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

AT THE END OF EVERYTHING

From the The Revelation Trilogy series , Vol. 2

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 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

FAIRY TALE

Narnia on the Penobscot: a grand, and naturally strange, entertainment from the ever prolific King.

What’s a person to do when sheltering from Covid? In King’s case, write something to entertain himself while reflecting on what was going on in the world outside—ravaged cities, contentious politics, uncertainty. King’s yarn begins in a world that’s recognizably ours, and with a familiar trope: A young woman, out to buy fried chicken, is mashed by a runaway plumber’s van, sending her husband into an alcoholic tailspin and her son into a preadolescent funk, driven “bugfuck” by a father who “was always trying to apologize.” The son makes good by rescuing an elderly neighbor who’s fallen off a ladder, though he protests that the man’s equally elderly German shepherd, Radar, was the true hero. Whatever the case, Mr. Bowditch has an improbable trove of gold in his Bates Motel of a home, and its origin seems to lie in a shed behind the house, one that Mr. Bowditch warns the boy away from: “ ‘Don’t go in there,’ he said. ‘You may in time, but for now don’t even think of it.’ ” It’s not Pennywise who awaits in the underworld behind the shed door, but there’s plenty that’s weird and unexpected, including a woman, Dora, whose “skin was slate gray and her face was cruelly deformed,” and a whole bunch of people—well, sort of people, anyway—who’d like nothing better than to bring their special brand of evil up to our world’s surface. King’s young protagonist, Charlie Reade, is resourceful beyond his years, but it helps that the old dog gains some of its youthful vigor in the depths below. King delivers a more or less traditional fable that includes a knowing nod: “I think I know what you want,” Charlie tells the reader, "and now you have it”—namely, a happy ending but with a suitably sardonic wink.

A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66800-217-9

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

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REMINDERS OF HIM

After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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