A mostly sturdy foundation for a fantasy series that arms its hero with powers, sidekicks, and motivation.

DIFFERENT LEE

From the Different Dragons series , Vol. 1

In Hiatt’s (The Devil Hath the Power, 2016, etc.) fantasy novel, a Korean-American man discovers long-dormant supernatural abilities and finds that an evil sorcerer wants his blood.

DL works as an auto mechanic at Al’s Garage in the small town of Le Dragon, Wisconsin. His Korean name, Daelun Yong Lee, translates to the awkward “Different Dragon Lee.” However, he wants nothing to do with Korean culture, mostly because he’s disassociated himself from his parents, who abandoned him as an infant. But there’s something else in his past he can’t ignore: he has a particular type of blood that affords him supernatural abilities, starting with superstrength and the ability to see in the dark. His powers appear to have been ignited by his one-night stand with Ekaterina Dragwyla, who turns out be a centuries-old preternatural being. Unfortunately, a man named R?zvan Bey (aka “the Collector”) has plans to obtain the blood of both DL and Ekaterina. Bey gets leverage against DL by going after high school senior Max Murphy, a part-timer at Al’s Garage whom DL sees as a little brother. Things escalate when cops suspect DL in a murder committed by Bey. The mechanic searches for allies, and he gains a few of the supernatural variety, including a faerie, a sorceress ghost, and even a vampire. They face off against Bey and his minions in a battle that entails traveling to various places via magical portals, and not everyone will come out of it alive. Hiatt’s protagonist is initially unlikable (he bluntly tells Ekaterina that she wasn’t “that good in bed,” for example), but he gradually becomes more appealing through his heroic behavior. For example, his valiant desire to keep Max safe extends to protecting Max’s parents, as well. The story playfully hints at its fantasy elements before they actually surface; for instance, a local bar is called Dragon’s Lair. There are also copious mystical characters, most of whom are introduced in the lengthy but action-laden final act. However, DL too often draws on his movie knowledge for methods to defeat villains, which generally prove successful; this makes him seem more lucky than skilled, and causes the narrative to unnecessarily rely on genre clichés.

A mostly sturdy foundation for a fantasy series that arms its hero with powers, sidekicks, and motivation.

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5399-8887-8

Page Count: 248

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2017

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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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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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