Rice fans probably need not fear a drought of her thirst-quenching tales, then. As for this one, it’s trademark Rice: talky,...

PRINCE LESTAT

THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES

Armand, Seth, Akasha and, of course, Lestat de Lioncourt are back with a vengeance—and, natch, they’re looking to put the bite on someone.

There was a time, not so long ago, when Lestat fans had reason to fear they’d seen the last of their—well, man, maybe, depending on how you define “man.” After an 11-year dry spell since Blood Canticle (2003), though, Rice has resurrected her Vampire Chronicles, picking up where one of the earlier books, The Queen of the Damned (1988), left off. A lot’s happened since that time. For one thing, the vamps have plenty of new technology to play with, with Lestat himself, the rock star manqué, in love with his iPod and with that undead popster Jon Bon Jovi, “playing his songs over and over obsessively.” That adulation is about the most frightening thing in Rice’s latest; it’s not that the novel is without its spine-tingling moments so much as that Rice has prepared the ground too well, with not just her own legacy, but also a legion of lesser imitators (Charlaine Harris, Stephenie Meyer, et al.) competing with her on the sanguinary-moments front. The latest installment finds the vamps at war with themselves, crowded on a planet with plenty of competition, indeed, but with plenty of juicy humans to nibble on: “So rich, so healthy, so filled with exotic flavors, so different from blood in the time he’d been made.” Rice extends the Chronicles even farther into the past, rounding out storylines stretching into ancient Egypt, while reintroducing a large cast of familiars and adding some new characters to the mix. Suffice it to say, first, that the vamps are no longer limiting their recruitment to liberal arts majors, to the poets and singers of yore; suffice it also to say that the busy intergenerational (and inter–planes of existence) conflict that ensues screams out for at least one sequel, if not a string of them. 

Rice fans probably need not fear a drought of her thirst-quenching tales, then. As for this one, it’s trademark Rice: talky, inconsequential, but good old-fashioned fanged fun.

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-307-96252-2

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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