A rare tale that values brains over brawn—light, bright, and handsomely tricked out.

ODD AND THE FROST GIANTS

Lavish use of black and silver ink, plus Riddell’s larger-than-life figures, adds swash aplenty to this new edition of Gaiman’s 2009 spin on a Norse myth, originally illustrated by Brett Helquist.

The whimsical story remains as it was: a crushed leg banishes half-Scottish Odd from his Viking village but proves no handicap to freeing Asgard from an aggrieved Frost Giant’s siege and enchantments. Posed at start and finish in a flowing cape with a thin braid hanging stylishly past one ear, the white lad cuts an intrepid figure in the pictures amid sundry gods transformed into animals, lissome maidens and goddesses, huge and hairy giants with truly heroic schnozzes, and magnificent Nordic battlements. These are all rendered in pen and ink with microscopic precision and are generally placed within broad, shiny, decorated borders. As far as the text is concerned, there is nothing to choose between this and the earlier edition. Still, Riddell fans, Gaiman completists, and general readers fond of the similarly formatted The Sleeper and the Spindle (2015) will pick it up.

A rare tale that values brains over brawn—light, bright, and handsomely tricked out. (Fantasy. 8 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-256795-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2016

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Rich and strange (and kitted out with an eye-catching cover), but stronger in the set pieces than the internal logic.

THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL

From the School for Good and Evil series , Vol. 1

Chainani works an elaborate sea change akin to Gregory Maguire’s Wicked (1995), though he leaves the waters muddied.

Every four years, two children, one regarded as particularly nice and the other particularly nasty, are snatched from the village of Gavaldon by the shadowy School Master to attend the divided titular school. Those who survive to graduate become major or minor characters in fairy tales. When it happens to sweet, Disney princess–like Sophie and  her friend Agatha, plain of features, sour of disposition and low of self-esteem, they are both horrified to discover that they’ve been dropped not where they expect but at Evil and at Good respectively. Gradually—too gradually, as the author strings out hundreds of pages of Hogwarts-style pranks, classroom mishaps and competitions both academic and romantic—it becomes clear that the placement wasn’t a mistake at all. Growing into their true natures amid revelations and marked physical changes, the two spark escalating rivalry between the wings of the school. This leads up to a vicious climactic fight that sees Good and Evil repeatedly switching sides. At this point, readers are likely to feel suddenly left behind, as, thanks to summary deus ex machina resolutions, everything turns out swell(ish).

Rich and strange (and kitted out with an eye-catching cover), but stronger in the set pieces than the internal logic. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: May 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-210489-2

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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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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