Elegant prose is a highlight in a book whose memoirlike tone and heavy nostalgia make it feel like an offering for adults,...

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THE WITCHES OF RUIDOSO

A posthumously published coming-of-age story in which an old man recounts meeting his first love in New Mexico Territory in 1895.

From the moment 14-year-old Beth Delilah steps from the stagecoach into the small town of Ruidoso, 13-year-old Elijah is enraptured by her pale skin, blonde hair and blue eyes (traits that are fetishized throughout the story). The two become fast friends, but Beth Delilah and Señora Roja, a local woman believed to be a witch, are at odds. Through flashbacks, readers learn that Elijah was seduced by Señora Roja into an ongoing relationship. Though the affair is over, the past makes things awkward for Elijah, who is now intimate with Beth Delilah. When the two friends find Señora Roja torturing her niece, Rosa, they resolve to help but are too late to save her from a gruesome and bloody death—an event that traumatizes them both and leads to Beth Delilah’s disappearance. The details of this remembered time and place are rendered with love, though from a distance. Even Elijah’s “horrible” dreams of Señora Roja feel fixed in amber rather than immediately horrifying.

Elegant prose is a highlight in a book whose memoirlike tone and heavy nostalgia make it feel like an offering for adults, not teens. (Fiction. 17 & up)

Pub Date: April 30, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-55885-766-7

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Piñata Books/Arté Público

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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Bulky, balky, talky.

THE DA VINCI CODE

In an updated quest for the Holy Grail, the narrative pace remains stuck in slo-mo.

But is the Grail, in fact, holy? Turns out that’s a matter of perspective. If you’re a member of that most secret of clandestine societies, the Priory of Sion, you think yes. But if your heart belongs to the Roman Catholic Church, the Grail is more than just unholy, it’s downright subversive and terrifying. At least, so the story goes in this latest of Brown’s exhaustively researched, underimagined treatise-thrillers (Deception Point, 2001, etc.). When Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon—in Paris to deliver a lecture—has his sleep interrupted at two a.m., it’s to discover that the police suspect he’s a murderer, the victim none other than Jacques Saumière, esteemed curator of the Louvre. The evidence against Langdon could hardly be sketchier, but the cops feel huge pressure to make an arrest. And besides, they don’t particularly like Americans. Aided by the murdered man’s granddaughter, Langdon flees the flics to trudge the Grail-path along with pretty, persuasive Sophie, who’s driven by her own need to find answers. The game now afoot amounts to a scavenger hunt for the scholarly, clues supplied by the late curator, whose intent was to enlighten Sophie and bedevil her enemies. It’s not all that easy to identify these enemies. Are they emissaries from the Vatican, bent on foiling the Grail-seekers? From Opus Dei, the wayward, deeply conservative Catholic offshoot bent on foiling everybody? Or any one of a number of freelancers bent on a multifaceted array of private agendas? For that matter, what exactly is the Priory of Sion? What does it have to do with Leonardo? With Mary Magdalene? With (gulp) Walt Disney? By the time Sophie and Langdon reach home base, everything—well, at least more than enough—has been revealed.

Bulky, balky, talky.

Pub Date: March 18, 2003

ISBN: 0-385-50420-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2003

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A very full mixed bag.

KINGSBANE

From the Empirium Trilogy series , Vol. 2

In the sequel to Furyborn (2018), Rielle and Eliana struggle across time with their powers and prophesied destinies.

Giving readers only brief recaps, this book throws them right into complicated storylines in this large, lovingly detailed fantasy world filled with multiple countries, two different time periods, and hostile angels. Newly ordained Rielle contends with villainous Corien’s interest in her, the weakening gate that holds the angels at bay, and distrust from those who don’t believe her to be the Sun Queen. A thousand years in the future, Eliana chafes under her unwanted destiny and finds her fear of losing herself to her powers (like the Blood Queen) warring with her need to save those close to her. The rigid alternation between time-separated storylines initially feels overstuffed, undermining tension, but once more characters get point-of-view chapters and parallels start paying off, the pace picks up. The multiethnic cast (human versus angelic is the only divide with weight) includes characters of many sexual orientations, and their romantic storylines include love triangles, casual dalliances, steady couples, and couples willing to invite in a third. While many of the physically intimate scenes are loving, some are rougher, including ones that cross lines of clear consent and introduce a level of violence that many young readers will not be ready for. The ending brings heartbreaking twists to prime readers for the trilogy’s conclusion.

A very full mixed bag. (map, list of elements) (Fantasy. 17-adult)

Pub Date: May 21, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-5665-4

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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