Best advice to fans of Book 1: read this one, wait—and hope.

READ REVIEW

TRINITY RISING

From the Wild Hunt series , Vol. 2

Follow-up to Songs of the Earth (2012), the author’s promising fantasy debut.

Cooper adopts multiple narratives as she first generously fills in and recaps the back story before moving forward. Naturally, a MacGuffin, known as the starseed, is involved. Malevolent renegade Guardian Savin plots with a mysterious dark power to destroy the Veil separating the world from the Hidden Kingdom. Gair, the previous book’s protagonist, despite an all but irresistible urge to challenge Savin and still grieving over the loss of his lover and soul mate, has little to do until the latter stages, when he accompanies wise old Guardian Alderan to the desert kingdoms. In the north, Drwyn has ambitions to become Chief of Chiefs of the nomad tribes and reclaim the territories lost to the Empire when they were defeated 1,000 years ago. To ensure Drwyn’s success, Speaker Ytha unleashes her magic to gain the assistance of the imprisoned death-goddess, Maegern. Teia, Drwyn’s unwilling bed warmer, endures rape and beatings at his hands—but she does discover she has magic powers perhaps strong enough to defy Ytha. Emperor Theodegrance, having long abandoned the border fortresses, finds it impossible to believe that the nomads once again pose a threat. And old, ailing Preceptor Ansel of the Eadorian Knights, anticipating terrible battles to come, seeks to broaden the intake of the novices, to the outrage of conservative factions within the church. This vast expansion in the story’s scope comes not without cost to focus and intensity, though Cooper maintains the quality of her characters and writing. Still, readers may find the switch to plotlines that invariably end in irresolute cliffhangers disconcerting and maybe disappointing.

Best advice to fans of Book 1: read this one, wait—and hope.

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7653-3166-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Dec. 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If nothing else, you have to giggle over how this novel’s namesake, who held vicious white supremacist opinions, must be...

LOVECRAFT COUNTRY

Some very nice, very smart African-Americans are plunged into netherworlds of malevolent sorcery in the waning days of Jim Crow—as if Jim Crow alone wasn’t enough of a curse to begin with.

In the northern U.S. of the mid-1950s, as depicted in this merrily macabre pastiche by Ruff (The Mirage, 2012, etc.), Driving While Black is an even more perilous proposition than it is now. Ask Atticus Turner, an African-American Korean War veteran and science-fiction buff, who is compelled to face an all-too-customary gauntlet of racist highway patrolmen and hostile white roadside hamlets en route from his South Side Chicago home to a remote Massachusetts village in search of his curmudgeonly father, Montrose, who was lured away by a young white “sharp dresser” driving a silver Cadillac with tinted windows. At least Atticus isn’t alone; his uncle George, who puts out annual editions of The Safe Negro Travel Guide, is splitting driving duties in his Packard station wagon “with inlaid birch trim and side paneling.” Also along for the ride is Atticus’ childhood friend Letitia Dandridge, another sci-fi fan, whose family lived in the same neighborhood as the Turners. It turns out this road trip is merely the beginning of a series of bizarre chimerical adventures ensnaring both the Turner and Dandridge clans in ancient rituals, arcane magical texts, alternate universes, and transmogrifying potions, all of which bears some resemblance to the supernatural visions of H.P. Lovecraft and other gothic dream makers of the past. Ruff’s ripping yarns often pile on contrivances and overextend the narratives in the grand manner of pulp storytelling, but the reinvented mythos here seems to have aroused in him a newfound empathy and engagement with his characters.

If nothing else, you have to giggle over how this novel’s namesake, who held vicious white supremacist opinions, must be doing triple axels in his grave at the way his imagination has been so impudently shaken and stirred.

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-229206-3

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

A charming and persuasive entry that will leave readers impatiently awaiting the concluding volume.

A BLIGHT OF BLACKWINGS

Book 2 of Hearne's latest fantasy trilogy, The Seven Kennings (A Plague of Giants, 2017), set in a multiracial world thrust into turmoil by an invasion of peculiar giants.

In this world, most races have their own particular magical endowment, or “kenning,” though there are downsides to trying to gain the magic (an excellent chance of being killed instead) and using it (rapid aging and death). Most recently discovered is the sixth kenning, whose beneficiaries can talk to and command animals. The story canters along, although with multiple first-person narrators, it's confusing at times. Some characters are familiar, others are new, most of them with their own problems to solve, all somehow caught up in the grand design. To escape her overbearing father and the unreasoning violence his kind represents, fire-giant Olet Kanek leads her followers into the far north, hoping to found a new city where the races and kennings can peacefully coexist. Joining Olet are young Abhinava Khose, discoverer of the sixth kenning, and, later, Koesha Gansu (kenning: air), captain of an all-female crew shipwrecked by deep-sea monsters. Elsewhere, Hanima, who commands hive insects, struggles to free her city from the iron grip of wealthy, callous merchant monarchists. Other threads focus on the Bone Giants, relentless invaders seeking the still-unknown seventh kenning, whose confidence that this can defeat the other six is deeply disturbing. Under Hearne's light touch, these elements mesh perfectly, presenting an inventive, eye-filling panorama; satisfying (and, where appropriate, well-resolved) plotlines; and tensions between the races and their kennings to supply much of the drama.

A charming and persuasive entry that will leave readers impatiently awaiting the concluding volume.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-345-54857-3

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more