A richly conceived fantasy with a grand emotional payoff.

SORROWFISH

1

From the The Call of the Lorica series

In Miles’ debut fantasy novel, an art student’s dreams bring her into contact with a wizard and his extraordinary realm.

Sara Moore studies sculpture at the Hite Institute for the Arts in Louisville, Kentucky. She’s having trouble finishing her final piece that will allow her to graduate and begin a rewarding career as an artist. Her troubled personal life isn’t helping matters; her twin sister, Marilla, has been in a coma following a car accident eight months ago, and her best friend, Peter, could be the love of her life, if only she’d commit to their relationship. Also, Sara’s been having vivid dreams about a strange gnome—and once, she woke with a splinter after dreaming of touching a wooden table. Meanwhile, on a world called Canard, Dane Whitley is a “dewin,” or music mage, who’s capable of harnessing the divine Song without going mad from the accompanying Dissonance. He crafts magical instruments that are forbidden by the conclave, the religious order that’s ruled Canard since the good Storm King sacrificed himself to save the people from the evil Wyrm. Later, when Dane sees an elusive “fae” spirit named Sara, she tells him, “Fire. Fire everywhere. Run.” He follows her command and barely escapes being burned alive by conclave acolytes. Can Dane and Sara somehow forge a bond and solve the problems that plague each other’s lives? Miles offers a dense emotional tapestry for fantasy fans who may be looking for more than swords and sorcery. The intensive worldbuilding involves gnomes who raise human children (known as “deemlings”), shape-changers known as “chymaera,” and a monumentally epic World Tree (“The Tree was enormous, bone white, its top shrouded. It had split perfectly down the center....Clouds served as the Tree’s canopy”). However, although Canard’s narrative ambles forward with wild invention, Sara’s more grounded narrative sings more strongly. The complex family dynamics surrounding Marilla’s situation, for example, could fuel its own novel. Miles’ final revelations promise further layering of reality and fantasy in a planned sequel.

A richly conceived fantasy with a grand emotional payoff.

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-07-222658-1

Page Count: 363

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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LIFE OF PI

A fable about the consolatory and strengthening powers of religion flounders about somewhere inside this unconventional coming-of-age tale, which was shortlisted for Canada’s Governor General’s Award. The story is told in retrospect by Piscine Molitor Patel (named for a swimming pool, thereafter fortuitously nicknamed “Pi”), years after he was shipwrecked when his parents, who owned a zoo in India, were attempting to emigrate, with their menagerie, to Canada. During 227 days at sea spent in a lifeboat with a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger (mostly with the latter, which had efficiently slaughtered its fellow beasts), Pi found serenity and courage in his faith: a frequently reiterated amalgam of Muslim, Hindu, and Christian beliefs. The story of his later life, education, and mission rounds out, but does not improve upon, the alternately suspenseful and whimsical account of Pi’s ordeal at sea—which offers the best reason for reading this otherwise preachy and somewhat redundant story of his Life.

Pub Date: June 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-15-100811-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2002

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