Lovers of fairy tales and Victorian England aren’t the only readers who will be charmed by this story of self-discovery.

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THE TORN WING

Book Two in the Faerie Ring series picks up where the previous book ended and continues the tale.

Newcomers to the series will have no trouble catching up with the goings-on of Tiki, Rieker and their gang of ex-pickpockets in Hamilton’s latest (The Faerie Ring, 2011). The issue of the queen’s stolen ring has been mostly resolved; now it’s time for the protagonist to understand who she is and the meaning of the birthmark on her wrist. The biggest obstacle to Tiki’s self-discovery is also her best source for information: the inexplicable Larkin, a faery whose agenda is completely and often frustratingly hidden. Larkin pops in and out of the human world at will, refusing to disclose information that would enrich Tiki’s journey. There’s also the possibility that Tiki holds the key to end the tension building between the two faery factions: the Seelies and the UnSeelies. The plot revolves around her quest to find out if Larkin’s being truthful about Tiki’s heritage. This is a fun read, all but impossible to put down, and Tiki’s burgeoning relationship with Rieker is sweet and just right. Other high points include Tiki’s bravery when facing the UnSeelie king, her interactions with the royal family and her struggles with the changes in her life. She’s a lucky woman, and in the end, we find out why: As always when dealing with the fae, all is not what it seems at first glance, and that includes Tiki, herself. While not enough attention is given to the political machinations between the Seelies and the UnSeelies, nor to the fae/human relationship, Tiki, Rieker and their crew can easily sustain readers’ interest. More skillful and consistent copy editing would tip the scales heavily in Hamilton’s favor.

Lovers of fairy tales and Victorian England aren’t the only readers who will be charmed by this story of self-discovery.

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2012

ISBN: 978-1470131432

Page Count: 318

Publisher: Gaslamp Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2012

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Fans of gothic classics like Rebecca will be enthralled as long as they don’t mind a heaping dose of all-out horror.

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MEXICAN GOTHIC

Moreno-Garcia offers a terrifying twist on classic gothic horror, set in 1950s Mexico.

Inquisitive 22-year-old socialite and anthropology enthusiast Noemí Taboada adores beautiful clothes and nights on the town in Mexico City with a bevy of handsome suitors, but her carefree existence is cut short when her father shows her a disturbing letter from her cousin Catalina, who recently married fair-haired and blue-eyed Virgil Doyle, who comes from a prominent English mining family that built their now-dwindling fortune on the backs of Indigenous laborers. Catalina lives in High Place, the Doyle family’s crumbling mansion near the former mining town of El Triunfo. In the letter, Catalina begs for Noemí’s help, claiming that she is “bound, threads like iron through my mind and my skin,” and that High Place is “sick with rot, stinks of decay, brims with every single evil and cruel sentiment.” Upon Noemí’s arrival at High Place, she’s struck by the Doyle family’s cool reception of her and their unabashed racism. She's alarmed by the once-vibrant Catalina’s listless state and by the enigmatic Virgil and his ancient, leering father, Howard. Nightmares, hallucinations, and phantasmagoric dreams of golden dust and fleshy bodies plague Noemí, and it becomes apparent that the Doyles haven’t left their blood-soaked legacy behind. Luckily, the brave Noemí is no delicate flower, and she’ll need all her wits about her for the battle ahead. Moreno-Garcia weaves elements of Mexican folklore with themes of decay, sacrifice, and rebirth, casting a dark spell all the way to the visceral and heart-pounding finale.

Fans of gothic classics like Rebecca will be enthralled as long as they don’t mind a heaping dose of all-out horror.

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-62078-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Del Rey

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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Weird and haunting and excellent.

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PIRANESI

The much-anticipated second novel from the author of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (2004).

The narrator of this novel answers to the name “Piranesi” even though he suspects that it's not his name. This name was chosen for him by the Other, the only living person Piranesi has encountered during his extensive explorations of the House. Readers who recognize Piranesi as the name of an Italian artist known for his etchings of Roman ruins and imaginary prisons might recognize this as a cruel joke that the Other enjoys at the expense of the novel’s protagonist. It is that, but the name is also a helpful clue for readers trying to situate themselves in the world Clarke has created. The character known as Piranesi lives within a Classical structure of endless, inescapable halls occasionally inundated by the sea. These halls are inhabited by statues that seem to be allegories—a woman carrying a beehive; a dog-fox teaching two squirrels and two satyrs; two children laughing, one of them carrying a flute—but the meaning of these images is opaque. Piranesi is happy to let the statues simply be. With her second novel, Clarke invokes tropes that have fueled a century of surrealist and fantasy fiction as well as movies, television series, and even video games. At the foundation of this story is an idea at least as old as Chaucer: Our world was once filled with magic, but the magic has drained away. Clarke imagines where all that magic goes when it leaves our world and what it would be like to be trapped in that place. Piranesi is a naif, and there’s much that readers understand before he does. But readers who accompany him as he learns to understand himself will see magic returning to our world.

Weird and haunting and excellent.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63557-563-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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