Scariest of the scary is Kirkus Reviews, which the New York Times described as "reliably cantankerous." I have often read their reviews, cringed for the author, and then fretted over my own books. On the other hand, if a book gets a starred review from Kirkus, I automatically have a little more respect for it. Actually, if the review doesn't completely slaughter the book, I mentally give the title a pat on the back and congratulate it on escaping a scathing diatribe.
(I won't lie. I wrote that last sentence, because I wanted to use the word diatribe in a sentence. Then I double-checked at dictionary.com to make sure I used the word correctly. I did.)
But guess what? Kirkus gave OF GIANTS AND ICE a pretty nice review!!
I'm going to post it below. It has a few spoilers. Read at your own risk.
Only child of divorced celebrities, Rory is not your ordinary sixth-grader. She’s had plenty of experience with after-school programs in the many different places she’s lived. Nor is Ever After School your ordinary day care center. The children and grandchildren of fairy-tale characters, EASers are Characters-in-training, likely to be part of each other’s tales and certain to be sent on one or more quests of their own. Here, for the first time in years, Rory makes friends who don’t care about her famous parents. Here, she fights a dragon, with a real sword. And when her friend Lena’s first tale turns out to require beanstalk-climbing, Rory’s thrilled to be one of her Companions, even though she’s afraid of heights and even though her least favorite person, Chase Turnleaf, is coming along. Their accidental visit to the Snow Queen in her Glass Mountain prison changes their relationship and sets the stage for a promised sequel. Rory recalls her adventures in a first-person chronological narration that includes plenty of dialogue.
This fast-paced combination of middle school realism and fairy-tale fantasy will appeal particularly to imaginative readers already familiar with traditional tales. (Fantasy. 9-13)
--Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2012
ETA (7.3.2012): Kirkus also put OF GIANTS AND ICE on its 30 Top July Children's Books list! WOOHOO!!! Check out the other titles on the list here.