Passionate, thought-provoking, and riotously funny.

FORCE OF FIRE

From the Kingdom Beyond series , Vol. 2

In a world where serpents have colonized humans and demon rakkhosh alike, fire rakkhoshi Pinki goes on a quest for belonging and freedom.

This follow-up to The Serpent’s Secret (2018) returns readers to the fantastical land of the Kingdom Beyond Seven Oceans and Thirteen Rivers. Despite being the daughter of legendary freedom fighters, Pinki is not sure she can identify with the rakkhosh resistance. She also doesn’t have any friends, something made worse by the fact that she cannot control her powers, sometimes wreaking havoc. When she accidentally sets fire to her school, a humiliated Pinki is persuaded by the evil serpent prince Sesha to steal moonbeams from the Moon Mother that he claims will power a superweapon and defeat the resistance. In exchange for this treachery, Sesha offers Pinki control over her powers. Pinki’s quest to help Sesha and control her own fire leads her to befriend several interesting people, including Moon Maiden Chandni. Ultimately, the reluctant heroine must decide where she belongs in her people’s fight for independence from the snakes. DasGupta’s carefully crafted characters are convincing, and the fast-paced narrative will keep readers thoroughly engaged. The novel draws inspiration from Bengali folktales, Hindu epics, and India’s fight for independence from the British; most importantly, it highlights the innate power of linguistic and cultural diversity and heritage.

Passionate, thought-provoking, and riotously funny. (author's note) (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-63664-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun

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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 worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship.

LEGACY AND THE DOUBLE

From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

A young tennis champion becomes the target of revenge.

In this sequel to Legacy and the Queen (2019), Legacy Petrin and her friends Javi and Pippa have returned to Legacy’s home province and the orphanage run by her father. With her friends’ help, she is in training to defend her championship when they discover that another player, operating under the protection of High Consul Silla, is presenting herself as Legacy. She is so convincing that the real Legacy is accused of being an imitation. False Legacy has become a hero to the masses, further strengthening Silla’s hold, and it becomes imperative to uncover and defeat her. If Legacy is to win again, she must play her imposter while disguised as someone else. Winning at tennis is not just about money and fame, but resisting Silla’s plans to send more young people into brutal mines with little hope of better lives. Legacy will have to overcome her fears and find the magic that allowed her to claim victory in the past. This story, with its elements of sports, fantasy, and social consciousness that highlight tensions between the powerful and those they prey upon, successfully continues the series conceived by late basketball superstar Bryant. As before, the tennis matches are depicted with pace and spirit. Legacy and Javi have brown skin; most other characters default to White.

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949520-19-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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