An exhilarating tale with an engaging protagonist that will have readers eagerly anticipating sequels.



Survivors on a post-apocalyptic Earth engage in a never-ending war with space aliens in the start of Shors’ (Unbound, 2017, etc.) SF trilogy.

By 2171, humans have been fighting aliens, known as “demons,” for a century. When they first arrived, they killed billions of people, and the only survivors were those who were underground at the time. The aliens made Earth into a prison for alien criminals; the inmates ultimately escaped their confinement and began attacking humans. Inexplicably, the demons also left 11 Orbs of Light scattered around the world and 33 silver staffs. Humans are able to teleport, or “drop,” from Orb to Orb, and the staffs are astonishingly potent weapons against the winged, fanged, and clawed demons. Seventeen-year-old Tasia is a Seeker whose life’s purpose is to kill aliens. She’s skilled with a rifle, but only higher-ranking Guardians are allowed to wield staffs. She blames herself for losing members of her family and other loved ones to demons as well as for her younger brother’s illness from an infection, which happened while he was under her care. To secure necessary medicine for her brother, she journeys to the Arctic Stronghold (one of 11 such structures, each located near an Orb). Drops, however, are unpredictable, and getting from New York City to the Arctic and back could take numerous trips. Her traveling companions include another Seeker named Aki and Draven, a Guardian who writes off Tasia as a coward. Tasia later falls for kindhearted Jerico, a Carrier who collects and transports supplies. Their journey is harrowing thanks to the demons’ swooping assaults. Shors offers a rousing, sharply written series starter. The demons’ attacks are brutal throughout, and it’s difficult for humans to fight against them; in order to kill demons, Seekers must accurately shoot them in the eyes. The Orb drops allow the author to showcase various parts of the future world while maintaining the urgency of Tasia’s search for medicine. Each new destination is a surprise, from the deserts of Risen (formerly the Australian Outback) to the rainforests of Tasia’s home, Angkor (formerly Cambodia). The trips give readers unnerving views of the devastated Earth; even some Strongholds are in ruins or no longer functional. The strongest scenes entail Tasia’s drop experiences; the teleportation disorients her more than other people, and she carries a laminated note as a post-drop reminder of demons’ existence—words of warning that don’t always register immediately. Tasia is a splendid protagonist who makes mistakes and constantly doubts herself but deeply cares for others and, contrary to Draven’s belief, is truly courageous. Other distinctive characters include Aki, who brandishes a samurai sword, and Jerico, whose romance with Tasia is nicely understated. The scenes from a demon’s perspective are surprisingly effective, as when it states a preference for “the flavor of human meat.” Some moments introduce elements of mystery; the demons, for unknown reasons, want the staffs, and Tasia begins hearing a strange voice in her head.

An exhilarating tale with an engaging protagonist that will have readers eagerly anticipating sequels.

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9991744-2-5

Page Count: 382

Publisher: John Shors Inc.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 20, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize

  • 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

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

A kind of Holden Caulfield who speaks bravely and winningly from inside the sorrows of autism: wonderful, simple, easy,...


Britisher Haddon debuts in the adult novel with the bittersweet tale of a 15-year-old autistic who’s also a math genius.

Christopher Boone has had some bad knocks: his mother has died (well, she went to the hospital and never came back), and soon after he found a neighbor’s dog on the front lawn, slain by a garden fork stuck through it. A teacher said that he should write something that he “would like to read himself”—and so he embarks on this book, a murder mystery that will reveal who killed Mrs. Shears’s dog. First off, though, is a night in jail for hitting the policeman who questions him about the dog (the cop made the mistake of grabbing the boy by the arm when he can’t stand to be touched—any more than he can stand the colors yellow or brown, or not knowing what’s going to happen next). Christopher’s father bails him out but forbids his doing any more “detecting” about the dog-murder. When Christopher disobeys (and writes about it in his book), a fight ensues and his father confiscates the book. In time, detective-Christopher finds it, along with certain other clues that reveal a very great deal indeed about his mother’s “death,” his father’s own part in it—and the murder of the dog. Calming himself by doing roots, cubes, prime numbers, and math problems in his head, Christopher runs away, braves a train-ride to London, and finds—his mother. How can this be? Read and see. Neither parent, if truth be told, is the least bit prepossessing or more than a cutout. Christopher, though, with pet rat Toby in his pocket and advanced “maths” in his head, is another matter indeed, and readers will cheer when, way precociously, he takes his A-level maths and does brilliantly.

A kind of Holden Caulfield who speaks bravely and winningly from inside the sorrows of autism: wonderful, simple, easy, moving, and likely to be a smash.

Pub Date: June 17, 2003

ISBN: 0-385-50945-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2003

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet