A properly peculiar collection from Riggs.

TALES OF THE PECULIAR

From the Peculiar Children series , Vol. 0.5

In this special edition, fictive author Millard Nullings selects 10 tales from the many that have passed down through generations to instruct and inform those of the “peculiar persuasion.”

A prefatory warning that the contents are “strange, depressing, and altogether not to your liking,” not to mention “none of your business,” will surely cause wiser “normals” to steer clear. Those impetuous enough to join peculiar readers in proceeding, however, will find a number of affecting adventures. These lead off with a cautionary episode in which villagers who can regenerate body parts grow rich by selling limbs to cannibals but ultimately let greed overwhelm their better judgement. Later offerings include the origin of the first shape-changing Ymbryne, the story of an unloved lad who becomes a giant locust, and a tale of the long war between Londoners and pigeons over air rights. Clever tweaks (“we have a modest proposal for you,” says a cannibal in the opener) abound, and endings are mostly happy. The tales all feature full-page illustrations that look like finely worked wood engravings and offer glimpses of realistically depicted figures, major incidents, and eerie details. Specific descriptions of characters seldom enter in, aside from one dark-skinned seer of ghosts and a scaled princess, but names that range from Fergus and João to Héctor and Zheng hint at some diversity in the cast.

A properly peculiar collection from Riggs. (Short stories. 11-15)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-53853-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel,...

THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS

From the Girl of Fire and Thorns series , Vol. 1

Adventure drags our heroine all over the map of fantasyland while giving her the opportunity to use her smarts.

Elisa—Princess Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza of Orovalle—has been chosen for Service since the day she was born, when a beam of holy light put a Godstone in her navel. She's a devout reader of holy books and is well-versed in the military strategy text Belleza Guerra, but she has been kept in ignorance of world affairs. With no warning, this fat, self-loathing princess is married off to a distant king and is embroiled in political and spiritual intrigue. War is coming, and perhaps only Elisa's Godstone—and knowledge from the Belleza Guerra—can save them. Elisa uses her untried strategic knowledge to always-good effect. With a character so smart that she doesn't have much to learn, body size is stereotypically substituted for character development. Elisa’s "mountainous" body shrivels away when she spends a month on forced march eating rat, and thus she is a better person. Still, it's wonderfully refreshing to see a heroine using her brain to win a war rather than strapping on a sword and charging into battle.

Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel, reminiscent of Naomi Kritzer's Fires of the Faithful (2002), keeps this entry fresh. (Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-202648-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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