An action-packed, evocative portrayal of courage, friendship, and belonging.

KIKI KALLIRA BREAKS A KINGDOM

Indian folklore meets fantasy adventure in this captivating novel.

Eleven-year-old Kritika “Kiki” Kallira lives in London with her Mum, an immigrant from the state of Karnataka in the south of India; she’s never met her father, who died before she was born. Kiki’s mother is an animator, and Kiki, who struggles with anxiety and spiraling, obsessive thoughts, finds solace in sketching in her notebooks and imagining stories, especially ones inspired by the Hindu mythology they’ve shared. Now, though, Kiki has unleashed the Asura king Mahishasura from his exile through the drawings in her sketchbook. As she travels and travails between London and Mysore, the heroes and demons she’s sketched come to life, and she is faced with seemingly insurmountable tasks and complex obstacles. In her quest to save the world, Kiki shows readers the power of asking for help, believing in oneself, and overcoming fear. The worldbuilding is full of vibrant images and detailed descriptions about Mahishasura’s kingdom and palace, Lalith Mahal. The novel draws inspiration primarily from the story of Mahishasura—who wanted to be immortal—and how he was defeated by the goddess Chamundeshwari. Anxiety and mental health are also explored with honesty and finesse; many young readers will resonate with her struggle to quiet demons both internal and external.

An action-packed, evocative portrayal of courage, friendship, and belonging. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-20697-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2021

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If not as effervescent as Roz’s first outing, it is still a provocatively contemplative one.

THE WILD ROBOT ESCAPES

Roz, a robot who learned to adapt to life among wild creatures in her first outing, seeks to return to the island she calls home.

Brown’s sequel to The Wild Robot (2016) continues an intriguing premise: What would happen to a robot after challenges in an unexpected environment cause it to evolve in unusual ways? As this book opens, Roz is delivered to a farm where she helps a widower with two young children run a dairy operation that has been in his family for generations. Roz reveals her backstory to the cows, who are supportive of the robot’s determination to return to the island and to her adopted son, the goose Brightbill. The cows, the children, and finally Brightbill himself come to Roz’s aid. The focus on Roz’s escape from human control results in a somewhat solemn and episodic narrative, with an extended journey and chase after Roz leaves the farm. Dr. Molovo, a literal deus ex machina, appears near the end of the story to provide a means of rescue. She is Roz’s designer/creator, and, intrigued by the robot’s adaptation and evolution but cognizant of the threat that those achievements might represent to humans, she assists Roz and Brightbill in their quest. The satisfactory (if inevitable-feeling) conclusion may prompt discussion about individual agency and determination, whether for robots or people.

If not as effervescent as Roz’s first outing, it is still a provocatively contemplative one. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-38204-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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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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