The ultimate crossroads for fans of werewolves and medieval sorcery.

Reawakening

From the Legends Of Eversora series , Vol. 1

In this debut fantasy, a shape-shifting sorcerer attempts to develop the skills necessary to thwart an ancient prophecy.

In the realm of Eversora, on the island of Lyrea, 15-year-old Darius is the son of a blacksmith. The boy’s best friends are books and knowledge, since the other teens shun him for not having a mother. His father, Keron, is the blacksmith for Baron Jesha, who oversees the mining town of Sinac. When Darius wonders what happened to his mother, Keron decides he’s old enough to know the truth. First Darius visits the library in Baron Jesha’s castle. On the way, he encounters a young girl with hypnotically green eyes. Further strangeness occurs inside the castle when Darius accidentally locates a chamber protected by magic. Inside is a book that won’t open. He brings the volume home, and his father explains that only nueri—shape-changing wolves—or people with majik in their blood, could have entered the chamber. Keron then tells him that the foul snake people, the Ananta, once enslaved a tribe of nueri called the Szahn. Darius’ mother, Virana, belonged to the Szahn. She left Sinac with the tribe, and the book is her journal. Later, Keron acquires a troublesome wolf pup that’s been caught nearby. The pup bonds with him and says that she is Dyla, Darius’ sister. That Keron possesses no knowledge of having had a second child with Virana is the grand intrigue in DaShaun’s grisly, toothsome novel. He places Darius at the convergence of several fantasy tropes, including Keron’s sorcerous bloodline and the prophecy stating that a child born of man (and another born of the soul) will destroy the Szahn. DaShaun sets a large stage meticulously, but once the action starts, the plot delivers thrills with monstrous gusto. The transformation sequences are visceral, as when one character “could feel ligaments and tendons snapping away from their connections, twisting inside his skin.” Further components like elemental lineages and a set of triple moons make for a magically layered narrative.

The ultimate crossroads for fans of werewolves and medieval sorcery.

Pub Date: March 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5227-0987-9

Page Count: 338

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2016

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A breezy and fun contemporary fantasy.

THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA

A tightly wound caseworker is pushed out of his comfort zone when he’s sent to observe a remote orphanage for magical children.

Linus Baker loves rules, which makes him perfectly suited for his job as a midlevel bureaucrat working for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, where he investigates orphanages for children who can do things like make objects float, who have tails or feathers, and even those who are young witches. Linus clings to the notion that his job is about saving children from cruel or dangerous homes, but really he’s a cog in a government machine that treats magical children as second-class citizens. When Extremely Upper Management sends for Linus, he learns that his next assignment is a mission to an island orphanage for especially dangerous kids. He is to stay on the island for a month and write reports for Extremely Upper Management, which warns him to be especially meticulous in his observations. When he reaches the island, he meets extraordinary kids like Talia the gnome, Theodore the wyvern, and Chauncey, an amorphous blob whose parentage is unknown. The proprietor of the orphanage is a strange but charming man named Arthur, who makes it clear to Linus that he will do anything in his power to give his charges a loving home on the island. As Linus spends more time with Arthur and the kids, he starts to question a world that would shun them for being different, and he even develops romantic feelings for Arthur. Lambda Literary Award–winning author Klune (The Art of Breathing, 2019, etc.) has a knack for creating endearing characters, and readers will grow to love Arthur and the orphans alongside Linus. Linus himself is a lovable protagonist despite his prickliness, and Klune aptly handles his evolving feelings and morals. The prose is a touch wooden in places, but fans of quirky fantasy will eat it up.

A breezy and fun contemporary fantasy.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21728-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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An almost-but-not-quite-great slavery novel.

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THE WATER DANCER

The celebrated author of Between the World and Me (2015) and We Were Eight Years in Power (2017) merges magic, adventure, and antebellum intrigue in his first novel.

In pre–Civil War Virginia, people who are white, whatever their degree of refinement, are considered “the Quality” while those who are black, whatever their degree of dignity, are regarded as “the Tasked.” Whether such euphemisms for slavery actually existed in the 19th century, they are evocatively deployed in this account of the Underground Railroad and one of its conductors: Hiram Walker, one of the Tasked who’s barely out of his teens when he’s recruited to help guide escapees from bondage in the South to freedom in the North. “Conduction” has more than one meaning for Hiram. It's also the name for a mysterious force that transports certain gifted individuals from one place to another by way of a blue light that lifts and carries them along or across bodies of water. Hiram knows he has this gift after it saves him from drowning in a carriage mishap that kills his master’s oafish son (who’s Hiram’s biological brother). Whatever the source of this power, it galvanizes Hiram to leave behind not only his chains, but also the two Tasked people he loves most: Thena, a truculent older woman who practically raised him as a surrogate mother, and Sophia, a vivacious young friend from childhood whose attempt to accompany Hiram on his escape is thwarted practically at the start when they’re caught and jailed by slave catchers. Hiram directly confronts the most pernicious abuses of slavery before he is once again conducted away from danger and into sanctuary with the Underground, whose members convey him to the freer, if funkier environs of Philadelphia, where he continues to test his power and prepare to return to Virginia to emancipate the women he left behind—and to confront the mysteries of his past. Coates’ imaginative spin on the Underground Railroad’s history is as audacious as Colson Whitehead’s, if less intensely realized. Coates’ narrative flourishes and magic-powered protagonist are reminiscent of his work on Marvel’s Black Panther superhero comic book, but even his most melodramatic effects are deepened by historical facts and contemporary urgency.

An almost-but-not-quite-great slavery novel.

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-59059-7

Page Count: 432

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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