Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Lots of fantasy

Stone, Nic. Shuri: A Black Panther Novel
May 5th 2020 by Scholastic Inc.
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Shuri is hard at work on a new suit for her brother, T'Challa, the Black Panther and king of the isolated kingdom of Wakanda. Things are not going the way she would like; she can't find a good combination of fabric and Vibranium to make the suit fit better AND protect her brother. She also has to put up with the demands of her mother, who wants her to act like a proper princess and go to council meetings wearing a dress. There's also K'Marah, the annoying "friend" her mother has foisted on her. When Shuri finds out that the plant used for the ritual challenge is dying at a horribly fast rate, she makes plans to find out why and get some assistance. Of course, her mother is against this, so she tries to sneak out. Unfortunately, K'Marah follows as well. The two girls head to Kenya, where they meet Queen Ororo and ask for her help. In order to do more research, the group heads to London, where they also meet up with the White Wolf, Dr. Selvig, and other super heroes. As the threat to Wakanda and to T'Challa grows, Shuri tries to perfect a suit for him, help the plants that are dying, and return to her country to help out.
Strengths: I loved Shuri's devotion to science and technology, as well as her dedication to helping her brother and her country. She is aware that she could one day be the Black Panther, even though there has never been a woman who has held the position. I'm not sure how closely this follows the Marvel canon on this character, but it seems like this is a fairly recent story line, and since it is published by Marvel it must have their blessing. Stone's writing is always great, and I love seeing fantasy books that aren't just reworkings of Anglo-Saxon tales like The Hobbit.
Weaknesses: Shuri could take some lessons from Queen Elizabeth about doing her duty and occasionally wearing a dress without fighting about it with her mother. Clearly an adult viewpoint, not one from the target demographic, clearly. Some of us think that skirts and dresses are more comfortable than skin tight, low riding jeans, after all!
What I really think: I'll buy this, since this author and the Ronald L. Smith Black Panther: The Young Prince book circulate well, but there was a LOT I didn't understand about what was going on, since I'm not familiar with the Marvel canon.

Oh, here is a fantastic review of the Marvel Comic Book in which I appeared in 2006, where I help defeat Dr. Doom. My new alias is going to be Mousy Vixen.

Barron, Rena. Maya and the Rising Dark
May 5th 2020 by HMH Books for Young Readers
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Maya is starting to see some weird things in her South Side Chicago neighborhood, but she doesn't say anything to her parents. Her father is gone a lot for his work, since he is an engineer who travels to lots of different countries to fix edifices. The two share a love for comic books, and are planning on going to Comic Con. She does mention the odd things to her friends Eli and Frankie, which is helpful when the group is attacked. Maya learns that her father, as well as many of the neighborhood denizens, are orishas, gods who have special powers. They are all keeping the darkbringers at bay, but they are seeping into the neighborhood more and more. Maya finds out that she and her friends are all godlings; they have one parent who is a god and one who is human. When her father, who is the guardian of the veil that separates our world from the realm of the gods, goes missing, it is up to Maya and her friends to defeat the Lord of the Shadows, bring her father back, and keep her neighborhood safe. Since Maya becomes an official guardian in training at the end of the book, there is surely a sequel in the offing!
Strengths: I loved the author's note at the beginning of the book; she says that she wanted to write a book about the south side of Chicago but not dwell on its problems to the exclusion of the sense of family and community, she wanted to learn about West African traditions, and she wanted a character who loved superheroes and comics. The story is well organized and progresses quickly, and the mythical characters are well explained. Maya and her friends area  fun group, although Maya's concern for her father is definitely what drives the story. Like Roanhorse's Race to the Sun, this is an excellent fantasy book that brings in interesting elements from other cultures.
Weaknesses: I was really intrigued by a comment early on about Maya's anemia making her feel dizzy sometimes, but it wasn't elaborated on and now I'm just curious!
What I really think: Definitely purchasing. There are so many good fantasies now that draw from cultures other than medieval Europe! I'm looking forward to see what Maya's next adventure is!

Lerangis, Peter. The Chaos Loop (Throwback #2)
May 5th 2020 by HarperCollins
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Corey and Leila have done some time traveling in Throwback, when they discovered that Corey has the ability not only to time travel, but to actually change history when he does. In the first book, he managed to save his grandmother from being killed on 9/11, but also found out that time traveling can have very bad effects if done too much. He decides that his trips to the past must be the most meaningful ones he can find, so when he realizes how many of his family members were killed during the Holocaust, he decides to go back and neutralize Adolph Hitler. Reluctant to just kill the man, he tries to redirect his life choices, only to find that this isn't enough to change history. He tries several different things in order to change the past, but finds that it is harder than he thinks, and Corey also finds that the repercussions of time traveling are very real.
Strengths: The first book set up the reasons that Corey and Leila can time travel, as well as the problems that other travelers have faced. Papou is a great character, and the New York City setting is interesting as well. The fact that Corey chooses to take out Hitler is fascinating, and many young readers will agree with his choice. This moved along swiftly and was just fun to read.
Weaknesses: This ends very abruptly, paving the way for another installment!
What I really think: I'm curious what will happen in the next book, which I predict will have a red or lime green cover! Wanting to change the past is a powerful story line which makes the books very intriguing. The great covers help students pick these up, too!
Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. All three of these sound great! I'll look cor them whnever the linrary reopens and we start ordering books again.