Another full-immersion experience and, once again, strictly for addicts.



From the A Song of Ice and Fire series , Vol. 4

Another gargantuan entry, the fourth in the Song of Ice and Fire series—indeed, while writing it Martin found the undertaking growing so vast and unwieldy that he spit the action into two novels, so A Dance with Dragons runs concurrently and features characters and locations barely mentioned here. The action picks up directly following the events of A Storm of Swords (2000).

The setting resembles a Medieval Europe where magic works, and every petty monarch nurses ambitions of empire—and behaves accordingly. Narrative complexity is an end in itself, with the plot unfolding from a dozen different points of view. Some of the highlights: In King's Landing, following the murder of young King Joffrey Baratheon, Joffrey's eight-year-old brother Tommen now rules, although the real power is his scheming mother, Queen Regent Cersei Lannister. Having successfully intrigued her way to power, however, Cersei proves a less than effective ruler, drinking heavily, surrounding herself with sycophants and becoming estranged from her brother and former lover Jaime. Another brother, Tyrion the dwarf, who apparently murdered both their father Tywin and Joffrey, has escaped the dungeons and vanished. In the Iron Islands, the priest Aeron Damphair calls a Kingsmoot to elect a successor to King Balon Greyjoy; Damphair's brother, Euron Greyjoy, ignites the Islanders' perennial dreams of conquest by claiming that he can control dragons. Sword-maid Brienne of Tarth pursues her quest to find the missing Sansa Stark, while Arya Stark arrives in Braavos and drifts to the House of Black and White, a temple dedicated to the Faceless Men assassin cult. One of Martin's real innovations is his willingness to kill off important characters—but don't worry, with a cast of thousands, there are always thousands more. The best characters are carefully nuanced, though too many others blend into the backdrop, so the near 60-page-long who's who is little help in sorting them out; still others indulge in long, intricate, mannered conversations that serve to advance the plot—if you have the faintest clue what's going on in the first place.

Another full-immersion experience and, once again, strictly for addicts.

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-553-58203-1

Page Count: 784

Publisher: Spectra/Bantam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A thrilling and satisfying sequel to the 1969 classic.


Over 50 years after an extraterrestrial microbe wiped out a small Arizona town, something very strange has appeared in the Amazon jungle in Wilson’s follow-up to Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain.

The microparticle's introduction to Earth in 1967 was the disastrous result of an American weapons research program. Before it could be contained, Andromeda killed all but two people in tiny Piedmont, Arizona; during testing after the disaster, AS-1 evolved and escaped into the atmosphere. Project Eternal Vigilance was quickly set up to scan for any possible new outbreaks of Andromeda. Now, an anomaly with “signature peaks” closely resembling the original Andromeda Strain has been spotted in the heart of the Amazon, and a Wildfire Alert is issued. A diverse team is assembled: Nidhi Vedala, an MIT nanotechnology expert born in a Mumbai slum; Harold Odhiambo, a Kenyan xenogeologist; Peng Wu, a Chinese doctor and taikonaut; Sophie Kline, a paraplegic astronaut and nanorobotics expert based on the International Space Station; and, a last-minute addition, roboticist James Stone, son of Dr. Jeremy Stone from The Andromeda Strain. They must journey into the deepest part of the jungle to study and hopefully contain the dire threat that the anomaly seemingly poses to humanity. But the jungle has its own dangers, and it’s not long before distrust and suspicion grip the team. They’ll need to come together to take on what waits for them inside a mysterious structure that may not be of this world. Setting the story over the course of five days, Wilson (Robopocalypse, 2011, etc.) combines the best elements of hard SF novels and techno-thrillers, using recovered video, audio, and interview transcripts to shape the narrative, with his own robotics expertise adding flavor and heft. Despite a bit of acronym overload, this is an atmospheric and often terrifying roller-coaster ride with (literally) sky-high stakes that pays plenty of homage to The Andromeda Strain while also echoing the spirit and mood of Crichton’s other works, such as Jurassic Park and Congo. Add more than a few twists and exciting set pieces (especially in the finale) to the mix, and you’ve got a winner.

A thrilling and satisfying sequel to the 1969 classic.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247327-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


This future space fantasy might start an underground craze.

It feeds on the shades of Edgar Rice Burroughs (the Martian series), Aeschylus, Christ and J.R. Tolkien. The novel has a closed system of internal cross-references, and features a glossary, maps and appendices dealing with future religions and ecology. Dune itself is a desert planet where a certain spice liquor is mined in the sands; the spice is a supremely addictive narcotic and control of its distribution means control of the universe. This at a future time when the human race has reached a point of intellectual stagnation. What is needed is a Messiah. That's our hero, called variously Paul, then Muad'Dib (the One Who Points the Way), then Kwisatz Haderach (the space-time Messiah). Paul, who is a member of the House of Atreides (!), suddenly blooms in his middle teens with an ability to read the future and the reader too will be fascinated with the outcome of this projection.

With its bug-eyed monsters, one might think Dune was written thirty years ago; it has a fantastically complex schemata and it should interest advanced sci-fi devotees.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1965

ISBN: 0441013597

Page Count: 411

Publisher: Chilton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1965

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet