A propulsive, sharply crafted tale about a planetary war.

WHEN PLANETS FALL

From the Stars Fall Circle series

In this YA sci-fi debut, an alien world plays host to conflict among three humanoid tribes.

Scarlatti is a planet lit by two suns in the Gemelos System. Sharing this world are the Herons (who bleed green), the Elik (who bleed blue), and the Humans (who bleed red). Each tribe exists within strictly enforced borders, and trespassers invite murder. Eighteen-year-old Breaker is a Human repairman who lost his older brother, Brandon, to such internecine conflict. Breaker also lost his leg, which has been replaced with a cybernetic limb that he affectionately calls Circuit. One day—or dia, as the Scarlatti say—Breaker chases after his 13-year-old brother, Brody, who has sneaked from the Human compound into danger beyond the border. In the wilderness, Breaker encounters a hidden spaceship. Meanwhile, in the Elik’s glass city of Houtiri, the Human Malani celebrates the Twin Suns Festival with her crush, Fic. She’s quite the anomaly among the Elik, since she was kidnapped as a child and given an experimental set of metal wings. Malani’s bliss is short-lived when Heron fighters assault the festival, killing scores of innocents and making her a prisoner once more. In Heron captivity, she learns that their ruler, King Oma, fears the Elik military and desires its secrets. While Malani holds out through torture, she meets another imprisoned Human, one with a cybernetic leg. In this richly imagined start to a new sci-fi series, Reed brings optimism to the goal of solving entrenched violence in a galaxy far, far away. Scarlatti, like a lush Mars, is evoked in lines like “From the burgundy and blush trees to the carmine peaks to the ruby glow of the suns, this land wore a blanket of blood.” The plot echoes real-world tyranny when King Oma manipulates Breaker and Malani to unlock the spaceship’s technology, thereby gaining the advantage when war ignites. The Humans too are ready to accommodate the Herons, believing that their red blood originates on Scarlatti. Yet, as Malani says, when you share someone’s home “all other details fade like background music.”

A propulsive, sharply crafted tale about a planetary war.

Pub Date: May 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68291-310-9

Page Count: 420

Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the...

FLY AWAY

Hannah’s sequel to Firefly Lane (2008) demonstrates that those who ignore family history are often condemned to repeat it.

When we last left Kate and Tully, the best friends portrayed in Firefly Lane, the friendship was on rocky ground. Now Kate has died of cancer, and Tully, whose once-stellar TV talk show career is in free fall, is wracked with guilt over her failure to be there for Kate until her very last days. Kate’s death has cemented the distrust between her husband, Johnny, and daughter Marah, who expresses her grief by cutting herself and dropping out of college to hang out with goth poet Paxton. Told mostly in flashbacks by Tully, Johnny, Marah and Tully’s long-estranged mother, Dorothy, aka Cloud, the story piles up disasters like the derailment of a high-speed train. Increasingly addicted to prescription sedatives and alcohol, Tully crashes her car and now hovers near death, attended by Kate’s spirit, as the other characters gather to see what their shortsightedness has wrought. We learn that Tully had tried to parent Marah after her father no longer could. Her hard-drinking decline was triggered by Johnny’s anger at her for keeping Marah and Paxton’s liaison secret. Johnny realizes that he only exacerbated Marah’s depression by uprooting the family from their Seattle home. Unexpectedly, Cloud, who rebuffed Tully’s every attempt to reconcile, also appears at her daughter’s bedside. Sixty-nine years old and finally sober, Cloud details for the first time the abusive childhood, complete with commitments to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments, that led to her life as a junkie lowlife and punching bag for trailer-trash men. Although powerful, Cloud’s largely peripheral story deflects focus away from the main conflict, as if Hannah was loath to tackle the intractable thicket in which she mired her main characters.

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the pages turning even as readers begin to resent being drawn into this masochistic morass.

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-57721-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE COLDEST WINTER EVER

Debut novel by hip-hop rap artist Sister Souljah, whose No Disrespect (1994), which mixes sexual history with political diatribe, is popular in schools country-wide. In its way, this is a tour de force of black English and underworld slang, as finely tuned to its heroine’s voice as Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. The subject matter, though, has a certain flashiness, like a black Godfather family saga, and the heroine’s eventual fall develops only glancingly from her character. Born to a 14-year-old mother during one of New York’s worst snowstorms, Winter Santiaga is the teenaged daughter of Ricky Santiaga, Brooklyn’s top drug dealer, who lives like an Arab prince and treats his wife and four daughters like a queen and her princesses. Winter lost her virginity at 12 and now focuses unwaveringly on varieties of adolescent self-indulgence: sex and sugar-daddies, clothes, and getting her own way. She uses school only as a stepping-stone for getting out of the house—after all, nobody’s paying her to go there. But if there’s no money in it, why go? Meanwhile, Daddy decides it’s time to move out of Brooklyn to truly fancy digs on Long Island, though this places him in the discomfiting position of not being absolutely hands-on with his dealers; and sure enough the rise of some young Turks leads to his arrest. Then he does something really stupid: he murders his wife’s two weak brothers in jail with him on Riker’s Island and gets two consecutive life sentences. Winter’s then on her own, especially with Bullet, who may have replaced her dad as top hood, though when she selfishly fails to help her pregnant buddy Simone, there’s worse—much worse—to come. Thinness aside: riveting stuff, with language so frank it curls your hair. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-671-02578-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

Did you like this book?

more