King Arthur, were he dead, might spin in his grave, but Rex brings his cereal serial to a close with snap, crackle and pop...

CHAMPIONS OF BREAKFAST

From the Cold Cereal Saga series , Vol. 3

Sorceress Nimue’s mad scheme to transport the Seelie Court to New Jersey with help from swarms of breakfast-cereal sugar zombies comes to fruition in this capper to the Cold Cereal Saga.

Readers are best advised not to start with this episode. Picking up the multistranded plot roughly where it left off in Unlucky Charms (2013), Rex sends one band of doughty heroes off to face the pink but deadly dragon Saxbriton and another to bring the rescued, if now-miniature, queen of England back to this world despite such challenges as a monstrous “ronopolisk” whose “mere glance can turn a man to stoat!” Meanwhile, a third group falls (back) into the clutches of the sinister sorceress, and a fourth that includes pixie princes Fee, Fi, Fo and Denzil take on a troll guarding a gateway to magical Pretannica. None of these efforts ultimately prevent Nimue from opening a massive rift that threatens to destroy more than just the Garden State, but a climactic scramble at the Goodco cereal factory leads to a dramatic if messy save in which Merlin, Excalibur and its long-lost scabbard figure prominently.

King Arthur, were he dead, might spin in his grave, but Rex brings his cereal serial to a close with snap, crackle and pop aplenty. (plethora of illustrations not seen) (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-206008-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2013

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THE EMPEROR OF NIHON-JA

From the Ranger's Apprentice series , Vol. 10

The 10th and final full-length episode in an alternate-Earth series that's just about reached its sell-by date unites the five members of the central cast in yet another rescue mission to a distant land. This time its a thinly disguised medieval Japan, where bluff young warrior Horace has been swept up in the entourage accompanying a kindly emperor who is on the run from a vicious usurper. Thanks to a sequence of massive coincidences, he is soon joined in a remote mountain fortress by Rangers Will (who graduated from "apprentice" about five volumes ago) and his crusty mentor Halt, plus temperamental Princess Evanlyn and her spunky frenemy Alyss. While the usurper and his forces obligingly winter nearby, the menfolk train a peasant army for the true emperor while Evanlyn and Alyss set out to recruit more allies and have an air-clearing heart-to-heart about who really loves whom. By the end battles are won, bad guys slain, feasts held and everyone heads home for weddings and further adventures. The "keep it simple" approach has served Flanagan—and readers who prefer predictable plots and easily recognizable settings and character types—well, but the formula has staled. "The Final Battle" blazoned on the cover indicates a recognition of this fact, though loose ends leave open the possibility of further, as-yet-unplanned developments. Here's hoping a break will restore zing to future adventures. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25500-7

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011

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A massive explosion at the end only sets that evil scheme back a bit; stay tuned for further strange and exhilarating...

COLD CEREAL

From the Cold Cereal Saga series , Vol. 1

A motley assortment of human experimental subjects and faerie exiles take on a New Jersey cereal company run by eldritch management for nefarious purposes.

With an off-the-wall sensibility that fans of the author’s True Meaning of Smekday (2007) will recognize with delight, Rex kicks off a planned trilogy. He brings together sixth-grade outsider Scottish Play Doe (an actor’s son, surprise), young genius Erno Utz and his even brighter supposed twin Emily, a crusty old leprechaun and like unconventional allies to be hunted by agents of the huge Goodco Cereal Company—producers of Burlap Crisp™, Honey Frosted Snox™. These and similar products enjoy a wild popularity that can be ascribed to the literal truth of the company motto: “There’s a Little Bit of Magic in Every Box!” The author tucks in portrait illustrations and hilariously odd TV-commercial storyboards, along with a hooded Secret Society, figures from Arthurian legend, magical spells and potions, a certain amount of violence, many wonderful throwaway lines (“Yeh may have a tarnished glamour about yeh, sure. Like a celebrity’s daughter.”) and tests of character with often surprising outcomes. All in all, it’s a mad scramble that culminates in the revelation of a dastardly plot that will require sequels to foil.

A massive explosion at the end only sets that evil scheme back a bit; stay tuned for further strange and exhilarating developments. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-206002-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011

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