A relatable protagonist, a believable journey of self-discovery, and a wild SF world.


In this SF sequel, a young woman’s belief that superheroes do more harm than good takes a dark turn.  

When Alyssa Henson arrives by taxi to the Pacific Coast city of Olympus, where she’s about to start a job as a dental hygienist, she’s annoyed by the reason traffic is at a standstill. Crowds are staring up at the sky, where superheroes Ultra Woman, Mr. Amazing, and Fantastic Man—collectively known as the Terrific Trio—are battling evil unicorns. The sight of a little girl, whose gawking parents are oblivious to their daughter’s precarious perch on a rail overlooking the ocean, just proves Alyssa’s sincere argument that showboating superheroes make the world more perilous, not less. And what if the increase in supervillainy is directly related to the rise of crime fighters with superpowers? (“No weird creatures ever bothered the Earth before superheroes became a thing,” she’s convinced.) Sherrier’s sequel to his creative YA SF novel The Flying Woman (2018) revisits an imaginative world where contemporary city life gets transformed by alternative dimensions and select human beings’ sudden acquisitions of random, unearthly powers. The author’s world is not only outrageously wacky (supervillain powers are reflected in such names as The Candelabra, The Fish Slayer, and The Looking Glass, and an upside-down dimension is peopled by sentient monkeys), but chillingly dark as well. Innocent people are injured and killed during attacks and battles, deliberately and inadvertently, and archsupervillain Doctor Hades’ torture lab is a nightmare. Yet the sequel is also thoughtfully rooted in the realistic emotional journeys of Alyssa and her friends, some of whom have their own secrets. Alyssa’s estrangement from her parents is all too understandable; so is the fact that dreams unrealized have affected her and her best friend, Miranda. When Alyssa’s painful encounter with a zombie unicorn’s horn gives her the potential to eliminate superpowers from both villains and heroes, leading to a disturbing moral dilemma, she must wrestle with what she is in danger of becoming herself. In the end, how Alyssa fares comes in tandem with the explosive disappearance of a few main characters, a welcome hint that there is more to come for the inhabitants of Sherrier’s Olympus and beyond.

A relatable protagonist, a believable journey of self-discovery, and a wild SF world.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2022

ISBN: 979-8-40144-724-1

Page Count: 362

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: April 6, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 79

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller


Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

Remarkable, revelatory and not to be missed.


From the Remembrance of Earth's Past series , Vol. 1

Strange and fascinating alien-contact yarn, the first of a trilogy from China’s most celebrated science-fiction author.

In 1967, at the height of the Cultural Revolution, young physicist Ye Wenjie helplessly watches as fanatical Red Guards beat her father to death. She ends up in a remote re-education (i.e. forced labor) camp not far from an imposing, top secret military installation called Red Coast Base. Eventually, Ye comes to work at Red Coast as a lowly technician, but what really goes on there? Weapons research, certainly, but is it also listening for signals from space—maybe even signaling in return? Another thread picks up the story 40 years later, when nanomaterials researcher Wang Miao and thuggish but perceptive policeman Shi Qiang, summoned by a top-secret international (!) military commission, learn of a war so secret and mysterious that the military officers will give no details. Of more immediate concern is a series of inexplicable deaths, all prominent scientists, including the suicide of Yang Dong, the physicist daughter of Ye Wenjie; the scientists were involved with the shadowy group Frontiers of Science. Wang agrees to join the group and investigate and soon must confront events that seem to defy the laws of physics. He also logs on to a highly sophisticated virtual reality game called “Three Body,” set on a planet whose unpredictable and often deadly environment alternates between Stable times and Chaotic times. And he meets Ye Wenjie, rehabilitated and now a retired professor. Ye begins to tell Wang what happened more than 40 years ago. Jaw-dropping revelations build to a stunning conclusion. In concept and development, it resembles top-notch Arthur C. Clarke or Larry Niven but with a perspective—plots, mysteries, conspiracies, murders, revelations and all—embedded in a culture and politic dramatically unfamiliar to most readers in the West, conveniently illuminated with footnotes courtesy of translator Liu.

Remarkable, revelatory and not to be missed.

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7653-7706-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet