A rich, complex meditation on love and mortality among supernatural beings.

REHUMANIZED DREW

A WINDSTALKER STORY

A fallen angel on the run due to an international conspiracy finds himself in love in this second series installment by Baginski (Windstalker, 2015). 

The Evo-Nephilim, also known as windstalkers, are a species of undead shape-shifters—a cross between men and the angels who roamed the Earth when it was new. Drew, a convicted murderer and former Evo-Nephilim, has been given a chance at mortality, as the Evo-Nephilim alliance has removed his aurion, the organ that makes him immortal. The angel Lothos has been assigned to relocate him away from Sam, who originally sired him into the order of windstalkers. Sam, explains Lothos, is “a rogue leader who refers to us as infidels, since we often hunt his followers.” Sam is also creating his own army of undead and has little concern for his human prey. Drew is hidden by other windstalkers in a beautiful cabin in the woods. There, he meets Nathan, a friendly, hardworking farmer with psychic gifts, and Nathan’s daughter, Amelia, a “flawless beauty” who’s hiding a big secret. The three try to figure out how to outwit Sam, how to save the humans who most need saving, and how they feel about one another. But soon the forces of darkness close in. For readers who are new to the series, this book is probably not the place to start, as the story begins in medias res and new readers won’t quite shake the sense that they’re missing crucial details. For instance, what exactly does being a windstalker entail, aside from being immortal? This and other questions are only answered deep into the book. But for others, the story offers a refreshing new perspective on a character they thought they knew, as Drew, a predator in the previous book, becomes a victim here. The depiction of Drew and Amelia’s growing feelings for each other also rings sweet and true, such as when they share popcorn and flirt while watching a movie at home or when they check each other out as they work in the fields. Their struggles and revelations are worth the price of admission.

A rich, complex meditation on love and mortality among supernatural beings. 

Pub Date: March 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5447-1301-4

Page Count: 222

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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

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DEVOLUTION

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

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A charming and persuasive entry that will leave readers impatiently awaiting the concluding volume.

A BLIGHT OF BLACKWINGS

Book 2 of Hearne's latest fantasy trilogy, The Seven Kennings (A Plague of Giants, 2017), set in a multiracial world thrust into turmoil by an invasion of peculiar giants.

In this world, most races have their own particular magical endowment, or “kenning,” though there are downsides to trying to gain the magic (an excellent chance of being killed instead) and using it (rapid aging and death). Most recently discovered is the sixth kenning, whose beneficiaries can talk to and command animals. The story canters along, although with multiple first-person narrators, it's confusing at times. Some characters are familiar, others are new, most of them with their own problems to solve, all somehow caught up in the grand design. To escape her overbearing father and the unreasoning violence his kind represents, fire-giant Olet Kanek leads her followers into the far north, hoping to found a new city where the races and kennings can peacefully coexist. Joining Olet are young Abhinava Khose, discoverer of the sixth kenning, and, later, Koesha Gansu (kenning: air), captain of an all-female crew shipwrecked by deep-sea monsters. Elsewhere, Hanima, who commands hive insects, struggles to free her city from the iron grip of wealthy, callous merchant monarchists. Other threads focus on the Bone Giants, relentless invaders seeking the still-unknown seventh kenning, whose confidence that this can defeat the other six is deeply disturbing. Under Hearne's light touch, these elements mesh perfectly, presenting an inventive, eye-filling panorama; satisfying (and, where appropriate, well-resolved) plotlines; and tensions between the races and their kennings to supply much of the drama.

A charming and persuasive entry that will leave readers impatiently awaiting the concluding volume.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-345-54857-3

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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