Promising opener to a female-led series that doesn’t yet soar to incredible heights.


From the The Chronicles of Susah series , Vol. 1

In this new edition of his first novel, Sutherland (The Last Dragoneer, 2014, etc.) creates a modern-feeling world before Noah’s flood, a world populated with dragons, warriors, and a determined young woman who fearlessly seeks her proper place in the world. 

Eighteen-year-old Susah has long been able to sense the thoughts and feelings of animals, a gift that once keeps her and her young cousin out of the jaws of desperate wolves. She loves exploring her father’s garden, a forest where all types of animals gather and are protected by Noah, the ark builder. But she is also fascinated by Sethopolis, a city of millions, where people live in skyscrapers and drive hovercrafts. Her father disapproves of everything from that great city, so it’s a huge treat to be invited out to dinner there with her cousin’s family. But as much wonder as the city holds, it also hides dangers: half-ogres (hogres) roam the streets in gangs, and Lilith, a giantess, is determined to gain the secrets of Eden. When Lilith senses Susah’s growing power, she commands her minions to hunt Susah down and kill those with her. After the hogre pack kills Susah’s aunt and uncle, the night almost ends tragically for Susah and her cousins as well—until they receive a timely rescue from Dachux, head of the Dragoneers. From her first flight in a chariot pulled by dragons, Susah feels called to become a Dragoneer herself, despite her father’s wishes. After returning home, Susah runs away to join the military in hopes of getting into the Dragoneer Corps, but she gets further embroiled in Lilith’s plans—and becomes instrumental in keeping Lilith out of Eden. Sutherland creates an original vision of a corrupt antediluvian world, one that feels modern yet magical. The novel’s pacing, however, makes it difficult to dive into the story: for instance, it’s not clear until a few chapters in that chariots and skyscrapers coexist, and it’s nearly half the book before Susah follows her dream of becoming a Dragoneer. Susah’s training feels suitably militaristic, but it happens too quickly to be believable, despite some hand-waving explanatory logic from the narrative. And while Susah is well-developed, few of the other characters emerge as three-dimensional, with Lilith taking part in mustache-twirling-level dialogues.

Promising opener to a female-led series that doesn’t yet soar to incredible heights.

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-937366-11-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Narrow Way Press LLC

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2015

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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. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of...


Lifelong, conflicted friendship of two women is the premise of Hannah’s maudlin latest (Magic Hour, 2006, etc.), again set in Washington State.

Tallulah “Tully” Hart, father unknown, is the daughter of a hippie, Cloud, who makes only intermittent appearances in her life. Tully takes refuge with the family of her “best friend forever,” Kate Mularkey, who compares herself unfavorably with Tully, in regards to looks and charisma. In college, “TullyandKate” pledge the same sorority and major in communications. Tully has a life goal for them both: They will become network TV anchorwomen. Tully lands an internship at KCPO-TV in Seattle and finagles a producing job for Kate. Kate no longer wishes to follow Tully into broadcasting and is more drawn to fiction writing, but she hesitates to tell her overbearing friend. Meanwhile a love triangle blooms at KCPO: Hard-bitten, irresistibly handsome, former war correspondent Johnny is clearly smitten with Tully. Expecting rejection, Kate keeps her infatuation with Johnny secret. When Tully lands a reporting job with a Today-like show, her career shifts into hyperdrive. Johnny and Kate had started an affair once Tully moved to Manhattan, and when Kate gets pregnant with daughter Marah, they marry. Kate is content as a stay-at-home mom, but frets about being Johnny’s second choice and about her unrealized writing ambitions. Tully becomes Seattle’s answer to Oprah. She hires Johnny, which spells riches for him and Kate. But Kate’s buttons are fully depressed by pitched battles over slutwear and curfews with teenaged Marah, who idolizes her godmother Tully. In an improbable twist, Tully invites Kate and Marah to resolve their differences on her show, only to blindside Kate by accusing her, on live TV, of overprotecting Marah. The BFFs are sundered. Tully’s latest attempt to salvage Cloud fails: The incorrigible, now geriatric hippie absconds once more. Just as Kate develops a spine, she’s given some devastating news. Will the friends reconcile before it’s too late?

Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of poignancy.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-312-36408-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2007

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