Thursday, November 3, 2011

Scream Like You Mean It

Halloween is over. For all of you vampires and werewolves inspired by the season and just now coming off your sugar high, I have a couple reviews just for you.

"Killer Pizza: The Slice"

By Greg Taylor
For Ages 10 – 14
 Four months after the first "Killer Pizza" tale ends, "The Slice" begins. Toby, Annabel, and Strobe are back in action in a new fast-paced adventure with new monsters, perilous fights and interesting locations. Rated 4.5 (violence, peril, monsters)
Our "Scooby Gang" begins their adventure in New York City, where they are scheduled to take part in a training program for promising Killer Pizza employees. This trip is not about pizza though. It is about monsters. Note: If you missed the first book you need to understand that Killer Pizza is a successful pizza chain that acts as a front for monster hunting and relocation.

In New York the team is sent to meet a Dekayi girl at Central Park and bring her into headquarters so that she can be protected from her own kind. Very little is known about the Dekayi, beyond their existence. Things take a predictable but thrilling turn. Soon the Dekayi monster-girl, who we come to know as Calanthe, is living with Annabel in Hidden Hills. The gang protects her, learns about her people, and tries to help her assimilate into normal everyday teen life. It’s easier said than done.

True to the first book, “The Slice” stays solidly in the B-movie fun zone and mixes in a little “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” with “Men in Black.” It delivers a zesty entrĂ©e of action, monsters, and humor that will have preteen and teen readers turning the pages. Hopefully Greg Taylor won’t make us wait too long for the next sequel. There is plenty of peril, frights and gross out moments. If your preteen or teen is prone to nightmares, be cautious with this take out. Otherwise, order up and enjoy this tasty treat.

"Wolven: The Twilight Circus"
By Di Toft
For Ages 9 – 12
What do you get when you combine werewolves, cryptids, the military and your average teenage boy? An action-filled adventure called, "Wolven: The Twilight Circus." Rated 4.25 (monsters, violence, peril) 

In this follow-up to "Wolven," Nat Carver, the average teenage boy and a royal wolven named Woody run away and join the circus. The first tale left Nat, his family and Woody on the run from the British government and on the world’s "most wanted" list.

Now, traveling with a special circus of mythical and magical creatures Nat is becoming more aware of special skills such as telepathy, hyper-sensitive smell and even a shape shifting. His new skills will be tested as they face evil vampires (not all vampires are evil) and their arch nemesis Lucas Scale, a twisted werewolf who made a deal with a demon for greater power.

Reading the first book helps, but it’s not necessary. Toft does a great job adding humor and gross-out moments for preteen readers. The action is plentiful and the characters are well-developed. Readers become emotionally attached to Nat, Woody and the other strange creatures of the circus and will enjoy the supernatural lore and magical moments of illusion without much of the gore that can be found in edgier young adult materials. It is a very solid addition to the "Wolven" series.

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