This will leave fans enthralled and clamoring for more.

ARU SHAH AND THE SONG OF DEATH

From the Pandava Quintet series , Vol. 2

The second book in the Pandava Quartet begins with Aru Shah and her best friend, Mini, in an enchanted shopping center fending off zombies.

Someone has stolen the god of love’s enchanted bow and arrow, and they are using it to turn innocent humans into (literally) heartless, zombielike fighting machines. To make matters worse, Aru gets framed as the thief. The council of gods and Uloopi, the naga queen, give the two Pandavas an ultimatum: find and defeat the real thief in 10 days’ time or be exiled from the Otherworld forever. Aru and Mini unite with two other heroes—a new Pandava sister, Brynne Rao, and her best friend, Aiden Acharya—to save the world from mass destruction. On their numerous adventures in the Otherworld, from a giant-swan attack to their journey to the Ocean of Milk, Aru contemplates difficult questions about what it means to be good or evil, the role of duty, and the power of a good story. In this sequel to Aru Shah and the End of Time(2018), Chokshi seamlessly weaves Indian cosmology and pop culture into a refreshingly feminist plot laced with witty dialogue. The most compelling feature of the novel, however, is the complexity of its characters, who, despite their divinity or semidivinity, are at their core very human.

This will leave fans enthralled and clamoring for more. (Fantasy. 10-13)

Pub Date: April 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-01384-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents/Disney

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

Series fans, at least, will take this outing (and clear evidence of more to come) in stride.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE REVOLTING REVENGE OF THE RADIOACTIVE ROBO-BOXERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 10

Zipping back and forth in time atop outsized robo–bell bottoms, mad inventor Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) legs his way to center stage in this slightly less-labored continuation of episode 9.

The action commences after a rambling recap and a warning not to laugh or smile on pain of being forced to read Sarah Plain and Tall. Pilkey first sends his peevish protagonist back a short while to save the Earth (destroyed in the previous episode), then on to various prehistoric eras in pursuit of George, Harold and the Captain. It’s all pretty much an excuse for many butt jokes, dashes of off-color humor (“Tippy pressed the button on his Freezy-Beam 4000, causing it to rise from the depths of his Robo-Pants”), a lengthy wordless comic and two tussles in “Flip-o-rama.” Still, the chase kicks off an ice age, the extinction of the dinosaurs and the Big Bang (here the Big “Ka-Bloosh!”). It ends with a harrowing glimpse of what George and Harold would become if they decided to go straight. The author also chucks in a poopy-doo-doo song with musical notation (credited to Albert P. Einstein) and plenty of ink-and-wash cartoon illustrations to crank up the ongoing frenzy.

Series fans, at least, will take this outing (and clear evidence of more to come) in stride. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-17536-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

more