An assured second volume in this feminism-inflected saga.


From the The Women's War series , Vol. 2

In this sequel to The Women’s War (2019), Glass continues to explore the question of what happens when women wield power.

When last we left our two heroines, Alys and Ellin, both were exploring their power as sovereign rulers, and their journeys continue in this volume. Alys is going to have to overcome a terrible loss if she’s going to lead the citizens of Women’s Well, a newly founded colony in which men and women are equal. And Ellin must fight to keep her crown in a country not quite ready for a woman to reign supreme. Both women are adjusting to a new reality in their world. After centuries in which men ruled both state and religion, a spell cast by Alys’ mother, Brynna, has made it possible for women to decide whether or not they conceive and carry children. Not only does this present a grave challenge to patriarchy, but it also reveals that women’s magic might well be as strong as that of men. The writing here is a bit more assured than it was in the first installment of this three-part series. A surfeit of scene-setting detail often slowed the narrative in that book; this one moves at a slightly faster clip. But one aspect of fantasy—present from The Lord of the Rings to the Earthsea trilogy and beyond—that's missing here is a sense of existential drama. Glass spends a lot of time on court intrigue and international alliances and trade agreements and interpersonal relationships—all of which seem to go on much as they always have. The fact that women are in control of their reproductive destinies and the discovery that women’s magic is more powerful than anyone imagined feel like they should be world-changing, but…they just kind of aren’t. Of course, there are readers who might argue that traditional sword-and-sorcery epics often fail when it comes to character development and emotional richness, especially with female characters; such readers might appreciate Glass’ more intimate, character-driven approach to fantasy. People who enjoyed the first installment in this series should enjoy the second, and people who wanted to like it but got discouraged by the slow pace might want to give Glass another chance.

An assured second volume in this feminism-inflected saga.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-61837-9

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Del Rey

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 72

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller


Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

A breezy and fun contemporary fantasy.


A tightly wound caseworker is pushed out of his comfort zone when he’s sent to observe a remote orphanage for magical children.

Linus Baker loves rules, which makes him perfectly suited for his job as a midlevel bureaucrat working for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, where he investigates orphanages for children who can do things like make objects float, who have tails or feathers, and even those who are young witches. Linus clings to the notion that his job is about saving children from cruel or dangerous homes, but really he’s a cog in a government machine that treats magical children as second-class citizens. When Extremely Upper Management sends for Linus, he learns that his next assignment is a mission to an island orphanage for especially dangerous kids. He is to stay on the island for a month and write reports for Extremely Upper Management, which warns him to be especially meticulous in his observations. When he reaches the island, he meets extraordinary kids like Talia the gnome, Theodore the wyvern, and Chauncey, an amorphous blob whose parentage is unknown. The proprietor of the orphanage is a strange but charming man named Arthur, who makes it clear to Linus that he will do anything in his power to give his charges a loving home on the island. As Linus spends more time with Arthur and the kids, he starts to question a world that would shun them for being different, and he even develops romantic feelings for Arthur. Lambda Literary Award–winning author Klune (The Art of Breathing, 2019, etc.) has a knack for creating endearing characters, and readers will grow to love Arthur and the orphans alongside Linus. Linus himself is a lovable protagonist despite his prickliness, and Klune aptly handles his evolving feelings and morals. The prose is a touch wooden in places, but fans of quirky fantasy will eat it up.

A breezy and fun contemporary fantasy.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21728-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?