A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Fantasy meant to entertain.
People make mistakes, but that doesn't mean they should be locked away for life. Everyone deserves a second chance. Exacting justice doesn't bring a sense of peace or freedom. Real freedom is fighting for the truth and for what's right.
Positive Role Models
Cayder is a model of perseverance and teamwork. He works tirelessly to help his friends who've been wrongfully incarcerated. He works well with his mentor and enlists help from friends and others when he needs it. Leta is a model for curiosity and perseverance. She won't stop until she learns the truth. A villain models taking things too far out of a desire for power.
Most characters are described as having skin in varying shades of brown, although Cayder and Leta are pale. Lots of different hair colors and types.
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Violence & Scariness
Real-world violence includes a couple of fights, one with a knife, with punching, kicking, and knocking down. Blood is mentioned but not described. Fantasy violence includes magical weapons and attacks using magical powers. Descriptions of people disintegrating have some detail. A magical incident that destroyed a town and killed 300 people is a major plot point. Reference to a past suicide.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A few kisses, none described in detail. Some romantic dynamics.
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"S--t," "a--holes," "smart-ass," "damn," and "pissing."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Cayder drinks alcohol in a pub to settle his nerves. Mention that people drink to excess at a festival. A pub is used as a setting a couple of times.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that League of Liars is a fantasy that involves a teen brother and sister whose mother died seven years ago in a mysterious incident involving forbidden magic. The loss motivates the siblings to find truth and justice. Real-world violence includes a couple of fights with kicking, punching, and stabbing. Blood is mentioned but not described. Fantasy violence includes scary monsters, fantasy weapons that disintegrate, and large-scale destruction. Strong language is rare but includes "s--t" and "a--hole." There are a few kisses that aren't described and some mild romantic dynamics. A pub is briefly used as a setting, and a teen drinks alcohol once to calm his nerves.
Is It Any Good?
This is a solid fantasy that does some things well, but too often it gets bogged down in awkward melodrama. League of Liars' interesting blend of mystery, courtroom drama, prison escape, cover-ups, and dark magic works well together in this not-too-big fantasy realm that's similar enough to our own world to be easy to understand. Wise-cracking teens add some humor, and the characters develop well along with the plot. Some of the twists and turns are easy to see, but there are a few surprises too.
The writing really spells out events and character's realizations very clearly, which can help younger readers follow along. Older readers may feel like it's too much hand-holding. Odd moments of melodrama stand out against otherwise fairly straightforward, modern-sounding descriptions and dialogue. The ending is a cliffhanger that will leave fans hoping for another installment.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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