Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

AT THE END OF EVERYTHING

From the The Revelation Trilogy series , Vol. 2

This propulsive, gripping sequel focuses on a hero’s quest to find personal justice.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

This second installment of an epic fantasy follows a young man through war and intrigue.

In When Darkness Descends (2020), the first volume in Lücke’s series, Tom Anderson of Earth used the mystical “eyes of lost souls” to travel to Enthilen in the world of Ostamp in search of his grandmother’s murderer. Predictably, he immediately plunged into a series of escapades in Enthilen and beyond, gathering a small group of friends and allies (including the valiant warrior Athalee “Thaly” of Bagendon, the trollish stone-grell Grin, and the impish “mouldewerp” Dwarrow) and amassing a rogues’ gallery of enemies, including Enthilen’s banished former king, Malphas. Book 1 ended on an old-fashioned cliffhanger. Tom’s friends rescued him in the nick of time from human sacrifice, and the whole band leapt off a cliff to the improbable safety of the dark waters below. This second volume picks up right where the previous one left off, but the author very smoothly prefaces the main narrative with a fairly involving synopsis in the unlikely event that readers are starting the series here. Certainly, Lücke doesn’t pause any longer than this for readers new or old. The story takes off like a shot and keeps churning, with Tom being instantly separated from his friends at sea. He lands desperate and alone in a remote Enthilen fishing village, with Thaly and Grin believing him drowned. The tale that unfolds is full of adventures and political intrigue, with more typical fantasy elements deliberately downplayed (“People spend way too much time bewitched by the promise of divine enchantment and not enough time in wonder of the real magic all around them,” one characters says, in a comment that might also serve as a mild rebuke to fantasy fans). Lücke does a skillful job of bringing the intricate politics of his broader plot into sharp, personal focus, mainly through well-drawn secondary characters like Thaly’s mother, Emelin. The riveting story is a sure-fire treat for Game of Thrones fans.

This propulsive, gripping sequel focuses on a hero’s quest to find personal justice.

Pub Date: July 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-64-882072-7

Page Count: 594

Publisher: With Distinction Consultants

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

FOURTH WING

From the Empyrean series , Vol. 1

Read this for the action-packed plot, not character development or worldbuilding.

On the orders of her mother, a woman goes to dragon-riding school.

Even though her mother is a general in Navarre’s army, 20-year-old Violet Sorrengail was raised by her father to follow his path as a scribe. After his death, though, Violet's mother shocks her by forcing her to enter the elite and deadly dragon rider academy at Basgiath War College. Most students die at the War College: during training sessions, at the hands of their classmates, or by the very dragons they hope to one day be paired with. From Day One, Violet is targeted by her classmates, some because they hate her mother, others because they think she’s too physically frail to succeed. She must survive a daily gauntlet of physical challenges and the deadly attacks of classmates, which she does with the help of secret knowledge handed down by her two older siblings, who'd been students there before her. Violet is at the mercy of the plot rather than being in charge of it, hurtling through one obstacle after another. As a result, the story is action-packed and fast-paced, but Violet is a strange mix of pure competence and total passivity, always managing to come out on the winning side. The book is categorized as romantasy, with Violet pulled between the comforting love she feels from her childhood best friend, Dain Aetos, and the incendiary attraction she feels for family enemy Xaden Riorson. However, the way Dain constantly undermines Violet's abilities and his lack of character development make this an unconvincing storyline. The plots and subplots aren’t well-integrated, with the first half purely focused on Violet’s training, followed by a brief detour for romance, and then a final focus on outside threats.

Read this for the action-packed plot, not character development or worldbuilding.

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9781649374042

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Red Tower

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2024

Close Quickview