Compelling magical fare for early teens.


From the Color Theory series , Vol. 1

An orphan and a loner, Ava Locke studies and hopes to become a Benefactor like her mentor, Selene, protecting the land of Magus against Mentalists.

Seventeen-year-old Ava is a top student at Prism, one of Magus’ elite schools, where they teach Shapers (Blue magic users) and Augmentors (Red magic users). In the past, Prism also taught Yellow magic users, or Mentalists, until they began abusing mind control. Since then, Yellow magic has been forbidden. Ava is troubled that the school teaches nothing about Yellow magic: How can she fight the unknown? When Ava meets gallant Elm, a Mentalist, she knows she should turn him in, but she can’t resist the possibility of learning about Yellow magic from him. Thus begins her alliance with Elm, setting both of them in opposition to Selene and the Benefactors. Slowly dawning realizations are limited to narrator Ava’s perspective, and the action is largely centered on her internal struggle. Ava questions whether Mentalists are inherently evil, and as she helps Elm dismantle devices created by the Benefactors to control public perception, she learns that the Benefactors are abusing their power. She also recovers memories about her parents. This first book in a new series is focused on worldbuilding and introducing the default White cast. The innocent romance between Ava and Elm and the hint of a battle to come will hook readers for the next installment.

Compelling magical fare for early teens. (Fantasy. 12-15)

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-62184-230-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Enclave Escape

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel,...


From the Girl of Fire and Thorns series , Vol. 1

Adventure drags our heroine all over the map of fantasyland while giving her the opportunity to use her smarts.

Elisa—Princess Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza of Orovalle—has been chosen for Service since the day she was born, when a beam of holy light put a Godstone in her navel. She's a devout reader of holy books and is well-versed in the military strategy text Belleza Guerra, but she has been kept in ignorance of world affairs. With no warning, this fat, self-loathing princess is married off to a distant king and is embroiled in political and spiritual intrigue. War is coming, and perhaps only Elisa's Godstone—and knowledge from the Belleza Guerra—can save them. Elisa uses her untried strategic knowledge to always-good effect. With a character so smart that she doesn't have much to learn, body size is stereotypically substituted for character development. Elisa’s "mountainous" body shrivels away when she spends a month on forced march eating rat, and thus she is a better person. Still, it's wonderfully refreshing to see a heroine using her brain to win a war rather than strapping on a sword and charging into battle.

Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel, reminiscent of Naomi Kritzer's Fires of the Faithful (2002), keeps this entry fresh. (Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-202648-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes


From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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