This is a deeply human story, beautifully and compellingly told.

NO GODS, NO MONSTERS

In the first of a series, the monsters who have always lived among us emerge, endangered by prejudice, doubt, and at least one deadly, ancient cult.

Laina mourns the death of her estranged brother, Lincoln, lost to drug addiction and killed by a cop. Then a mysterious person sends her a video of the incident, which shows Lincoln transforming from wolf to man. When Laina tries to share the video online, the unedited version soon vanishes from the internet. Someone has revealed that animal shifters, witches, and other supernatural beings exist...but someone else seems dedicated to obscuring—or exterminating—that truth. As these so-called “monsters” consider the dangers of becoming more public, their allies must decide whether they, too, will take a stand and risk themselves as well. Calvin, a man with the power to move along the timeline of any parallel universe except his own, serves as a semiomniscient and flawed first-person witness to these events, even while greater powers observe him. As in Turnbull’s first novel, The Lesson (2019), the otherworldly aspects of the story act as a lens that brings the characters’ richly depicted lives and complex relationships into sharp focus. Despite her eldritch origins, it’s easy to sympathize with Sondra, a senator from St. Thomas and secret weredog, who longs for her missing parents and both loves and resents her adopted sister, Sonya, a blood-drinking and usually invisible creature hiding many secrets. The struggles of Laina’s girlfriend, Rebecca, a werewolf who has faced many losses and made many mistakes, are absorbing, as are the struggles of Laina’s husband, Ridley, an asexual trans man yearning for his parents’ approval even as he devotes himself to improving society through cooperative enterprise.

This is a deeply human story, beautifully and compellingly told.

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982603-72-4

Page Count: 350

Publisher: Blackstone

Review Posted Online: July 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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A deep and grimly whimsical exploration of what it means to be a son, a father, and an artist.

THE SWALLOWED MAN

A retelling of Pinocchio from Geppetto's point of view.

The novel purports to be the memoirs of Geppetto, a carpenter from the town of Collodi, written in the belly of a vast fish that has swallowed him. Fortunately for Geppetto, the fish has also engulfed a ship, and its supplies—fresh water, candles, hardtack, captain’s logbook, ink—are what keep the Swallowed Man going. (Collodi is, of course, the name of the author of the original Pinocchio.) A misfit whose loneliness is equaled only by his drive to make art, Geppetto scours his surroundings for supplies, crafting sculptures out of pieces of the ship’s wood, softened hardtack, mussel shells, and his own hair, half hoping and half fearing to create a companion once again that will come to life. He befriends a crab that lives all too briefly in his beard, then mourns when “she” dies. Alone in the dark, he broods over his past, reflecting on his strained relationship with his father and his harsh treatment of his own “son”—Pinocchio, the wooden puppet that somehow came to life. In true Carey fashion, the author illustrates the novel with his own images of his protagonist’s art: sketches of Pinocchio, of woodworking tools, of the women Geppetto loved; photos of driftwood, of tintypes, of a sculpted self-portrait with seaweed hair. For all its humor, the novel is dark and claustrophobic, and its true subject is the responsibilities of creators. Remembering the first time he heard of the sea monster that was to swallow him, Geppetto wonders if the monster is somehow connected to Pinocchio: “The unnatural child had so thrown the world off-balance that it must be righted at any cost, and perhaps the only thing with the power to right it was a gigantic sea monster, born—I began to suppose this—just after I cracked the world by making a wooden person.” Later, contemplating his self-portrait bust, Geppetto asks, “Monster of the deep. Am I, then, the monster? Do I nightmare myself?”

A deep and grimly whimsical exploration of what it means to be a son, a father, and an artist.

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-18887-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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A gripping revenge story with enough twists to avoid becoming formulaic.

LORE

To get revenge for her family’s murder seven years ago, Lore must reenter a deadly contest from her past.

Leaving the conflict of gods and their hunters behind, Lore thought she had forged a new life. However, the Agon has begun again and brought with it an injured Athena, who promises her revenge on the one who ordered her family killed—in exchange for an oath binding their fates together. Lore must hunt down the god once known as Aristos Kadmou, with the catch that she only has eight days. Also, failure means the deaths of both Lore and Athena. Depictions of graphic violence and discussions of sexual assault are frequent, creating a tale as violent and unforgiving as its source material, albeit narrated through a feminist lens. Much like the heroes of ancient epics, Lore is a morally ambiguous but ultimately likable character, struggling to eliminate the monsters of her world while not falling into the brutality of her youth. She is contrasted with the idealistic Castor, her childhood friend and love interest, with whom she has plenty of chemistry. Bracken builds a rich world around a skeleton of ancient Greek mythology that is perfect to read on a dull weekend and sure to delight readers. Most main characters are cued as White; there are two men of color, both gay.

A gripping revenge story with enough twists to avoid becoming formulaic. (cast of characters) (Fantasy. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4847-7820-3

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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