A deft mix of history, mythology, and coming-of-age themes.

We Walk in Darkness

From the Spell Weaver series , Vol. 5

Supernatural and mythical beings enliven this latest installment in Hiatt’s (Evil Within Yourselves, 2015, etc.) Spell Weaver action-adventure series.

About five hours away from Santa Brigada, where Tal Weaver and his allies have come to terms with their past lives and their amazing abilities, the teenage Lucas struggles to accept his own freakish talents and psychic visions. He fears the scorn he would face from his peers if his secrets were discovered, which would make the former challenges he experienced as a dancer seem inconsequential by comparison. But when a trained assassin from the shadow world targets him in order to complete her training, his worries take a back seat to his efforts to save his life and family. He’s alternately helped and hindered by a mysterious stranger identifying herself at different times as his grandmother, his great-grandmother, or possibly his mother. Whomever she is, she’s of Encantado origin, like him, and she manages to connect Lucas with Tal and his friends. The group soon finds itself embroiled in conflict with a rapidly growing shadow army. The battle is complicated by a discovery that the initial shadow assassin isn’t what she first appeared to be, and her true identity raises moral questions. The fast-paced action that typifies Hiatt’s work is evident here, but there’s also time for nuanced emotions to develop, such as Lucas’ desire to be known and accepted. By giving new characters control of the narrative, the author revitalizes the series while remaining true to its roots. In particular, he preserves the series’ enjoyably suggestive overtones (“I'm not just descended from weredolphins, but from horny weredolphins!”) and pithy, clever comments (“backyards so small and narrow that if you put in a hot tub, no one could walk from one end of the yard to the other without wading part of the way”). The relative brevity of this installment makes for a tauter, more intense presentation, although the conclusion feels somewhat arbitrary and abrupt, and the setup for the next book seems too overt. Overall, though, this novel is another satisfying addition to the Spell Weaver tales.

A deft mix of history, mythology, and coming-of-age themes.

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5175-9367-4

Page Count: 114

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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

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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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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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