A pleasingly complex entry in a YA SF epic.

READ REVIEW

PASSAGE OF TIME

From the Seeker of Time series , Vol. 3

Buckler (Stillness of Time, 2018, etc.) continues the interplanetary adventures of superpowered twins in this third installment in a YA series.

Elara and Cyrus were born on the beautiful but turbulent planet Aroonyx but raised as normal high school students on Earth. Their guide and mentor, Jax, who has the power to instantly travel between the two worlds, explained to them that Aroonyx is divided into Solin and Lunin people, all ruled by brutal dictator Zenith. As this installment opens, it’s been six weeks since Jax abandoned Elara and Cyrus—an especially traumatic development for Elara, who’d fallen in love with Jax. The story finds Elara and Cyrus deeply embedded in the planet’s struggle against Zenith’s forces on Aroonyx, and, as Elara reflects, “defeating Zenith without Jax’s guidance seemed like a lost cause.” War is imminent, but, unsurprisingly, Jax doesn’t stay missing for long; his emotional connection with Elara is the cornerstone of the series, and he’s also a key YA character type: the brooding hero; at one point, Elara even says that he’d make “a great Jon Snow” from Game of Thrones. Along the way, Elara and Cyrus must also face off with members of Zenith’s elite Inner Circle. Overall, this series entry successfully amps up both the political intrigue and the personal drama. Buckler has always shown a good deal of skill with dialogue and pacing, but both are considerably stronger here. The book offers very little in the way of exposition for readers who may be encountering the series for the first time, but Buckler still manages to incorporate enough information to make it possible to jump right into the story, including an initial character list. The fact that matters of world-changing importance are linked to sappy individual romances can seem a bit silly at times; Elara even asks at one point, “Is it too late to save the people of Aroonyx? Is it too late to save my relationship with Jax?” But the book’s other pleasures more than compensate for this.

A pleasingly complex entry in a YA SF epic.

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73310-570-5

Page Count: 682

Publisher: Gratus Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

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

Did you like this book?

Cheerfully engaging.

WHAT ALICE FORGOT

From Australian Moriarty (The Last Anniversary, 2006, etc.), domestic escapism about a woman whose temporary amnesia makes her re-examine what really matters to her.

Alice wakes from what she thinks is a dream, assuming she is a recently married 29-year-old expecting her first child. Actually she is 39, the mother of three and in the middle of an acrimonious custody battle with her soon-to-be ex-husband Nick. She’s fallen off her exercise bike, and the resulting bump on her head has not only erased her memory of the last 10 years but has also taken her psychologically back to a younger, more easygoing self at odds with the woman she gathers she has become. While Alice-at-29 is loving and playful if lacking ambition or self-confidence, Alice-at-39 is a highly efficient if too tightly wound supermom. She is also thin and rich since Nick now heads the company where she remembers him struggling in an entry-level position. Alice-at-29 cannot conceive that she and Nick would no longer be rapturously in love or that she and her adored older sister Elisabeth could be estranged, and she is shocked that her shy mother has married Nick’s bumptious father and taken up salsa dancing. She neither remembers nor recognizes her three children, each given a distinct if slightly too cute personality. Nor does she know what to make of the perfectly nice boyfriend Alice-at-39 has acquired. As memory gradually returns, Alice-at-29 initially misinterprets the scattered images and flashes of emotion, especially those concerning Gina, a woman who evidently caused the rift with Nick. Alice-at-29 assumes Gina was Nick’s mistress, only to discover that Gina was her best friend. Gina died in a freak car accident and in her honor, Alice-at-39 has organized mothers from the kids’ school to bake the largest lemon meringue pie on record. But Alice-at-29 senses that Gina may not have been a completely positive influence. Moriarty handles the two Alice consciousnesses with finesse and also delves into infertility issues through Elizabeth’s diary.

Cheerfully engaging.

Pub Date: June 2, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-15718-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Amy Einhorn/Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more