Next book

JOE GOLEM AND THE DROWNING CITY

Mignola’s affectionate, Kirby-esque portraits compliment Golden’s imaginative, YA-friendly prose.

An adolescent orphan navigates a subterranean world of magic and technology with the help of an aged detective and his mysterious square-jawed protector.

There’s an appetite out there for these sorts of propulsive, fantasy-rich mash-ups of steampunk and mythic literature, as evidenced by the likes of the video game Bioshock and Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. But few combine literary sincerity and fun as well as Mignola (creator of the comic-book superhero Hellboy) and sometime collaborator Golden (Baltimore, or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire, 2007, etc.). Here the pair construct a rich world ripe for sequels and prequels. In their version of New York City, a cataclysm flooded the place in 1925, sinking Lower Manhattan in what has become known as “The Drowning City.” An elderly necromancer named Felix Orlov has taken 14-year-old redhead Molly McHugh under his protection. When malevolent gas-masked intruders attack, Molly is saved by an enormous boxer-nosed brute named Joe. It turns out that Joe works for an ancient Holmsian detective, Simon Church, who inspired dozens of stories and novels but whose real work is keeping tabs on the city’s occult activity. “Give me honest ghosts, a vampire hungry for blood, boggarts that eat children…that’s more my area,” says Church. “Not this vast, unknowable cosmic lunacy.” For decades, Church has been hunting the malevolent Dr. Cocteau, a brilliant and elusive villain who’s gotten his hands on a powerful artifact called Lector’s Pentajumlum. Steely-eyed but an amnesiac, Joe instinctually becomes Molly’s protector, but the dreams of this Croatian behemoth are of killing witches, a tidbit that becomes important later in the story. With Jules Verne technology, ghosts, magic and multidimensional monsters, it doesn’t fall that far from Mignola’s Hellboy origins, but it’s an awfully fun way to pass an afternoon.

Mignola’s affectionate, Kirby-esque portraits compliment Golden’s imaginative, YA-friendly prose. 

Pub Date: April 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-312-64473-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 139


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

DEVOLUTION

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

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 139


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

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. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Next book

THE DARK FOREST

From the Remembrance of Earth's Past series , Vol. 2

Once again, a highly impressive must-read.

Second part of an alien-contact trilogy (The Three-Body Problem, 2014) from China’s most celebrated science-fiction author.

In the previous book, the inhabitants of Trisolaris, a planet with three suns, discovered that their planet was doomed and that Earth offered a suitable refuge. So, determined to capture Earth and exterminate humanity, the Trisolarans embarked on a 400-year-long interstellar voyage and also sent sophons (enormously sophisticated computers constructed inside the curled-up dimensions of fundamental particles) to spy on humanity and impose an unbreakable block on scientific advance. On Earth, the Earth-Trisolaris Organization formed to help the invaders, despite knowing the inevitable outcome. Humanity’s lone advantage is that Trisolarans are incapable of lying or dissimulation and so cannot understand deceit or subterfuge. This time, with the Trisolarans a few years into their voyage, physicist Ye Wenjie (whose reminiscences drove much of the action in the last book) visits astronomer-turned-sociologist Luo Ji, urging him to develop her ideas on cosmic sociology. The Planetary Defense Council, meanwhile, in order to combat the powerful escapist movement (they want to build starships and flee so that at least some humans will survive), announces the Wallfacer Project. Four selected individuals will be accorded the power to command any resource in order to develop plans to defend Earth, while the details will remain hidden in the thoughts of each Wallfacer, where even the sophons can't reach. To combat this, the ETO creates Wallbreakers, dedicated to deducing and thwarting the plans of the Wallfacers. The chosen Wallfacers are soldier Frederick Tyler, diplomat Manuel Rey Diaz, neuroscientist Bill Hines, and—Luo Ji. Luo has no idea why he was chosen, but, nonetheless, the Trisolarans seem determined to kill him. The plot’s development centers on Liu’s dark and rather gloomy but highly persuasive philosophy, with dazzling ideas and an unsettling, nonlinear, almost nonnarrative structure that demands patience but offers huge rewards.

Once again, a highly impressive must-read.

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7653-7708-1

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

Close Quickview