Girl meets boy, becomes a vampire, and learns the ways of the undead in this entertaining but familiar tale.

PANDORA SYNDROME

A newly born vampire navigates the ins and outs of the supernatural world in this series opener.

Pandora Todd is a bit of an odd duck. While living a seemingly normal life in California, she experiences an occasional “episode” or two. Like the time her dead grandmother wakes up in her coffin and speaks to Dora. But life gets especially strange when Dora joins the ranks of the undead. She is shot and killed by an unknown assailant outside a bar in Los Angeles. Luckily, a handsome vampire named Remy (whose protective nature, age, and skill set recall numerous other literary vamps) is on hand to bring her back to life. Thus, Dora’s new journey begins. Under Remy’s tutelage, she learns the ways of the supernatural world. There are werewolves, witches, zombies, and a governing body known as the Order that keeps everyone in line. But as Dora and Remy quickly discover, she isn’t your run-of-the-mill vampire. She is also a necromancer who can raise the dead and create zombies of her own. But there’s another necromancer lurking in the shadows, an unknown threat that Dora and Remy can’t quite figure out. Wahlin (Thirteen Offerings, 2015) does a nice job creating Dora’s world and building a society of supernatural creatures who roam the streets largely without human knowledge. Some of the more humorous moments in the narrative are thanks to the author’s clever juxtaposition of the excitement and adventure of becoming a vampire with the decidedly less sexy reality of everyday life. In addition to learning how to feed off humans and control her superstrength, Dora still needs to find a job. The decision to make Dora a necromancer is also a good one. It’s a nice twist in an otherwise standard vampire tale. The vamp romance, interactions between the living and the dead, and a score of supernatural beings have been well-explored by characters such as Stephenie Meyer’s Edward Cullen, Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse, and others.

Girl meets boy, becomes a vampire, and learns the ways of the undead in this entertaining but familiar tale.   

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5335-6619-5

Page Count: 536

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2019

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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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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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