A fitting capstone to an epic adventure replete with monsters, huge explosions, clever twists, and just deserts.

THE MONSTER WAR

From the League of Seven series , Vol. 3

Seven young heroes, together at last and diverse in many ways, tackle armies of monsters as well as a cycle of warfare that has turned for thousands of years.

“League of Seven—full steam ahead!” In this headlong climax, Gratz adds the final two members to his intrepid band of world savers: tattooed, gray-skinned “science-pirate” Martine, whose synesthetic perceptions come in handy more than once; and Gonzalo, a blind young Texas Ranger with a talkative, intelligent raygun dubbed Señor X. Colorful as these and the other League members are, both in the story and in Helquist’s stylish portraits at each chapter’s head, the central figure remains Archie Dent, a superstrong lad snow-white of skin and hair and made from solid rock. Here, as previously, Archie’s internal struggles with rage and guilt parallel a string of awesomely destructive battles he and his allies have with the immortal Mangleborn and part-human Manglespawn led by tentacled archnemesis Philomena Moffett. Following a climactic battle at Gettysburg and a final dust-up with Moffett atop the great statue of Hiawatha in the harbor of New Rome (this is a very alternate, clockwork America), it only remains to expose the secret Septemberist Society, whose suppression of scientific research has misguidedly perpetuated the Mangleborn’s cyclical return down through the centuries.

A fitting capstone to an epic adventure replete with monsters, huge explosions, clever twists, and just deserts. (map) (Steampunk. 11-13)

Pub Date: July 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7653-3824-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Starscape/Tom Doherty

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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With so many top-notch writers on tap, it's surprising this collection is only solid rather than exquisite; still, those...

WHAT YOU WISH FOR

A BOOK FOR DARFUR

This charitable benefit anthology gathers all-stars for both hits and misses on the theme of wishing.

Twelve stories are accompanied by five poems and one warmly vivid graphic short. Francisco X. Stork introduces Pablito, Breaker-Breaker and Sherry B in a stellar tale of teens supporting one another in a group home. Sofia Quintero's "The Great Wall," about a Jamaican-American girl with a thing for the Chinese-food delivery guy, is entertaining enough to overcome its brick-to-the-head lack of subtlety. Meg Cabot's nerdy hero, seeking a friend, is heartbreakingly funny. The stories cover First World problems, far from the Sudanese refugees described in the saccharine foreword by Mia Farrow, but that distance only helps the collection. John Green's "Reasons" directly addresses some of the moral issues underlying the desire to rescue people from other countries in a thought-provoking piece about a boy in love with a sponsored Kashmiri child. Ann M. Martin's epistolary tale shows two girls with different sets of financial and social problems finding support in each other's friendship. As for the poetry, with offerings from Naomi Shihab Nye, Marilyn Nelson, Gary Soto and Nikki Giovanni, even these tiny verses are lovely.

With so many top-notch writers on tap, it's surprising this collection is only solid rather than exquisite; still, those readers willing to brave anthologies will be rewarded . (Anthology. 11-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25454-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Aug. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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NIGHT OF THE SOUL STEALER

From the Last Apprentice series , Vol. 3

The third and weakest episode in Delaney’s Last Apprentice series takes narrator Tom Ward, his secretive master Old Gregory and canny young witch Alice to winter quarters on bleak Anglezarke Moor where, thanks to massive contrivances, they survive encounters with three blood-sucking witches, a boggart or two and a necromancer out to raise one of the old gods. Along with offering supernatural threats that are both fewer and less dangerous than in previous volumes, Delaney injects his plot with artificial peril by repeatedly having his protagonists inexplicably lie or refuse to impart important information to one another. He then sets up the climax with a cruel deception that is not only ludicrously complicated, but out of character for the gruff but fundamentally decent Gregory, and closes with Tom’s newly widowed mother showing him chests of magic secrets that he’s forbidden to open for several months. Arrasmith’s dark chapter-head illustrations and appended “notebook” pages add atmosphere but not vitality to this limp, overlong outing. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-076624-5

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2007

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