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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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

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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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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