An ambitious, often engaging adventure through time.


From the Primeval Origins series , Vol. 2

Vonsik (Paths of Anguish, 2014) offers the second book in a fantasy series in which ancient and modern times converge.

Graduate student Nikki Ricks is onboard a ship called the Wind Runner, somewhere in the Caribbean. The craft has been traveling at high speeds in an attempt to evade United Nations ships. It’s soon apparent, though, that such maneuvers are for naught. It’s not long before futuristic goons known as Tyr Soldiers board the Wind Runner, looking to seize its strange cargo: two unconscious, seemingly non-human beings from a time long ago, named Rogaan and Aren. Just as all seems lost for Nikki and her fellow passengers, readers are transported back to ancient times—specifically, Rogaan and Aren’s era, which features ferocious beasts and complex civilizations. Here, the narrative picks up where the series’ first installment left off. Rogaan and others are on their way to free their parents from their captors in the city of Farratum. It’s a quest that doesn’t seem likely to succeed—particularly after Rogaan and company become prisoners themselves. There’s a sliver of hope, though, because Rogaan is occasionally capable of feats of great strength and violence. As he’s tested morally and physically, will he be able to save himself and the others from captivity? And what about Aren, a fellow prisoner who frequently sees spinning symbols in his head? Vonsik delivers a story that’s always alive with possibilities, and it keeps readers guessing about how it will link back to Nikki’s future narrative. Although it’s clear from the start that Aren and Rogaan will survive their ordeal, readers will wonder what it is about them that interests a sinister U.N. But even as these unanswered questions create a sense of urgency, some of the dialogue drags things down. Characters often announce their intentions, for example, as when a guard gives the order to imprison the heroes “and leave them be unless they cause more trouble.” The plot’s bigger picture, though, remains intriguing, and readers will be curious about the next installment.

An ambitious, often engaging adventure through time.

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-578-17256-9

Page Count: 292

Publisher: Celestial Fury Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2017

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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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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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