A stirring, satisfying ending to an epic, otherworldly series.

WAR & GRACE

DAUGHTER OF LIGHT BOOK 3

In this conclusion to a YA fantasy trilogy, the inhabitants of an enchanted realm face the impending— and foretold—battle between Dark and Light.

Half-faerie Melia Albiana is the chosen vessel for the entity Umbra. Umbra seeks the utter destruction of the Whole, which comprises all known worlds, including the mortal one. Surprisingly, Melia fought for the opportunity to be a vessel. The Grey Council, rulers of the enchanted world, has decided that Umbra’s incarnation is a necessity. For years, his presence in a realm called the Void has maintained a balance in the birth and death of mortal souls. But his rapid growth is now a potential danger, and the Whole can only evolve if he is no longer in the Void. Melia has about a year before Umbra incarnates, but she can still feel his presence and fears that he will ultimately take control. This makes her reluctant to marry her love, Ryder. Meanwhile, Melia’s cousin, Lilliane, princess of Illialei in the enchanted world, blames Melia for the death of the man she loved. The princess wants to stop Umbra’s incarnation, as Melia could use the entity’s power to unseat Lilliane’s royal family. That’s just what Melia plans on doing, in revenge for all the innocent blood the Illialei queens have spilled. This all seems to be leading to the prophesied Dark and Light confrontation, which Melia is prepared to fight, so long as Ryder is by her side. But then she faces a personal crisis after she’s understandably shaken by Ryder’s sudden arrest: Lilliane abducts one of Melia’s loved ones. Though the final book in Garrett’s (Half Mortal, 2015, etc.) series dives right into the story, new readers (or ones who have perhaps forgotten details of previous novels) won’t at all be lost. The author pushes the narrative forward with subtle but lucid reminders of preceding events, and comprehensive glossaries of characters and places are included at the book’s end. Melia remains an engrossing protagonist while epitomizing the conflicting nature of the characters. For example, in order to challenge the sinister Lilliane, she becomes the embodiment of another, possibly worse evil. Other players are equally intriguing and often tormented. Melia’s older half-faerie sister, Melusine, like their mother, fell in love with a mortal who had broken the faerie troth by witnessing her transformation. Surprisingly, Lilliane is an appealing character despite her unequivocal status as a villain. Her retaliation against a ship’s cook who disrespects her is cruel but also innovative and darkly humorous. The forthcoming battle as well as Umbra’s arrival gives the story an overall sense of dread and quite a few somber moments. But tension is lessened by Melia and Ryder’s romance, which is endearingly strong even if it may be doomed. There are likewise instances of understated humor; Lilliane believes a dragon sighting is “rather fantastical,” as the beasts prefer drier climates. Garrett’s prose is, once again, lyrical and serene: “Her gaze returned to the moons, one white and one pale purple. She stared for hours, in silent communion with the Whole itself.”

A stirring, satisfying ending to an epic, otherworldly series.

Pub Date: March 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9907691-4-9

Page Count: 690

Publisher: Half-Faerie Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2018

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

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A LITTLE LIFE

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. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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