Strong improvement for Banks, who found herself attacked by Internet fans of Laurel K. Hamilton, Anita Blake, and Buffy’s...

READ REVIEW

THE AWAKENING

A VAMPIRE HUNTRESS LEGEND, BOOK II

Second and shorter trade paperback entry in the Afro Vampire Huntress rock ’n’ roll trilogy rip-off of Blade, Buffy, and Lestat, following Minion (2003).

At 20, destiny-driven Damali Richards, a New Orleans orphan and now a Spoken Word artiste, nears full awakening of her superpowers as an adult vampire huntress as she runs about carrying rhino bullets fresh-packed with hallowed earth and holy water grenades that blast like C-4—which has got master vampire Fallon Nuit and the Vampire High Council in a major tizzy. Unhappily for Damali, her sometime lover Carlos Rivera got turned and is dead, man, or rather undead, and time’s gotta come when Damali or one of her devamper Warriors of Light stakes him out so that he gets real cool, real dead. It’s war, with Fallon Nuit’s demonic Minion of rogue hybrid-vampires against Damali, who’s protected by seven guardians, including band members who double on drums and crossbow, or computer-crossbow-wooden stake, or as Aikido instructor/choreographer/bassist. As Carlos is led through a many-layered hell of demons, each layer as richly defined as Dante’s Inferno, his bloodthirst rises, and, back on earth, he nearly attacks his mother, his grandmother, and their young helper Juanita before he’s interrupted. Meanwhile, the Council demands that Carlos bring in Damali in three days, when she ovulates, so their seed will ripen in her before her birthday. Technically, Carlos, who died in prayer, is not dead, only transformed, and thus untrustworthy for this job. Will he sign the eternal contract and deposit his soul with the Council? Will Nuit’s plan for armies of hybrid demons to turn hundreds of thousands of Damali’s concertgoers on five continents be successful? Will vamps get viral immunity to sunlight and become daywalkers?

Strong improvement for Banks, who found herself attacked by Internet fans of Laurel K. Hamilton, Anita Blake, and Buffy’s Joss Whedon, vampiricists who make no reflections in mirrors.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-312-31683-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2003

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Fierce, poetic, uncompromising.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE CITY WE BECAME

This extremely urban fantasy, a love/hate song to and rallying cry for the author’s home of New York, expands her story “The City, Born Great” (from How Long ’Til Black Future Month, 2018).

When a great city reaches the point when it's ready to come to life, it chooses a human avatar, who guides the city through its birthing and contends with an extradimensional Enemy who seeks to strike at this vulnerable moment. Now, it is New York City’s time to be born, but its avatar is too weakened by the battle to complete the process. So each of the individual boroughs instantiates its own avatar to continue the fight. Manhattan is a multiracial grad student new to the city with a secret violent past that he can no longer quite remember; Brooklyn is an African American rap star–turned–lawyer and city councilwoman; Queens is an Indian math whiz here on a visa; the Bronx is a tough Lenape woman who runs a nonprofit art center; and Staten Island is a frightened and insular Irish American woman who wants nothing to do with the other four. Can these boroughs successfully awaken and heal their primary avatar and repel the invading white tentacles of the Enemy? The novel is a bold calling out of the racial tensions dividing not only New York City, but the U.S. as a whole; it underscores that people of color are an integral part of the city’s tapestry even if some white people prefer to treat them as interlopers. It's no accident that the only white avatar is the racist woman representing Staten Island, nor that the Enemy appears as a Woman in White who employs the forces of racism and gentrification in her invasion; her true self is openly inspired by the tropes of the xenophobic author H.P. Lovecraft. Although the story is a fantasy, many aspects of the plot draw on contemporary incidents. In the real world, white people don’t need a nudge from an eldritch abomination to call down a violent police reaction on people of color innocently conducting their daily lives, and just as in the book, third parties are fraudulently transferring property deeds from African American homeowners in Brooklyn, and gentrification forces out the people who made the neighborhood attractive in the first place. In the face of these behaviors, whataboutism, #BothSides, and #NotAllWhitePeople are feeble arguments.

Fierce, poetic, uncompromising.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-50984-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Orbit

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

King fans won’t be disappointed, though most will likely prefer the scarier likes of The Shining and It.

THE INSTITUTE

The master of modern horror returns with a loose-knit parapsychological thriller that touches on territory previously explored in Firestarter and Carrie.

Tim Jamieson is a man emphatically not in a hurry. As King’s (The Outsider, 2018, etc.) latest opens, he’s bargaining with a flight attendant to sell his seat on an overbooked run from Tampa to New York. His pockets full, he sticks out his thumb and winds up in the backwater South Carolina town of DuPray (should we hear echoes of “pray”? Or “depraved”?). Turns out he’s a decorated cop, good at his job and at reading others (“You ought to go see Doc Roper,” he tells a local. “There are pills that will brighten your attitude”). Shift the scene to Minneapolis, where young Luke Ellis, precociously brilliant, has been kidnapped by a crack extraction team, his parents brutally murdered so that it looks as if he did it. Luke is spirited off to Maine—this is King, so it’s got to be Maine—and a secret shadow-government lab where similarly conscripted paranormally blessed kids, psychokinetic and telepathic, are made to endure the Skinnerian pain-and-reward methods of the evil Mrs. Sigsby. How to bring the stories of Tim and Luke together? King has never minded detours into the unlikely, but for this one, disbelief must be extra-willingly suspended. In the end, their forces joined, the two and their redneck allies battle the sophisticated secret agents of The Institute in a bloodbath of flying bullets and beams of mental energy (“You’re in the south now, Annie had told these gunned-up interlopers. She had an idea they were about to find out just how true that was"). It’s not King at his best, but he plays on current themes of conspiracy theory, child abuse, the occult, and Deep State malevolence while getting in digs at the current occupant of the White House, to say nothing of shadowy evil masterminds with lisps.

King fans won’t be disappointed, though most will likely prefer the scarier likes of The Shining and It.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9821-1056-7

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more