This tale of otherworldly creatures maintains an impressive energy throughout, with an ending that makes reading Book 3 a...

Something Wiccan

From the Shadow Tales series , Vol. 2

Teen Toby Hoffman returns in Drummond’s (The One You Feed, 2013) supernatural thriller as a hunter apprentice whose first assignment pits him against a formidable warlock stealing powers.

Sixteen-year-old Toby was lucky to have survived his ordeal with werewolves in his hometown of Silver Falls, Oregon. But he’s caught the attention of the European Huntsman’s Network, which is looking for fresh recruits. Hunter Jack Steele convinces Toby to become a member, the teen’s sheriff father reluctantly approving the boy’s yearlong training overseas. Meanwhile, over in Ashland, Oregon, teen Natalie Sherwood stumbles upon a book in the attic—Sherwood Book of Incantations. She tries some spells with pal Brittany Richards, and wouldn’t you know it? The incantations work. Brittany and Natalie both hone their skills for a few months until Natalie’s auroras in the sky prove too public a display. The Network notices and, with Jack on assignment, sends still-in-training Toby on a relatively simple mission to warn the witch against future demonstrations. But it’s too late: warlock Eirik Devlin, who’s been tracking down witches and Wiccans to drain them of their abilities and life forces, has already spotted Natalie’s light show. Toby reunites with possible love interest Rachel Chochopi, in Ashland checking out a university and now with a power she wasn’t previously aware of. Unfortunately, Natalie’s newest hex may have awakened something as lethal as Eirik, if not more so. With nary a lycanthrope in sight, Drummond diversifies his series’ world to include all sorts of strange denizens. In addition to witches, there’s a hint of a Wendigo, a vampire that Jack’s been pursuing for nearly two decades, and something else revealed later in the book. Toby remains the hero who, like last time, is driven by his noble urge to save people, blaming himself for his mom’s car-accident death. But Natalie is a resounding character with a reasonable curiosity (is she a descendant of witches?) that makes her amateurish attempts at spell casting more discovery than recklessness. Seemingly endless confrontations occur, though the highlight is also the most comical: Toby has to battle mesmerized medieval role-playing college students—for real.

This tale of otherworldly creatures maintains an impressive energy throughout, with an ending that makes reading Book 3 a virtual necessity.

Pub Date: Dec. 16, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5176-1351-8

Page Count: 408

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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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. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Debut novel by hip-hop rap artist Sister Souljah, whose No Disrespect (1994), which mixes sexual history with political diatribe, is popular in schools country-wide. In its way, this is a tour de force of black English and underworld slang, as finely tuned to its heroine’s voice as Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. The subject matter, though, has a certain flashiness, like a black Godfather family saga, and the heroine’s eventual fall develops only glancingly from her character. Born to a 14-year-old mother during one of New York’s worst snowstorms, Winter Santiaga is the teenaged daughter of Ricky Santiaga, Brooklyn’s top drug dealer, who lives like an Arab prince and treats his wife and four daughters like a queen and her princesses. Winter lost her virginity at 12 and now focuses unwaveringly on varieties of adolescent self-indulgence: sex and sugar-daddies, clothes, and getting her own way. She uses school only as a stepping-stone for getting out of the house—after all, nobody’s paying her to go there. But if there’s no money in it, why go? Meanwhile, Daddy decides it’s time to move out of Brooklyn to truly fancy digs on Long Island, though this places him in the discomfiting position of not being absolutely hands-on with his dealers; and sure enough the rise of some young Turks leads to his arrest. Then he does something really stupid: he murders his wife’s two weak brothers in jail with him on Riker’s Island and gets two consecutive life sentences. Winter’s then on her own, especially with Bullet, who may have replaced her dad as top hood, though when she selfishly fails to help her pregnant buddy Simone, there’s worse—much worse—to come. Thinness aside: riveting stuff, with language so frank it curls your hair. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-671-02578-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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