THE FEROS

From the Vindico series , Vol. 2

The lukewarm sequel to the tepid supervillain series opener The Vindico (2012) underwhelms.

The five former protégés of the villainous Vindico have only two more months of life among the ordinary before at last being allowed to join the League of Heroes. The kids find their time in the doldrums cut short when they are attacked by a splinter group of the League—what gives?—and one of them, computer-genius Emily, is kidnapped by a mysterious third party who controls a team of superpowered Wraiths. Could her abduction be connected to the recent disappearances of League members? James, Lana, Sam and Hayden travel from one superbase to another in search of their friend, leaving a trail of wreckage in their wake as they fend off rebel Heroes, Wraiths and the Vindico, who are, predictably enough, released from their imprisonment to join the fray. King’s sequel suffers from the same flaws that characterized the first book: bland protagonists, double and triple crosses that don’t do anything but move the plot from point A to point B, less-than-compelling motivations behind the various villains’ actions, overwrought dialogue and clumsy exposition. Readers new to the series will be lost in a thicket of comic-book names and superpowers, and even those familiar with the first book may find keeping track of the expanding cast a challenge.

Ultimately forgettable. (Adventure. 10-14)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25655-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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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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TRASH

In an unnamed country (a thinly veiled Philippines), three teenage boys pick trash for a meager living. A bag of cash in the trash might be—well, not their ticket out of poverty but at least a minor windfall. With 1,100 pesos, maybe they can eat chicken occasionally, instead of just rice. Gardo and Raphael are determined not to give any of it to the police who've been sniffing around, so they enlist their friend Rat. In alternating and tightly paced points of view, supplemented by occasional other voices, the boys relate the intrigue in which they're quickly enmeshed. A murdered houseboy, an orphaned girl, a treasure map, a secret code, corrupt politicians and 10,000,000 missing dollars: It all adds up to a cracker of a thriller. Sadly, the setting relies on Third World poverty tourism for its flavor, as if this otherwise enjoyable caper were being told by Olivia, the story's British charity worker who muses with vacuous sentimentality on the children that "break your heart" and "change your life." Nevertheless, a zippy and classic briefcase-full-of-money thrill ride. (Thriller. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-385-75214-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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