This absorbing SF series concludes with a brisk, electrifying tale.

THE REVENGE OF HATATHOR

A dangerous conflict on an alien planet involves revenge plots and a wormhole-jumping orb in this final installment of an SF trilogy.

Iraqi alchemist Al-Khidr once again leaves Earth. He uses a hand-held jump-sphere to return to planet Lyra, unaware his enemy Hatathor, who followed him to Earth, has hitched a ride as well. The two are in for a shock: It’s not the same Lyra they left. Years have passed, and a new king has seized the throne while the former administration plans retribution. Al-Khidr keeps his head down until reuniting with his Lyrian lover, Nefertiti, a former police officer who opposes the king’s rule. The alchemist fights to protect the jump-sphere, an incredible device that houses the earthly cure for the alien disease Mutmut, which kills Lyrian males. Hatathor, like Al-Khidr, has trouble settling into Lyra’s new political climate. He also craves revenge against Al-Khidr, who he thinks is cursed with human diseases, as well as the woman who supposedly murdered Hatathor’s father. Meanwhile, a power struggle among Hatathor, the king, and a cult that may actually be running the kingdom threatens everyone on the planet. Odin imbues his trilogy’s third volume with a much faster pace than the earlier installments. Al-Khidr and Nefertiti, for example, dodge quadrotor drones and face off against men toting laser guns. Surprisingly, the villains provide the most narrative fun, as discord between them fuels various motivations and schemes from the beginning. This story almost becomes a violent soap opera. Hatathor stumbles into romance with the princess, whose father wants her to marry his commander in chief. The commander has ties to the cult and aims to kill Hatathor. The author rounds out his enjoyable tale with betrayals, unexpected deaths, and Earth itself in peril. Despite a thorough and convincing wrap-up, the ending hints at more stories featuring the compelling intergalactic cast.

This absorbing SF series concludes with a brisk, electrifying tale.

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2022

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Odin Fantasy World

Review Posted Online: March 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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IT ENDS WITH US

Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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

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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

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