An often absorbing, if unevenly executed, read for those who enjoy tales of dragons.

THE WHISPER OF DRAGONS

In Picard’s fantasy novel, a young woman is destined for greatness, but when the end of the world draws near, she may be forced to sacrifice what’s most dear to her to save humanity.

Kavi Kindra, who has magical powers, has grown up with knowledge she is the heir to the guardianship held by Amthorn, a dragon who protects the earth from outside threats. One day, she’ll take up the role of Guardian, who, according to her society’s mythology, watches over all of creation. Her foster mother’s mistreatment, and her own feeling of being very different from others, lead Kavi to turn to Amthorn, her oldest, dearest mentor, for advice. However, Amthorn’s motivations aren’t so clear, and the creature’s goals may force Kavi to make a very difficult choice. Her conflicts with her family and community rise to the surface with the reappearance of her childhood friend, Gideon. He’s made terrible mistakes working for the dreaded scientist Zmey and has put their community in danger. Kavi also deals with her old romantic feelings for Gideon, even though human relationships seem to be out of reach for dragon heirs like her—but they may be the only thing that can save the world. Over the course of this novel, Picard effectively presents a large and engaging cast, and she escorts the reader into what proves to be a complex world. However, the initial introduction of the various story elements feels a bit bumpy, and although the characters are pleasingly diverse, their development, and, by extension, the story’s ultimate resolution, leave something to be desired. That said, Picard does showcase a clear, cohesive theme regarding the importance of human interaction, which runs through every conversation and plot development.

An often absorbing, if unevenly executed, read for those who enjoy tales of dragons.

Pub Date: July 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-99-878355-0

Page Count: 442

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

IT STARTS WITH US

The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

FAIRY TALE

Narnia on the Penobscot: a grand, and naturally strange, entertainment from the ever prolific King.

What’s a person to do when sheltering from Covid? In King’s case, write something to entertain himself while reflecting on what was going on in the world outside—ravaged cities, contentious politics, uncertainty. King’s yarn begins in a world that’s recognizably ours, and with a familiar trope: A young woman, out to buy fried chicken, is mashed by a runaway plumber’s van, sending her husband into an alcoholic tailspin and her son into a preadolescent funk, driven “bugfuck” by a father who “was always trying to apologize.” The son makes good by rescuing an elderly neighbor who’s fallen off a ladder, though he protests that the man’s equally elderly German shepherd, Radar, was the true hero. Whatever the case, Mr. Bowditch has an improbable trove of gold in his Bates Motel of a home, and its origin seems to lie in a shed behind the house, one that Mr. Bowditch warns the boy away from: “ ‘Don’t go in there,’ he said. ‘You may in time, but for now don’t even think of it.’ ” It’s not Pennywise who awaits in the underworld behind the shed door, but there’s plenty that’s weird and unexpected, including a woman, Dora, whose “skin was slate gray and her face was cruelly deformed,” and a whole bunch of people—well, sort of people, anyway—who’d like nothing better than to bring their special brand of evil up to our world’s surface. King’s young protagonist, Charlie Reade, is resourceful beyond his years, but it helps that the old dog gains some of its youthful vigor in the depths below. King delivers a more or less traditional fable that includes a knowing nod: “I think I know what you want,” Charlie tells the reader, "and now you have it”—namely, a happy ending but with a suitably sardonic wink.

A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66800-217-9

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

more