Banter and sexual tension abound in this enjoyable enemies-to-lovers fantasy.

The underestimated sister of a soon-to-be queen has her own tale to tell in this companion novel to Levenseller’s The Shadows Between Us (2020).

Nineteen-year-old Chrysantha and her younger sister, Alessandra, who’s the fiancee of the Shadow King, don’t have the best relationship. Chrysantha has always been jealous of how easily Alessandra achieves success, while Alessandra thinks Chrysantha is a fool. For her part, Chrysantha uses this reputation as a facade and a means to an end while she patiently awaits the demise of her lewd—and wealthy—husband, the Duke of Pholios. With Chrysantha’s assistance, the 64-year-old duke dies, allowing his widow to drop the charade and focus on being independent and spending money according to her own whims and desires. That is, until distractingly handsome 18-year-old Eryx Demos arrives, claiming to be her late husband’s heir who’s ready to take control of the estate. Combining her objectives of outshining Alessandra at her royal wedding with enjoying some captivating arm candy and gaining Eryx’s trust in order to stab him in the back, Chrysantha takes up the job of molding Eryx into a proper duke. Chrysantha’s and Eryx’s wickedly charming personalities clash in the most pleasing and seductive ways, so that even though the plot feels repetitive at times, there’s still much to delight in. Chrysantha’s skin is “dark beige”; Eryx is “tanned” and has “tawny-brown hair.”

Banter and sexual tension abound in this enjoyable enemies-to-lovers fantasy. (Fantasy romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: July 9, 2024


Page Count: 336

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2024

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