Half Mortal

From the Daughter of Light series , Vol. 2

Dynamic characters choose sides on the battlefield and in their hearts, aptly setting the stage for the next book.

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In this second installment of a YA fantasy series, a half faerie must decide whether incarnating a wicked entity will stop a fiendish princess from seizing the throne in the Realm of Faerie.

Now that Gray-Faerie regent Elendah is dead, war between the Dark and Light in the enchanted world is imminent. Princess Lilliane convinces Queen Luisa that the Albiana lineage is a threat to the throne—specifically, half mortals like Melia. The genuine threat is Umbra, a bodiless being in need of a willing vessel and who’s already failed in swaying Melia. Her sisters and cousin Gabriela, however, may be in danger, so Melia traverses the mortal world to warn them. Flora, the last of the spring faeries, later makes a startling proposition—Melia should voluntarily incarnate Umbra. If the half faerie can learn to control Umbra, she’ll be a formidable opponent to Lilliane, who’s garnered power as a practitioner of black magic. Melia doesn’t get much encouragement from maybe love interest and priest Ryder, worried that the entity will kill her. But she also has competition for the role of vessel, ranging from dragonwitch Sevondi to young Jade, Gabriela’s granddaughter, whom Umbra seems to target. Interested parties may need to steal a magical sword and basin for the incarnation, while Melia will have to elude an assassin Lilliane sends after Jade. Despite teasing a Dark/Light confrontation, this sequel to Half Faerie (2014) is really a struggle over who will embody Umbra. Both Sevondi and Jade fight for the opportunity, the latter believing Umbra’s chosen her and who further sparks a delightful romantic entanglement by adhering herself to Ryder. Dialogue-laden scenes have surprising momentum, with characters generally discussing strategy, and Umbra telepathically relaying to Flora his intention to destroy the Whole (all known worlds). Mortal-world inhabitant Jade’s cynical self-awareness, meanwhile, adds humor. Anticipating her rescue when captured, she muses: “Isn’t that what happened in the enchanted world? Damsels in distress and all.” A climactic war in Faerie is saved for a subsequent volume, but Garrett (Isolt’s Enchantment, 2015, etc.) wraps up this entry satisfactorily, with a bloody skirmish, some deaths, and a reunited family.

Dynamic characters choose sides on the battlefield and in their hearts, aptly setting the stage for the next book.

Pub Date: July 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9907691-3-2

Page Count: 538

Publisher: Half-Faerie Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 23, 2016

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A LITTLE LIFE

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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