Unquestionably readable, full of action and suspense.

SURVIVAL OP

THE FEAR IN THE WILDERNESS

An intensely readable yet alarmingly violent cross between TV shows Lost and Survivor.

In book one of this series, Marcus, a runaway, is kidnapped and taken to an island in the Bermuda Triangle where a government-sponsored experiment is supposedly under way to measure how bodies react to extreme pressures in a hostile environment. Wounded 13-year-old Lynn is also trapped in the frightening wilderness surrounded by electrified fences. The teens are told they will be hunted and killed, but they adjust amazingly fast, finding water and shelter and creating weapons. When Lynn is apparently killed, Marcus becomes obsessed with vengeance and uses great ingenuity to murder many mysterious agents. He does capture one, however, who is willing to cooperate, and the two are helped by an unseen yet terrifying monster that remains one of the island’s greatest unexplained mysteries. The strange island, hostiles, traps, dangerous boars and experimenting on humans are all reminiscent of Lost; the need for companionship, shelter, food and weapons remind one of Survivor. A few details detract from the storyline throughout, such as whether the captured agent would so quickly become an ally or that Marcus would know how to build grenades and bombs so easily. Abrupt shifts between first and third person are also quite jarring. Despite these pitfalls, readers will root for Marcus and his crew to prevail over the sinister Survival Op staff, and the story concludes with plenty of plot threads to explore in further editions.

Unquestionably readable, full of action and suspense.

Pub Date: March 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-595-42062-9

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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THE BANISHED

In a prequel to The Ice Bear (1986), Siri’s people live in the frozen Starkland settlement, residing peacefully with the primitive Furfolk, who communicate by whuffles and grunts. Siri’s Uncle Thorvald plans to convince the king to rescind their people’s banishment to that remote arctic isle with the gift of an ice bear and its cubs. To do this he needs the help of his friend, a Furfolk man, who can handle the bear on the long sea journey; Siri accompanies them disguised as one of the Furfolk man’s children. But when the king insists that the Furfolk man stay with the bear, Thorvald is forced to betray his friend for the sake of his people, while Siri chooses to betray Thorvald for her new Furfolk friends. Her allegiances have shifted during the course of the journey, and in the end it is left unclear whether her people will try to destroy the Furfolk, and what Siri can do to stop them. This complex, atmospheric morality tale offers no easy answers, and takes place in a world that is alien and exotic. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 1999

ISBN: 0-688-16602-4

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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A fast-paced, satisfying capper to a trilogy that’s sure to enchant fans of adventure-driven fantasy.

THE RAVEN GOD

LEGENDS OF ORKNEY

Sam and his brave friends must rally to defend Orkney in the final installment of Adams’ (The Red Sun, 2015, etc.) YA fantasy series.

Thirteen-year-old Sam has settled into his “witch-boy” life in Orkney, still wracked with guilt that he killed his father, the powerful god Odin, while under the sway of another. When Odin’s wife, Queen Frigga, appears, she carries the message that Odin is in the dangerous underworld and that he must be found—fast. His death has torn the veil protecting Orkney, and the mischief-maker Loki is stirring up civil war in a plot to seek revenge on Odin for cursing his wife and children. But the quest will not be easy: Sam will need his imp friend, Mavery; the spunky witch, Perrin; and his friends Leo, Howie, and Keely if he’s going to accept the challenge. As Orkney prepares for an attack from Surt, lord of the fire world, Sam is given a toy ship that holds more magic than it appears; meanwhile, Keely must convince a king that his people need not go to war, while Howie finds ways to be clever as he stays behind to defend Orkney. The shape-shifting Loki impedes them at every turn, and Sam will be asked to make sacrifices, test his memory, and, above all, forgive himself (“I’m just a kid who found himself making all kinds of mistakes before he figured out who he was”). The overarching feud between Odin and Loki makes a nice framework for a novel that sprawls across multiple worlds, characters, and adventures. Witty dialogue keeps the story buoyant, and there’s also thoughtful worldbuilding, with every colorful setting making the fictional universe more fully realized. There’s also no shortage of captivating magic, from spells to powerful pendants, as well as a variety of mythical creatures. More than 20 characters appear in the first 50 pages, though, so readers should tackle the first two novels in the trilogy first—especially if they want to savor the emotionally tender ending.

A fast-paced, satisfying capper to a trilogy that’s sure to enchant fans of adventure-driven fantasy.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943006-36-6

Page Count: 344

Publisher: SparkPress

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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