In a lackluster fantasy set generations after a meteorite's fall, Jon, Lin, and Kyra escape a besieged city and hope for a fresh start in their Ancient Land. Avoiding packs of savage dogs and the descendants of plague survivors known as Fen, the threesome retrace the path their ancestors took long ago. Few of their encounters advance the plot or make a point, except, perhaps, on some vague symbolic level; the same could be said of the black-and- white illustrations, although these are evocative unto themselves. Myers (The Story of the Three Kingdoms, p. 540, etc.) is unusually careless with details: The refugees don't need much food beyond the narcotic sorpos fruit; Jon risks his life to steal a healing herb when Lin falls ill, but no mention is made of administering it; a dog killed on one page is only injured on the next. Kyra runs off to kill Fen while Jon and Lin try to befriend two of them, but since Fen characters and society haven't been developed, this intimacy is a surprise. Other fantasies in which verisimilitude is a low priority, such as Lois Lowry's The Giver (1993) or Gregory Maguire's I Feel Like The Morning Star (1989), compensate with passionate messages; here the lessons are buried beneath indifferent storytelling. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-590-45895-7

Page Count: 183

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1995

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


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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Witty repartee between the central characters, as well as the occasional well-done set piece, isn’t enough to hold this hefty debut together. Teenagers Seth and Kendra are dropped off by traveling parents at their grandfather’s isolated Connecticut estate, and soon discover why he’s so reluctant to have them—the place is a secret haven for magical creatures, both benign and decidedly otherwise. Those others are held in check by a complicated, unwritten and conveniently malleable Compact that is broken on Midsummer Eve, leaving everyone except Kendra captive in a hidden underground chamber with a newly released demon. Mull’s repeated use of the same device to prod the plot along comes off as more labored than comic: Over and over an adult issues a stern but vague warning; Seth ignores it; does some mischief and is sorry afterward. Sometimes Kendra joins in trying to head off her uncommonly dense brother. She comes into her own at the rousing climax, but that takes a long time to arrive; stick with Michael Buckley’s “Sisters Grimm” tales, which carry a similar premise in more amazing and amusing directions. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-59038-581-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2006

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