THE TRICKSTERS

In a richly textured psychological ghost story set at the summer solstice and Christmas, New Zealand's two-time Carnegie-winner delivers another fascinating novel that defies summarization. When the Hamilton's large, extended family returns to their seaside house, Carnival's Hide, the younger children ritually report their arrival to Teddy Carnival, ghost of the builder's son, drowned three generations ago. A trio of brothers arrive claiming to be Carnival descendants; accepted at face value by most of the family, they are recognized by middle child and budding novelist Harry (Ariadne) as the ghosts of Teddy's multiple personalities—Ovid (mind, a master of metamorphoses); Hadfield (instinct—al one point he tries to rape Harry): and Felix (the heart, submerged in life but striving toward dominance in the course of the story; he and Harry fall in love). An array of other love relationships, both lifelong and transitory, are transformed during the tricksters' appearance: Harry, especially, moves from a childish romanticism to a more mature understanding, although she has always been the quiet observer who has understood the drama around her better than its participants. Mahy fills her stories with insights illumined by their contexts: "Have I made love with a ghost'?" . . ."It's what writers do, isn't it?" Her names are suggestive; her characters are as original and individual as any in print—bitchy eldest child Christobel Hamilton, manipulative charmer, is particularly vivid; it's she who learns that ". . .the real trick is to use the tricks, but never forget the truth"—because, in this spellbinding tapestry of people and ideas, mystery and concealed parentage, there are many more tricksters than the surprisingly corporeal ghosts.

Pub Date: March 1, 1989

ISBN: 0689829108

Page Count: 276

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1987

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A love letter to fans who will forgive (and even revel in) its excesses and indulgences.

MIDNIGHT SUN

From the Twilight series , Vol. 5

A long-awaited Twilight (2005) companion novel told from vampire Edward’s point of view.

Edward Cullen, a 104-year-old vampire (and eternal 17-year-old), finds his world turned upside down when new girl Bella Swan’s addictive scent drives a primal hunger, launching the classic story of vampire-meets-girl, vampire-wants-to-eat-girl, vampire-falls-in-love-with-girl. Edward’s broody inner monologue allows readers to follow every beat of his falling in love. The glacial pace and already familiar plot points mean that instead of surprise twists, characterization reigns. Meyer doesn’t shy away from making Edward far less sympathetic than Bella’s view of him (and his mind reading confirms that Bella’s view of him isn’t universal). Bella benefits from being seen without the curtain of self-deprecation from the original book, as Edward analyzes her every action for clues to her personality. The deeper, richer characterization of the leads comes at the expense of the secondary cast, who (with a few exceptions) alternate primarily along gender lines, between dimwitted buffoons and jealous mean girls. Once the vampiric threat from James’ storyline kicks off, vampire maneuvering and strategizing show off the interplay of the Cullens’ powers in a fresh way. After the action of the climax starts in earnest, though, it leans more into summary and monologue to get to the well-known ending. Aside from the Quileutes and the occasional background character, the cast defaults to White.

A love letter to fans who will forgive (and even revel in) its excesses and indulgences. (Paranormal romance. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-70704-6

Page Count: 672

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends.

RED QUEEN

From the Red Queen series , Vol. 1

Amid a war and rising civil unrest, a young thief discovers the shocking power within her that sparks a revolution.

At 17, Mare knows that without an apprenticeship or job, her next birthday will bring a conscription to join the war. She contributes to her poor family’s income the only way she can, stealing from the Silvers, who possess myriad powers and force her and her fellow Reds into servitude. The Silvers literally bleed silver, and they can manipulate metal, plants and animals, among many other talents. When Mare’s best friend, Kilorn, loses his job and is doomed to conscription, she is determined to change his fate. She stumbles into a mysterious stranger after her plan goes awry and is pulled out of her village and into the world of Silver royalty. Once inside the palace walls, it isn’t long before Mare learns that powers unknown to red-blooded humans lie within her, powers that could lead a revolution. Familiar tropes abound. Mare is revealed as a great catalyst for change among classes and is groomed from rags to riches, and of course, seemingly kind characters turn out to be foes. However, Aveyard weaves a compelling new world, and Mare and the two men in her life evolve intriguingly as class tension rises. Revolution supersedes romance, setting the stage for action-packed surprises.

An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-231063-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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