A vision of the future that’s both harrowing and endlessly entertaining.

Shadow of the Hare

From the Recall Chronicles series , Vol. 2

A woman witnesses atrocities in her personal life and the world around her throughout the 21st and 22nd centuries in Birdwell’s (Way of the Serpent, 2015) dystopian novel.

Malia Poole’s love of books makes working at a bookshop an obvious choice, even in mid-21st century after print copies are no longer mass produced. She’s one of the Vintagonists, individuals who believe in preserving old things and have formed an alliance with like-minded factions collectively known as Recall. The U.S. having succumbed to plutocracy, Recall operates covertly but still falls prey to raids from plutocrats’ agents. When agents storm a music venue, Malia’s lover, Eliomar “Lio” Gaston, gets a message to her in time to flee, but he and his sister, Zelda, disappear. Malia herself ducks away in a community run by Simpletons—a self-deprecating name signifying the group’s minimalist movement. By the time she returns home, both Malia and the world have changed. She, for one, has stopped taking age-preventative Chulel, which notoriously causes memory loss, and is visibly older among the drug-induced young. But despite retaining more memories than others, Malia can’t remember a two-year period when she was a teen. Filling in that blank takes her to Nigeria, where she learns of a virus outbreak that prompts global power outages and a peace treaty–defying war. The novel is rich in its futuristic environment. Corporations taking over, for example, is a frighteningly believable concept, while the story’s technology is progressive and fashionable: the digilet is essentially a flexible smartphone that can be worn as a bracelet. There’s likewise instantly comprehensible slang, including expletives such as F-bomb surrogate “zujo.” A highlight is “cush,” touching the digilet’s pliable surface, and a term Malia eventually realizes is outmoded. There are instances where the protagonist is a mere spectator, unaware of what’s going on. She is, however, a woman of mystery, and details of her “blank period” are shocking and catalytic (she’s searching for someone in Nigeria). Tie-ins to the series’ first installment are clever, opening with the same scene as the preceding novel from an alternate perspective.

A vision of the future that’s both harrowing and endlessly entertaining.

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5330-9576-3

Page Count: 234

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2016

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.


Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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