PANDORA

NEW TALES OF THE VAMPIRES

First sheaf in a new series by Rice, picking up where The Tale of the Body Thief (1992) left off and telling of 2,000-year-old Pandora, who is seduced in Paris by newly-fanged David Talbot, an elderly scholar, into writing her memoirs. Followers of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Count Saint-Germain vampire historicals will fred themselves on familiar ground in Rice's Rome of Caesar Augustus. Remember that the stronger half of Rice's recent Servant of the Bones (1996), about the Wandering Babylonian Ghost Azriel, gave her purple pen free rein in limning the hanging garden, golden passageways, and other ornaments of Babylon. Similarly now, as she turns from modern Paris to ancient Rome, her writing lifts from gruelingly sloppy hackwork to tightly engaging prose, perhaps because this material marries research to make-believe: Give her some ground to stand on, and she tells a good story. Here, Pandora is 10, Marius 25—and not yet a vampire—when the two first meet in her father's palazzo. Twenty years and a pair of failed marriages later, when her father is attacked by Augustus and she must flee to Antioch, Pandora finds herself overcome by dreams of bloodlust. She asks a priestess in Antioch: Do these blood dreams come from the goddess Isis? Then she meets Marius, whom she's adored from girlhood on, in the temple of Isis and goes to live with him. But Marius is now the caretaker of two living mummies or statues that Pandora mistakes for Isis and Osiris (or Hems), and Isis/Akasha bestows on her the dark gift in the novel's most ecstatic scene. Marius exhorts her, though, about her detestation of blood-drinkers and swears never to make another (which requires exchange of blood with the host). Forever fighting, the rational Marius and emotional Pandora care for the evil gods for two centuries, through the spread of Christianity, and then part, with a sequel (Armand) promised. Forget Violin (1997). This is Rice in top romantic form, despite a slippery page here and there.

Pub Date: March 19, 1998

ISBN: 0-375-40159-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 73

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more