An engrossing SF tale that aptly solidifies a dense saga.


From the Scion Saga series , Vol. 2

Teenagers with supernatural abilities band together in the face of threats in this second installment of a series.

Sixteen-year-old Adam Rozovsky is one of the Descendants, who boast paranormal abilities. Adam can control wind while his girlfriend, Carly Wit, manipulates fire. Unfortunately, the Iksha, a group of scientists seemingly intent on “harnessing” the Descendants’ traits, have been experimenting on and sometimes killing them. Adam, Carly, and other Descendants are currently hiding in the city of Piure. Sorceress Ksenyia Levkin tries to protect everyone by hexing the entire city to prevent enemies from entering. In some ways, the Descendants are quintessential teens, attending high school and eagerly anticipating the prom. But they must remain on guard, particularly after it’s apparent that a traitor among them is feeding information to the Iksha and, later, that a spy has somehow made it inside Piure. But perhaps most unnerving are the changes Carly notices in Adam. He exhibits unusual behavior that he subsequently forgets, leading Carly to speculate that his personality has split. Looking for a solution to her boyfriend’s condition, Carly stumbles on a shocking discovery that may mean the Descendants’ shielded city is not the safe haven they believe it to be. This SF sequel picks up right after the series opener, with a thoroughly established plot and myriad characters. Readers unfamiliar with the first volume may initially be confused, but Leigh-Reign’s (Opaque, 2016) crisp dialogue is simultaneously entertaining and brimming with details. Despite the Descendants’ powers and a blatant comparison to Marvel’s X-Men, the story offers minimal action, as the teens’ abilities are primarily on display during a tournament. Nevertheless, characters’ many interactions spark searing melodrama as well as suspense. There’s a lingering distrust, for example, with the presence of a potential mole while an eventual betrayal threatens more than one relationship. Moreover, the author adds a twist before the halfway point and another during the final act, which unquestionably sets up Book 3.

An engrossing SF tale that aptly solidifies a dense saga.

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9979239-1-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Cayelle Publishing/Surge

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2019

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The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...


Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in White society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so Black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her White persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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