Important, engrossing, and altogether necessary.

CITY OF ILLUSION

From the City of Secrets series , Vol. 2

Is unity possible in a nation divided?

In this follow-up to City of Secrets (2020), best friends Hannah and Ever are visiting the nearby city of Alexios, a place that “specializes in illusions.” Each city in their world is rumored to have its own giant robot called a Megantic; Hannah and Ever found their city’s Megantic, naming it Oskar after their home. While they must leave Oskar during their travels, Hannah brings along his voice-activated remote in case of emergency. While in Alexios, the pair have an encounter with a mysterious street magician named Chifa and her companion, Tanan, whom they learn are working for Vash, their power-hungry nemesis, who wants control of all the Megantics for his own nefarious doings. While Vash craves absolute power, Hannah and Ever know that working together may be their only hope; can they convince Chifa and her gang to align with them before it’s too late? Ying’s command of story and dazzling art come to life in this intricately woven tale that deftly incorporates secret societies, giant robot fights, spies, magic, and the power of acceptance without ever feeling bogged down. While the steampunk setting calls to a bygone era, the messaging is exceptionally contemporary. Her cast of characters is diverse; main characters Hannah and Ever present with Asian features.

Important, engrossing, and altogether necessary. (Graphic fantasy. 7-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11451-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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A gripping, atmospheric tale of sorcery, secrets, and sisterhood, infused with the titular pinch of magic.

A PINCH OF MAGIC

From the Pinch of Magic series , Vol. 1

When an ancient curse threatens her life and the lives of her sisters, Betty Widdershins seeks a way to break it.

Adventurous, 13-year-old Betty and her two sisters—Fliss, elder, and Charlie, younger—all live on the island of Crowstone in a decrepit village inn operated by their grandmother Bunny, who has always been strangely reluctant to let her granddaughters go anywhere. After Betty’s abortive attempt to surreptitiously leave Crowstone, Bunny reveals the family secret: All Widdershins girls have been under a curse for over 150 years. If one ever leaves Crowstone, she will die by the next sunset. Bunny gives Fliss a mirror, Betty nesting dolls, and Charlie a traveling bag, each containing a different magical power, to use if they need to hide or escape quickly. Intent on altering their fate, the sisters accidentally trigger the curse by leaving Crowstone while helping a young stranger escape from prison. For heroine Betty, who has “spent her life wishing for bigger things,” the imminent threat of losing her sisters proves life-changing. Facing death by the end of the day, Betty must rely on the magical objects, her sisters, and clever thinking to uncover the origins of the Widdershins curse while simultaneously confronting a rapid-fire series of perilous plot twists, betrayals, and shocking revelations in an effort to remake her family history. Betty and her family appear to be white.

A gripping, atmospheric tale of sorcery, secrets, and sisterhood, infused with the titular pinch of magic. (map) (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-19331-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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