Epic in deed and scope and a-bustle with larger-than-life characters, this retelling of the Iliad will rivet both readers...

THE ADVENTURES OF ACHILLES

Two veteran storytellers give one of mythology’s greatest warriors his due in a narrative rich in drama, tragedy, intense emotion and heroic feats of arms.

Thoroughly recast from an award-winning audio version (2004; included with the hardcover edition), this companion to the authors’ Adventures of Odysseus (illustrated by Christina Balit, 2006) retells the classic tale of Achilles’ meteoric career in staccato, muscular prose. “He was fed on the marrow of bears to make him strong, the guts of lions to make him fierce, and the milk of deer to make him swift.” Stylized border and panel paintings of gods and mortals seen in profile or posed groups are reminiscent of figures on ancient Greek vases. The profound attachment between Achilles and Patroclus (begun during the former’s five-year stint disguised as a woman and ending with their ashes mingled in the same funerary urn) forms the emotional centerpiece of the tale. Otherwise, veiled behind lines like “they took their delight of one another,” the sex among the large cast of gods and mortals is less explicit than the battle action before and within Troy’s walls. Echoes of Homeric language can be found in references to Zeus, the “Cloud Compeller,” “ox-eyed Hera” and the like. Despite its particular focus on Achilles, this compelling narrative delivers a reasonably complete picture of the Trojan War’s causes, course and violent end.

Epic in deed and scope and a-bustle with larger-than-life characters, this retelling of the Iliad will rivet both readers and listening audiences. (bibliography) (Folktale/mythology. 11-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-84686-420-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Barefoot Books

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish.

THE MECHANICAL MIND OF JOHN COGGIN

The dreary prospect of spending a lifetime making caskets instead of wonderful inventions prompts a young orphan to snatch up his little sister and flee. Where? To the circus, of course.

Fortunately or otherwise, John and 6-year-old Page join up with Boz—sometime human cannonball for the seedy Wandering Wayfarers and a “vertically challenged” trickster with a fantastic gift for sowing chaos. Alas, the budding engineer barely has time to settle in to begin work on an experimental circus wagon powered by chicken poop and dubbed (with questionable forethought) the Autopsy. The hot pursuit of malign and indomitable Great-Aunt Beauregard, the Coggins’ only living relative, forces all three to leave the troupe for further flights and misadventures. Teele spins her adventure around a sturdy protagonist whose love for his little sister is matched only by his fierce desire for something better in life for them both and tucks in an outstanding supporting cast featuring several notably strong-minded, independent women (Page, whose glare “would kill spiders dead,” not least among them). Better yet, in Boz she has created a scene-stealing force of nature, a free spirit who’s never happier than when he’s stirring up mischief. A climactic clutch culminating in a magnificently destructive display of fireworks leaves the Coggin sibs well-positioned for bright futures. (Illustrations not seen.)

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish. (Adventure. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234510-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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A thrilling conclusion to a beautifully crafted, heart-stopping trilogy.

THRIVE

From the Overthrow series , Vol. 3

This is the moment teens Seth, Anaya, and Petra have both been anticipating and dreading ever since aliens called cryptogens began attempting to colonize the Earth: the chance to defend their planet.

In an earlier volume, Seth, Anaya, and Petra began growing physical characteristics that made them realize they were half alien. Seth has wings, Petra has a tail, and Anaya has fur. They also have the power of telepathy, which Anaya uses to converse with Terra, a cryptogen rebel looking for human allies who could help stop the invasion of Earth. Terra plans to use a virus stored in the three teens’ bodies to disarm the flyers, which are the winged aliens that are both masterminding the invasion and enslaving the other species of cryptogens known as swimmers and runners. But Terra and her allies can’t pull any of this off without the help of Anaya, Seth, and Petra. Although the trio is anxious about their abilities, they don’t have much of a choice—the entire human race is depending on them for salvation. Like its predecessors, this trilogy closer is fast-paced and well structured. Despite its post-apocalyptic setting, the story is fundamentally character driven, and it is incredibly satisfying to watch each protagonist overcome their inner battles within the context of the larger human-alien war. Main characters read as White.

A thrilling conclusion to a beautifully crafted, heart-stopping trilogy. (Science fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984894-80-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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