A richly detailed, compelling story about the power of love.

READ REVIEW

READER

DAUGHTER OF TIME: BOOK 1

An original take on various sci-fi motifs that meditates on themes of love and humanity.

Traversing time and space, Stebbins’ space opera follows the long journey of a singularly gifted Earth girl named Ambra Dawn, who might just be the savior of the entire universe. Even as a young girl among humans, Ambra was different. Odd and strange, she possessed an ability coveted by all alien species: a gift to see the future and the past, the result of a tumor growing in her brain. Unbeknownst to the inhabitants of Earth, an insectlike alien race called the Dram rules from the shadows. Influencing culture and politics, they’re here to guide human evolution toward producing Readers—those, like Ambra, who possess the ability to guide Dram ships through the Orbs. With tendrils reaching out, Orbs allow for instantaneous space travel, but what the Orbs truly are is unknown and debated. Ambra’s idyllic life in farm country is destroyed when humans working for the Dram come and take her. In an institution, she’s tested, beaten and experimented on. Horrific surgeries mutilate and blind her, and her skull is removed to give her tumor room to grow. The only escape Ambra has is to travel through time, back into history on her own to learn and experience life. But, since the Dram don’t realize she has surpassed every other Reader in terms of power and ability, Ambra is taken from Earth and sold into slavery. Stebbins does an exceptional job creating unique, detailed alien races, from the dreadful, cruel Dram to the octopuslike Sortax who live in water and the Xix, who rescue Ambra from enslavement. Long, lean, four-armed, intelligent and kind, the Xix work to prevent cruelty against the lesser races. Two Xixians, Waythrel and Thel, are especially strong alien characters who act as guides for Ambra, helping her develop her abilities. Although the first half of the novel suffers from too much telling and too little action, the second half comes alive. Ambra, able to travel through Orbs like no one before, takes on the Dram in a dramatic conflict that leads to her facing the Dram emperor. In order to free the universe of the Dram scourge, Ambra must make a heart-wrenching choice: the universe or Earth. Eventually, the novel takes a slightly odd turn toward metafiction, as Ambra informs the reader that they, too, have a part in saving the Earth.

A richly detailed, compelling story about the power of love.

Pub Date: May 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0989000444

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Twice Pi Press

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2013

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

GHOSTED

In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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THE STARLESS SEA

A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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