cover image The Orphan Army

The Orphan Army

Jonathan Maberry. Simon & Schuster, $16.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-4814-1575-0

In this opening installment of the Nightsiders series, Maberry (the Rot & Ruin series) mixes genres to admirable effect. Six years after the alien Swarm invaded Earth, the remaining free humans exist as nomadic refugees and rebels, scavenging to survive while plotting ways to fight back. Eleven-year-old Milo Silk belongs to one such group. Troubled by recurring dreams in which the so-called Witch of the World exhorts him to become the hero Earth needs, Milo is astounded to discover that creatures of myth and legend—werewolves, faeries, spirits of wood and stone—exist and are also fighting the Swarm. Humans and monsters must form an uneasy alliance to recover the missing Heart of Darkness, a powerful magical artifact, before their alien foes evolve into an even greater menace. Maberry skillfully blends postapocalyptic warfare with supernatural adventure, presenting memorable characters and a tense narrative. Excerpts from Milo’s dream journal provide extra insight into the bizarre circumstances as they occur. It’s a strong start to what looks to be a highly entertaining story line. Ages 8–12. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger. (May)