A tantalizing series opener that leaves little room for character development.



In Walker’s fantasy debut, twin brothers accidentally unleash an ancient, malevolent force upon their father’s kingdom.

On the world of Mythos, 19-year-old twins Kian’Huard and Ko’Resh are heirs to the throne of the House of Rhuna. The brothers have been enjoying the Spring Festival in the city of Kephas, and while out riding, they find a cave leading into the nearby mountain that seems to have suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Ko’Resh, the more reckless of the two, insists that the cave simply “revealed itself” and wants to explore it. Kian’Huard reminds him the mountain is home to the sacred Temple of Osiris and that trespassers may be put to death. Nonetheless, they feel strangely compelled to walk through the cavern system. When the entrance behind them closes, Kian’Huard knows that “solveige” (or dark magic) is at work. They eventually pass a stone gateway and encounter seven powerful spirits called the Sem Lukos Resh. Six of them invade Ko’Resh’s body, while the remaining one invades Kian’Huard. The brothers are missing from Kephas for four moon cycles. Then Kian’Huard, alone, meets Kri’Attole, his mentor, outside Kephas. However, when Kian’Huard’s father, Sharram Kar’Set, tries to have them both arrested, the young man realizes that he and his brother have become puppets of the horrid spirits. For this ambitious novel, Walker crafts a tale that’s heavy on graphic visuals and Eastern religious motifs. The discipline of Tae’Heb, for example, addresses “seven main power centers within the body,” like chakras, “each tuned to a frequency that supported specific functions of the body and psyche.” When Ko’Resh’s power centers are corrupted by the Sem Lukos Resh, he gains superpowers, including speed and strength. When the brothers battle, Walker’s prose is baroque in style: “Swords flashed in shafts of light...arcing explosions of electric rainbows ringing with death lust.” The narrative straddles centuries, as the villainous Sharram Saal hopes to manipulate Rhuna bloodlines to create a child that can contain the seven spirits. Unfortunately, Walker’s dry characterization makes the various players feel like mere pawns in the epic plot.

A tantalizing series opener that leaves little room for character development.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5255-3278-8

Page Count: 294

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Feb. 11, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the...


Hannah’s sequel to Firefly Lane (2008) demonstrates that those who ignore family history are often condemned to repeat it.

When we last left Kate and Tully, the best friends portrayed in Firefly Lane, the friendship was on rocky ground. Now Kate has died of cancer, and Tully, whose once-stellar TV talk show career is in free fall, is wracked with guilt over her failure to be there for Kate until her very last days. Kate’s death has cemented the distrust between her husband, Johnny, and daughter Marah, who expresses her grief by cutting herself and dropping out of college to hang out with goth poet Paxton. Told mostly in flashbacks by Tully, Johnny, Marah and Tully’s long-estranged mother, Dorothy, aka Cloud, the story piles up disasters like the derailment of a high-speed train. Increasingly addicted to prescription sedatives and alcohol, Tully crashes her car and now hovers near death, attended by Kate’s spirit, as the other characters gather to see what their shortsightedness has wrought. We learn that Tully had tried to parent Marah after her father no longer could. Her hard-drinking decline was triggered by Johnny’s anger at her for keeping Marah and Paxton’s liaison secret. Johnny realizes that he only exacerbated Marah’s depression by uprooting the family from their Seattle home. Unexpectedly, Cloud, who rebuffed Tully’s every attempt to reconcile, also appears at her daughter’s bedside. Sixty-nine years old and finally sober, Cloud details for the first time the abusive childhood, complete with commitments to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments, that led to her life as a junkie lowlife and punching bag for trailer-trash men. Although powerful, Cloud’s largely peripheral story deflects focus away from the main conflict, as if Hannah was loath to tackle the intractable thicket in which she mired her main characters.

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the pages turning even as readers begin to resent being drawn into this masochistic morass.

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-57721-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.


High-stakes weepmeister Sparks (A Walk to Remember, 1999, etc.) opts for a happy ending his fourth time out. His writing has improved—though it's still the equivalent of paint-by-numbers—and he makes use this time of at least a vestige of credible psychology.

That vestige involves the deep dark secret—it has something to do with his father's death when son Taylor was nine—that haunts kind, good 36-year-old local contractor Taylor McAden and makes him withdraw from relationships whenever they start getting serious enough to maybe get permanent. He's done this twice before, and now he does it again with pretty and sweet single mother Denise Holton, age 29, who's moved from Atlanta to Taylor's town of Edenton, North Carolina, in order to devote her time more fully to training her four-year-old son Kyle to overcome the peculiar impediment he has that keeps him from achieving normal language acquisition. Okay? When Denise has a car accident in a bad storm, she's rescued by volunteer fireman Taylor—who also rescues little Kyle after he wanders away from his injured mom in the storm. Love blooms in the weeks that follow—until Taylor suddenly begins putting on the brakes. What is it that holds him back, when there just isn't any question but that he loves Denise and vice versa-not to mention that he's "great" with Kyle, just like a father? It will require a couple of near-death experiences (as fireman Taylor bravely risks his life to save others); emotional steadiness from the intelligent, good, true Denise; and the terrible death of a dear and devoted friend before Taylor will come to the point at last of confiding to Denise the terrible memory of how his father died—and the guilt that's been its legacy to Taylor. The psychological dam broken, love will at last be able to flow.

More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2000

ISBN: 0-446-52550-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2000

Did you like this book?