Conor Kostick is a writer and historian living in Dublin. As a novelist he was awarded the Farmleigh writer's residency for the summer of 2010 and a place on the nominees list for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2012 and 2013. At their 2009 awards, the Reading Association of Ireland gave him the Special Merit Award 'in recognition of his significant contribution to writing for children in Ireland'. Epic is Conor's most successful book, selling over 100,000 copies worldwide. It was awarded a place on the International Board on Books for Young People "White Ravens" list for 2006 and on the Booklist Best Fantasy Books for Youth list for 2007. As an historian, Conor Kostick's holds a PhD and a gold medal from Trinity College Dublin. He won first prize in the 2001 Dublinia Medieval Essay Competition, and has held fellowships from the Irish Research Council and the University of Nottingham. In 2013, he was awarded a Marie Curie research grant from the EU. Conor was twice chairperson of the Irish Writers' Union. His facebook readers page is here.
Gr 9 Up-Living under the oppressive rule of a 2000-year-old Dark Queen, the inhabitants of the violent world of Saga are downtrodden. To survive, Ghost and her friends raid malls, ride airboards, and try to subvert the class-driven system. When they meet the swashbuckler Cindella Dragonslayer, first introduced in Epic (Viking, 2007), they are perplexed. Her clothes, her mannerisms, and her magical abilities are absurdly out of place. Saga is a virtual-reality game and Cindella is the avatar of Erik Haraldson, the winner of the previous iteration of the game. Saga's characters are now sentient beings, and the Queen has enslaved Erik's world with a drug that forces them to play or die. She will only release them if Erik makes her children immortal, but if he complies, the people of Saga will suffer. Erik and Ghost must each find their own way to defeat the Queen. The plot elements of this complicated, fast-paced novel are not fully integrated, and readers who have not read Epic will be puzzled by the importance of Cindella/Erik. The moral conflict between Erik's peaceful society and Ghost's violent one has the potential to be an interesting examination of how the worlds function, but this idea is never fully addressed. Despite these flaws, readers will find the adventures of anarchic teens on floating skateboards compelling. Give this to fans of video games and readers of James Patterson's "Maximum Ride" series (Little, Brown).-Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
'An exciting Matrix-style thriller that's not for the squeamish. A compelling fantasy take based on the idea that the world is a game called Saga, controlled by dark and sinister figures'-- Bookfest
'This novel, as well as having a brilliantly crafted structure and engaging characters, begs the reader to question what it really means to be alive'-- Shane Hunt (age 15)
'It is a rock'n'roll, helter-skelter time, a journey not for the faint-hearted but bound to enthrall wired-up skateboarders, the mathematically literate and those who just enjoy a well-written narrative'-- Village Magazine * Village Magazine *
'Futuristic fantasy can provide a powerful critique of dehumanization and help explore ideas about identity . . . sophisticated'-- Sunday Independent * The Sunday Independent *
Kostick's achievement lies in the duality of the book, which can be read both as an excellently fast-paced action thriller and a commentary on very real modern issues. The engaging characters and the compelling plot allow for a great read, but at the core of the book lie deep questions concerning such grand issues as self-realisation, citizenship and societal inequality, conformism and the abuse of power. Kostick has made these accessible while never compromising the seriousness of the issues. It is a constant battle for authors of young peoples literature to balance this depth of writing with a gripping story, but Kostick has once again succeeded in creating a superb novel that can be enjoyed by older teenagers and adults alike.-- Inis Magazine * Inis Magazine *
'This adventurous, intriguing, and entirely unsettling novel delivers an impeccable balance of philosophical debate about the limits of realness while still delivering enough chase scenes, battles, and twisty plot shifts to keep even the most action-drive-- Bulletin of the Centre for Children's Books
'These are highly-praised sci-fi novels for the 10+ age group ... would have appeal for readers who love their games too!'-- Woman's Way
'Through a vibrant, immediate, technologically-driven cultural connectivity, Kostick updates and makes urgent questions of individual, cultural and existential identity.'-- Inis Magazine