The complexity deepens in this kaleidoscopic adventure series.

FOURTH CHRONICLES OF ILLUMINATION

This latest installment of a YA saga places teen Librarians in the ultimate battle against sinister forces.

Eighteen-year-old Johanna Charette and 17-year-old Jackson Roth are co-curators of the Library of Illumination, where characters from books come to life. Their workplace is part of an interdimensional system of 13 Libraries, currently under siege by the militant Nero 51 of the realm Terroria. The tentacled dictator has invaded the realms of Mysteriose, Romantica, and Juvenilia (among others) to bring every Library under his bland control. His plan includes forcing the citizenry of these worlds into work camps and kidnapping the curators. But when he captures Johanna, he also grabs Cameron Thorne, dean of English at Cranford University, and Ophelia, a white kitten. On Earth (Fantasia), Jackson hopes to contact Johanna by writing to her in her magical diary. He’s consumed with worry for her and skips out on the Exeter High senior prom, which darkens the fates of his girlfriend, Emily Brent, and his friends Logan Elliott and Cassie Turner. Meanwhile, the hu*bots of Adventura must prevent solar storms from destroying their planet. Later, Master Ryden Simmdry and Pru Tellerence, both deans of the Prime Realm, reveal a startling secret that may help Johanna survive the final battle with the time-hopping Nero 51. In this epic excursion across the Illuminated worlds, Pack (Third Chronicles of Illumination, 2017, etc.) chops her story into fine bits—sometimes a single paragraph long—to cover the action on all fronts. Even her sharpest fans may need to reference the character index in the novel’s rear—though Thor, God of Thunder and Buffalo Bill Cody should need no reintroduction. Amid this detailed, often hectic sci-fi narrative, the plot threads of Pack’s high schoolers remain the most compelling. The Terrorians’ fear of cats is hilarious, but the drama wrought by Logan’s obsession with becoming a successful news intern—and reporting the Library to the world—is exceptional. Longtime readers may miss the intimacy of earlier volumes but should brace themselves for the darkest, most rewarding installment yet.

The complexity deepens in this kaleidoscopic adventure series.

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9979084-6-6

Page Count: 344

Publisher: Artiqua Press

Review Posted Online: March 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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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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A steamy, glitzy, and tender tale of college intrigue.

THE CHASE

From the Briar U series

In this opener to Kennedy’s (Hot & Bothered, 2017, etc.) Briar U romance series, two likable students keep getting their signals crossed.

Twenty-one-year-old Summer Heyward-Di Laurentis is expelled from Brown University in the middle of her junior year because she was responsible for a fire at the Kappa Beta Nu sorority house. Fortunately, her father has connections, so she’s now enrolled in Briar University, a prestigious institution about an hour outside Boston. But as she’s about to move into Briar’s Kappa Beta Nu house, she’s asked to leave by the sisters, who don’t want her besmirching their reputation. Her older brother Dean, who’s a former Briar hockey star, comes to her rescue; his buddies, who are still on the hockey team, need a fourth roommate for their townhouse. Three good-looking hockey jocks and a very rich, gorgeous fashion major under the same roof—what could go wrong? Summer becomes quickly infatuated with one of her housemates: Dean’s best friend Colin “Fitzy” Fitzgerald. There’s a definite spark between them, and they exchange smoldering looks, but the tattooed Fitzy, who’s also a video game reviewer and designer, is an introvert who prefers no “drama” in his life. Summer, however, is a charming extrovert, although she has an inferiority complex about her flagging scholastic acumen. As the story goes on, the pair seem to misinterpret each other’s every move. Meanwhile, another roommate and potential suitor, Hunter Davenport, is waiting in the wings. Kennedy’s novel is full of sex, alcohol, and college-level profanity, but it never becomes formulaic. The author adroitly employs snappy dialogue, steady pacing, and humor, as in a scene at a runway fashion show featuring Briar jocks parading in Summer-designed swimwear. The book also manages to touch on some serious subjects, including learning disabilities and abusive behavior by faculty members. Summer and Fitzy’s repeated stumbles propel the plot through engaging twists and turns; the characters trade off narrating the story, which gives each of them a chance to reveal some substance.

A steamy, glitzy, and tender tale of college intrigue.    

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-72482-199-7

Page Count: 372

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

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