Young love intensifies the action in this sequel.

THE FALLEN GATEKEEPERS

BOOK TWO IN THE GATEKEEPER'S SON SERIES

In this YA fantasy sequel to The Gatekeeper’s Son (2014), Fladmark’s heroes must meet the increasing threat of the reptilian Evil Ones.

James “Junya” Thompson is the teenage heir to his grandfather’s business empire. He was raised in Japan, but his family now lives in San Francisco, where he learned of the Gatekeepers—warrior women who can travel instantaneously to anywhere on Earth and between otherworldly realms. After being bitten by Bartholomew, the leader of the reptilian Evil Ones, James bonds with Shoko, a Gatekeeper his own age. She brings him to a hot spring near the Himalayas to treat his mostly healed, though still occasionally painful, wounds. The Kannushi, or high priest, of Izumo (Shoko’s world) believes that the residue of Bartholomew’s dark power is what allows James to travel as the Gatekeepers do. In the mountains, James and Shoko learn that the shaman of a nearby village has been killed by something the locals call “the Black Life-Stealing Fiend.” James senses that Evil Ones committed the murder, and Shoko determines that they’re targeting shamans who perform ceremonies near open gateways. Keeping the realm of the gods safe is her first priority; James, meanwhile, hopes to woo her, so he stays close, working to master the powers growing within him while also spending time with his best friend, Mack Anderson. Fladmark expands the emotional scope of the series when Shoko asks James early on, “Why do you want to be alone with me?” Teenage yearning is at the core of this sequel (“I ran my hand over her stomach, taut with muscle yet still soft”), but the book also maintains a philosophical edge: Shoko says that “expectations are the root of all turmoil,” and when a trendy new app is proposed to help quell the masses, James asks a room of overpaid businessmen, “If keeping people happy is the goal, then why not give everyone a fair share?” Action fans won’t be disappointed, though, as the heroes train a youthful army to battle the Evil Ones. Shoko’s late-stage epiphany sets up a potentially calamity-filled next installment.

Young love intensifies the action in this sequel.

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9937776-3-9

Page Count: 390

Publisher: The Shokunin Publishing Company

Review Posted Online: Oct. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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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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Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the...

FLY AWAY

Hannah’s sequel to Firefly Lane (2008) demonstrates that those who ignore family history are often condemned to repeat it.

When we last left Kate and Tully, the best friends portrayed in Firefly Lane, the friendship was on rocky ground. Now Kate has died of cancer, and Tully, whose once-stellar TV talk show career is in free fall, is wracked with guilt over her failure to be there for Kate until her very last days. Kate’s death has cemented the distrust between her husband, Johnny, and daughter Marah, who expresses her grief by cutting herself and dropping out of college to hang out with goth poet Paxton. Told mostly in flashbacks by Tully, Johnny, Marah and Tully’s long-estranged mother, Dorothy, aka Cloud, the story piles up disasters like the derailment of a high-speed train. Increasingly addicted to prescription sedatives and alcohol, Tully crashes her car and now hovers near death, attended by Kate’s spirit, as the other characters gather to see what their shortsightedness has wrought. We learn that Tully had tried to parent Marah after her father no longer could. Her hard-drinking decline was triggered by Johnny’s anger at her for keeping Marah and Paxton’s liaison secret. Johnny realizes that he only exacerbated Marah’s depression by uprooting the family from their Seattle home. Unexpectedly, Cloud, who rebuffed Tully’s every attempt to reconcile, also appears at her daughter’s bedside. Sixty-nine years old and finally sober, Cloud details for the first time the abusive childhood, complete with commitments to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments, that led to her life as a junkie lowlife and punching bag for trailer-trash men. Although powerful, Cloud’s largely peripheral story deflects focus away from the main conflict, as if Hannah was loath to tackle the intractable thicket in which she mired her main characters.

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the pages turning even as readers begin to resent being drawn into this masochistic morass.

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-57721-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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