A detailed series entry that lives up to its predecessor.


An epic-fantasy sequel in which an elven woman strives to protect her people.

Loralíenasa “Loríen” Raia has been preparing to take the elven throne of Evlédíen. If that wasn’t stressful enough, she’s also playing host to an unusual number of human dignitaries. She knows that not all humans are monsters, as she’d thought for most of her life, but it’s hard for her to simply ignore her fear of them, as humans did wipe out most of her people years earlier. It doesn’t help that her guardian, Tomanasíl Maiantar, the Lord Regent of Evlédíen, doesn’t trust or even like them—although he supports her decision to discuss peace with them. Loríen hopes that her friend Naoise Raynesley has been safe since they parted ways, and that he’s succeeded in his quest. But the world of Asrellion, of which Evlédíen is a part, is still not safe, and there’s something strange and hidden going on in her own small corner of it; there are spies in the court, emotional and political manipulations, as well as a case of someone suffering amnesia. If Loríen can’t solve the mysteries and problems facing her, she might lose everything that she and her people have worked so hard for. Bethancourt presents a novel that’s on par with the previous installment, Mornnovin (2019). The worldbuilding remains the star of the show, offering superb cultural details, including the traditional requirements and ceremony that Loríen goes through before and during her coronation. The author’s stylish prose will ease readers into the story, and the precise pacing will consistently keep them engaged. The cast of characters includes some who are easy to love as well as villains that aren’t always initially easy to identify. Fans of epic fantasy will find this series to be to their liking, although they would do well to read the series’ premiere installment first, if they haven’t already.

A detailed series entry that lives up to its predecessor.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-73364-803-5

Page Count: 394

Publisher: Dogwood House LLC

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2020

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Engrossing worldbuilding, appealing characters, and a sense of humor make this a winning entry in the Sanderson canon.


A fantasy adventure with a sometimes-biting wit.

Tress is an ordinary girl with no thirst to see the world. Charlie is the son of the local duke, but he likes stories more than fencing. When the duke realizes the two teenagers are falling in love, he takes Charlie away to find a suitable wife—and returns with a different young man as his heir. Charlie, meanwhile, has been captured by the mysterious Sorceress who rules the Midnight Sea, which leaves Tress with no choice but to go rescue him. To do that, she’ll have to get off the barren island she’s forbidden to leave, cross the dangerous Verdant Sea, the even more dangerous Crimson Sea, and the totally deadly Midnight Sea, and somehow defeat the unbeatable Sorceress. The seas on Tress’ world are dangerous because they’re not made of water—they’re made of colorful spores that pour down from the world’s 12 stationary moons. Verdant spores explode into fast-growing vines if they get wet, which means inhaling them can be deadly. Crimson and midnight spores are worse. Ships protected by spore-killing silver sail these seas, and it’s Tress’ quest to find a ship and somehow persuade its crew to carry her to a place no ships want to go, to rescue a person nobody cares about but her. Luckily, Tress is kindhearted, resourceful, and curious—which also makes her an appealing heroine. Along her journey, Tress encounters a talking rat, a crew of reluctant pirates, and plenty of danger. Her story is narrated by an unusual cabin boy with a sharp wit. (About one duke, he says, “He’d apparently been quite heroic during those wars; you could tell because a great number of his troops had died, while he lived.”) The overall effect is not unlike The Princess Bride, which Sanderson cites as an inspiration.

Engrossing worldbuilding, appealing characters, and a sense of humor make this a winning entry in the Sanderson canon.

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 9781250899651

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2023

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A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

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Narnia on the Penobscot: a grand, and naturally strange, entertainment from the ever prolific King.

What’s a person to do when sheltering from Covid? In King’s case, write something to entertain himself while reflecting on what was going on in the world outside—ravaged cities, contentious politics, uncertainty. King’s yarn begins in a world that’s recognizably ours, and with a familiar trope: A young woman, out to buy fried chicken, is mashed by a runaway plumber’s van, sending her husband into an alcoholic tailspin and her son into a preadolescent funk, driven “bugfuck” by a father who “was always trying to apologize.” The son makes good by rescuing an elderly neighbor who’s fallen off a ladder, though he protests that the man’s equally elderly German shepherd, Radar, was the true hero. Whatever the case, Mr. Bowditch has an improbable trove of gold in his Bates Motel of a home, and its origin seems to lie in a shed behind the house, one that Mr. Bowditch warns the boy away from: “ ‘Don’t go in there,’ he said. ‘You may in time, but for now don’t even think of it.’ ” It’s not Pennywise who awaits in the underworld behind the shed door, but there’s plenty that’s weird and unexpected, including a woman, Dora, whose “skin was slate gray and her face was cruelly deformed,” and a whole bunch of people—well, sort of people, anyway—who’d like nothing better than to bring their special brand of evil up to our world’s surface. King’s young protagonist, Charlie Reade, is resourceful beyond his years, but it helps that the old dog gains some of its youthful vigor in the depths below. King delivers a more or less traditional fable that includes a knowing nod: “I think I know what you want,” Charlie tells the reader, "and now you have it”—namely, a happy ending but with a suitably sardonic wink.

A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66800-217-9

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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