THE HANGMAN'S REVOLUTION

From the W.A.R.P. series , Vol. 2

Undoing the catastrophically altered present wrought in The Reluctant Assassin (2013) requires further immersion (not just figuratively) in Victorian London’s noxious stews for teenage, time-traveling special agent Chevron Savano.

Mad Col. Clayton Box has founded a nearly worldwide ecclesiastical police state in the 19th century with 20th-century troops and weaponry transported back in time. In order to nip this in the bud, Chevie plunges once again through a wormhole into the great, filthy city’s thick miasmas and cobbled mean streets. Along with describing with indecent relish the fetid slums and sewers in which most of the action takes place, Colfer outfits Chevie with a Dickensian supporting cast. It’s led by Riley, a street child trained up as an assassin, and larger-than-life crime lord Otto Malarkey, among others. The plot consists of a quick and, usually, violent series of escapades that culminates in an assault on Box’s underground fortress. The bad guys are both clever and heavily armed, and there’s much casual murder and wading through hip-deep rivers of raw sewage, along with gunfire, massive explosions and unlikely romance. Time travel makes the future a fluid reality, but it looks like it may be saved at the end, though some strings remain to be tied up—or further tangled—in upcoming sequels. Chevie is of Shawnee lineage, leading her confederates to make the occasional, unfortunate “Injun” reference, alas. A grand yarn told with a wink and kitted out with high stakes and broadly drawn characters for maximum fun. (Science fiction. 11-14)

 

Pub Date: June 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-6163-9

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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

THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS

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

LEGEND

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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