A dazzling adventure sure to become a classic, if not a movie.

THE ADVENTURERS GUILD

From the Adventurers Guild series , Vol. 1

Zed, a half-human, half-elven boy with brown skin, and white, human Brock are best friends eager for Guildculling.

Zed, the son of a single-parent human mother, has always wanted to join the Mages Guild. Brock’s choice of the Merchants Guild is rooted in family tradition. Covert, orchestrated circumstances lead the boys into the lowly Adventurer’s Guild, however, which only the guildless or unwanted enter. Zed and Brock soon learn that the Adventurer’s Guild is a rowdy mix of humans, elves, dwarves—and an archivist who can cast a mean spell or two when he has to—run by a ragged old woman by the name of Alabasel Frond. On their very first day, they and the other new apprentices are challenged to survive their first night beyond Freestone’s wall. A surprise attack by the Dangers that lurk without almost leads to the loss of life—and to a royal command that Frond eliminate the threat of the Dangers. On the mission to find the crystal that would protect the city, Zed and Brock’s friendship becomes closer than ever even as their kinship within the Adventurer’s Guild is deepened. Told in alternating chapters from the third-person perspectives of the two main characters, this tale is a page-turner that has the perfect mix of suspense, Princess Bride humor, and engaging characters, one that’s definitely earned the sequel to come.

A dazzling adventure sure to become a classic, if not a movie. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-8801-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun

THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH

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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A sweet adventure and a paean to imagination and childhood innocence.

THE LAND OF ROAR

From the Land of Roar series , Vol. 1

A fantasy world comes to life and lures its young creators back into it in this imaginative middle-grade debut and U.K. import.

Narrator Arthur always loved playing make-believe in Grandad’s attic with his twin sister, Rose. Years ago they dreamed up Roar, a magical land that they entered via an old fold-up cot that acted as a portal. Now that they are 11 and starting school at Langdon Academy, Rose has new friends and wants nothing to do with her brother or their imaginary world. Rose may be done with Roar, but it’s not finished with her. When their grandfather is kidnapped and taken into Roar, Arthur and Rose must team up to mount a rescue mission. McLachlan does an excellent job of establishing the sibling tension before introducing the fantasy elements, and Rose’s desire to grow up and fit in feels as familiar and accessible as Arthur’s yearning to remain a child. While obviously reminiscent of classic fantasy, this narrative’s sheer inventiveness marks it as distinct. The twins’ widowed grandfather, a larger-than-life jokester from Mauritius, is a Peter Pan–like figure whose abduction brings the narrative into Roar, allowing the text and Mantle’s illustrations to go wild with creativity. The use of a wordless double-page spread to depict Arthur’s arrival into the fantasy realm is particularly inventive. Arthur and Rose are depicted as kids of color.

A sweet adventure and a paean to imagination and childhood innocence. (map) (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-298271-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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