by James Nicholas Logue ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 30, 2010
Readers valuing plot over prose will appreciate the book’s strengths.
International intrigue with an inspirational twist.
In the second book of his series, Logue (The Student Prophet: Initiation Rites, 2009) creates a world where both the FBI and God find college football as important as global acts of terrorism. Jeff Fitzpatrick—Penn State sophomore, Blue Band drummer, part-time FBI agent and prophet of God—defends the Earth from the work of the Leader and his evil, archangelic cohorts the Dragon (disguised as terrorist Professor Ronald Blackstone) and Adam, now a rogue FBI agent. In this installment, Jeff gets help from two new international prophets, Jewish Rachel and Muslim Fatima, who possess his same ability to foretell tragic events. The FBI faces enemies from within and without while the prophets suspect their friends of being guardian angels and Jeff finds romance in an unexpected place. The powers of evil prepare new terrorist attacks, including some close to home for Jeff, and draw al-Qaida cells, Mexican drug cartels and even the CIA into their plot. A bevy of effusive family, friends and religious confidants supports Jeff through the challenges and dangers that come from occupying the difficult position of being a student prophet, helping him juggle school, family changes, physical danger and spiritual doubt. Though all the elements of gripping drama are present, Logue’s repetitive, clunky prose gets in the way of the suspense. Unnecessary, unnatural dialogue makes the characters feel one-dimensional. Key moments, such as fights between the forces of good and evil, are briefly narrated, wasting many opportunities for drama and excitement. Despite this, the book’s world is compelling for its mix of the strange and the familiar. Characters and their struggles are broadly relatable, even if their inner lives are too often told rather than shown. Family values, the importance of friendship and God’s constant presence are inspirational themes that could be better used in service of the author’s religious goals. However, Logue possesses an inherent understanding of what makes an action and adventure novel, and this keeps the story moving despite itself.Readers valuing plot over prose will appreciate the book’s strengths.
Pub Date: June 30, 2010
Page Count: 411
Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2010
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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by Hanya Yanagihara ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 10, 2015
The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.
Awards & Accolades
Best Books Of 2015
National Book Award Finalist
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
Page Count: 720
Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015
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by Harper Lee ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 11, 1960
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
Page Count: 323
Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960
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