Despite strong prose, this fantasy tale is ultimately undone by its overly familiar plot and distractingly peculiar names.

In Siege of Daylight

BOOK ONE IN THE COMPENDIUM OF LIGHT, DARK & SHADOW

In Close’s debut novel, the first in a new epic fantasy series, a young apprentice to the king’s bard suddenly finds himself going to the royal court with his master due to a number of strange occurrences.

After Calvraign’s father died saving the king’s life, King Guillaume gave his rescuer’s son the honor of being trained by his bard, Brohan. For years, Brohan taught him stories of chivalry and prophecy and trained him in battle strategy and politics, preparing him for adulthood at court. Soon after dark forces begin to rise in the kingdom, Brohan brings Calvraign—at his mother’s behest—to the king, and they’re followed by Callagh, a feisty young huntress whose fierce skills are matched only by her love for Calvraign. Over the course of the novel, Close weaves an epic tale involving a huge cast of characters, including other knights, villains and supernatural creatures, cutting among various points of view in a manner reminiscent of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Eventually, revelations also transpire that reveal just why this boy’s well-being has been so important to Guillaume. Close’s greatest strength is his prose, which brings this world to life with a literary sensibility that stands out in a sea of standard, boilerplate fantasy novels. If only the plot were as impressive as the words that detail it. Despite the often beautiful writing, the story struggles to distinguish itself from other tales in the genre. Furthermore, Close has decided to populate his novel with names for characters, mystical creatures and places that are needlessly complex—Dwynleigsh, Feylobhar, Lyaeyni Meimniyl, Ryaleyr, Raogmyztsanogg, T’nkh’t’chk, Qal Jir’aatu, etc. As the list of unpronounceable names grows, it often prevents readers from emotionally engaging with the story.

Despite strong prose, this fantasy tale is ultimately undone by its overly familiar plot and distractingly peculiar names.

Pub Date: May 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-0988852013

Page Count: 618

Publisher: Gregory S. Close

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2013

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

A WEEK AT THE SHORE

A middle-aged woman returns to her childhood home to care for her ailing father, confronting many painful secrets from her past.

When Mallory Aldiss gets a call from a long-ago boyfriend telling her that her elderly father has been gallivanting around town with a gun in his hand, Mallory decides it’s time to return to the small Rhode Island town that she’s been avoiding for more than a decade. Mallory’s precocious 13-year-old daughter, Joy, is thrilled that she'll get to meet her grandfather at long last, and an aunt, too, and she'll finally see the place where her mother grew up. When they arrive in Bay Bluff, it’s barely a few hours before Mallory bumps into her old flame, Jack, the only man she’s ever really loved. Gone is the rebellious young person she remembers, and in his place stands a compassionate, accomplished adult. As they try to reconnect, Mallory realizes that the same obstacle that pushed them apart decades earlier is still standing in their way: Jack blames Mallory’s father for his mother’s death. No one knows exactly how Jack’s mother died, but Jack thinks a love affair between her and Mallory’s father had something to do with it. As Jack and Mallory chase down answers, Mallory also tries to repair her rocky relationships with her two sisters and determine why her father has always been so hard on her. Told entirely from Mallory’s perspective, the novel has a haunting, nostalgic quality. Despite the complex and overlapping layers to the history of Bay Bluff and its inhabitants, the book at times trudges too slowly through Mallory’s meanderings down Memory Lane. Even so, Delinsky sometimes manages to pick up the pace, and in those moments the beauty and nuance of this complicated family tale shine through. Readers who don’t mind skimming past details that do little to advance the plot may find that the juicier nuggets and realistically rendered human connections are worth the effort.

A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11951-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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