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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A gripping revenge story with enough twists to avoid becoming formulaic.


To get revenge for her family’s murder seven years ago, Lore must reenter a deadly contest from her past.

Leaving the conflict of gods and their hunters behind, Lore thought she had forged a new life. However, the Agon has begun again and brought with it an injured Athena, who promises her revenge on the one who ordered her family killed—in exchange for an oath binding their fates together. Lore must hunt down the god once known as Aristos Kadmou, with the catch that she only has eight days. Also, failure means the deaths of both Lore and Athena. Depictions of graphic violence and discussions of sexual assault are frequent, creating a tale as violent and unforgiving as its source material, albeit narrated through a feminist lens. Much like the heroes of ancient epics, Lore is a morally ambiguous but ultimately likable character, struggling to eliminate the monsters of her world while not falling into the brutality of her youth. She is contrasted with the idealistic Castor, her childhood friend and love interest, with whom she has plenty of chemistry. Bracken builds a rich world around a skeleton of ancient Greek mythology that is perfect to read on a dull weekend and sure to delight readers. Most main characters are cued as White; there are two men of color, both gay.

A gripping revenge story with enough twists to avoid becoming formulaic. (cast of characters) (Fantasy. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4847-7820-3

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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An accomplished, exciting debut.


From the All the Stars and Teeth series , Vol. 1

A princess embarks on a dangerous path to the throne.

In the island kingdom of Visidia, where each person is allowed just one type of magic, only the members of the royal Montara family have the ability to wield the dangerous soul magic. Princess Amora is next in line to be High Animancer, but she must first prove to her people that she is powerful enough to use her magic to protect them. But something goes terribly wrong during a critical public ceremony, and Amora runs away with dashing pirate Bastian, whose rescue comes with a price: She must help him recover his own magic, stolen away by a dangerous man leading a growing rebellion that could bring down the whole kingdom. Debut author Grace wields her own magic with a skillful balancing act between high-stakes adventure (here there be monsters, mermaids, and high-seas shenanigans), bloody fantasy, and character development in a story with a lovable found family at its core. Amora yearns for adventure just as she welcomes her right to command her kingdom; her ferocious sense of duty and legitimate need to do good shine through. The novel’s further unravelling of dark secrets long kept comes with a recognized need for accountability and making amends which adds a thoughtful extra layer to the rich worldbuilding. Amora has copper-brown skin and dark, curly hair; other characters have a range of skin tones in this diverse world.

An accomplished, exciting debut. (guide to the kingdom) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-30778-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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