THUNDER OVER KANDAHAR

This suspenseful tale of two young women on their own in modern Afghanistan makes riveting reading. Having spent most of her 14 years in England, bookish Yasmine chafes at the restrictions forced on her when her idealistic, university-educated parents bring her to a secluded village. Though Yasmine does meet Tamanna, a friendly young neighbor, she is confined to the house and, until Taliban ruffians arrive to shut it down, a newly built school. Then both of Yasmine’s parents are shot in a drive-by and evacuated to Kandahar, leaving her—and Tamanna, whose brutal uncle has tried and failed to sell her into marriage—in serious danger. They resolve on a desperate stratagem, slipping away not toward Kandahar as their pursuers would expect, but cross country to the Pakistan border. Well stocked with credible cultural detail and enhanced by black-and-white chapter-head photos, their high-tension odyssey leads to a violent climax and an aftermath marked by surprising twists. Readers will be caught up—though it's so misanthropic that many will wonder how anyone, especially women, could tolerate living in that country. (glossary, timeline) (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-55451-267-6

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2010

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Plenty of sword work and old-style action-adventure, with the occasional clever spin.

UNDER THE MOONS OF MARS

NEW ADVENTURES ON BARSOOM

Fourteen swashbuckling new adventures extend the exploits of John Carter and his descendants on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ version of the Red Planet.

Poised to catch any wave of interest (or at least publicity) that may come along with the release of the film John Carter, the collection features the eponymous Civil War vet and other characters from the original series facing a typical array of multi-legged monsters, multi-armed warriors, defeated adversaries rising again and weird remnants of ancient science. Highlights include: Tarzan walk-ons in stories by Peter S. Beagle and S.M. Stirling; an account of a drunken thoat-lifting contest in Garth Nix’s hilarious “Sidekick of Mars” that somehow never made it into the canon; a tale from Chris Claremont that transplants Carter, Dejah Thoris and Tars Tarkas to Jasoom (Earth); and the valedictory “Death Song of Dwar Guntha,” (Jonathan Maberry) about one last great battle before planet-wide peace breaks out. Written in prose that evokes the sweep of the originals (“And as the moons sailed through the black ocean of the sky, John Carter, Warlord of all Barsoom, sang of the last charge of the great Free Riders. And such a tale it was….”) and with a full page image of a well-armed (in more ways than one), often scantily clad figure in each, these pay fitting tribute to a gifted pulp writer.

Plenty of sword work and old-style action-adventure, with the occasional clever spin. (foreword by Tamora Pierce, story introductions, author bios, Barsoomian Gazetteer) (Science fiction short stories. 11-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2029-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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In the spirit of Jane Yolen's The Devil's Arithmetic (1988), with a mix of historical details about the women's-suffrage...

BLUE THREAD

Travels in time give a middle-class girl the courage to fight for both women's suffrage and her own dreams.

Sixteen-year-old Miriam, lover of typography, wants nothing more than to train at her father's print shop. But respectable, well-to-do girls don't work with heavy machinery in 1912 Portland, Ore. Miriam's immigrant Jewish parents, proud of the future they've built from poverty, intend an advantageous marriage for their only living child. If befriending a lovely pair of poor young suffragists isn't enough to make Miriam rebel, what is? Perhaps time travel is what she needs. Miriam is visited by her biblical relative, Serakh, who begs Miriam to travel back in time to help her ancestors. The daughters of Zelophehad seek a favor from Moses, and Miriam is needed to provide them with courage. Miriam pops back and forth between worlds: well-to-do Portland, where she makes morning calls and attends fancy-dress parties; biblical Moab; and the equally exotic, alien environment of suffragist marches and working-class neighborhoods. It takes all three to help her find the initiative, empathy and common sense to help push her toward adulthood.

In the spirit of Jane Yolen's The Devil's Arithmetic (1988), with a mix of historical details about the women's-suffrage movement and early printing, tied together with a very Jewish thread of historical continuity . (Historical fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-932010-41-1

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Ooligan Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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