A bevy of rich characters, plot twists, and possible paths for future books.

The Deadbringer

From the The Ellderet Series series , Vol. 1

A teenage boy who’s able to summon souls and revive corpses flees with his uncle from those seeking to eliminate his kind in the first installment of debut author Markoff’s fantasy series.

Years ago, people in the Land of Moenda endured the Purging, in which the ruling members of the Ascendancy sent Sanctifiers to kill the powerful Deadbringers, who can bring dead people back to life. But although the Ascendancy has full power in the South, the Bastion controls the North, and its agents have been covertly protecting a surviving Deadbringer: 15-year-old Kira Vidal, who lives in the city of Opulancae, working as a mortician and headstone carver at his uncle Eutau’s funeral parlor. He’s also been helping Bastion agents track down a killer. That assistance, however, leads to an attack from a Kataru, an elite warrior, during which Kira is forced to defend himself by reanimating and commanding corpses. As a result, the Ascendancy gets wind of his existence, so Kira and Eutau go on the run. The Sanctifiers soon figure out Kira’s possible destination: the Southern city of Florinia. Meanwhile, a curious woman named Daemeon visits Kira in his dreams and offers him a guide for his arduous trek—a young girl named Teemo. Along the way, Kira learns several secrets, including a few life-changing ones that his uncle’s been keeping from him. In their travels, they encounter a motley batch of characters, including a wounded man named Lyse. Kira digests new information on Moenda history and the full extent of Deadbringers’ capabilities. Overall, Kira’s journey becomes more about discovery than outrunning Sanctifiers, and the author packs her novel with intrigue; for example, Kira suspects that maybe Teemo may be more than she seems. There are also shocking reveals, such as the fact that Eutau may know more about Kira’s long-gone father than he lets on. Perhaps best of all, Markoff’s setting is engagingly ambiguous—the specific year and exact location are unknown, giving the narrative a timeless quality. That, coupled with an impending Bastion/Ascendancy confrontation, should make the series’ next installment tempting for readers.

A bevy of rich characters, plot twists, and possible paths for future books.

Pub Date: May 22, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9971951-0-1

Page Count: 298

Publisher: Tomes & Coffee Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2016

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

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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