Takes the reader on a gripping journey filled with unexpected twists and turns; a fun, smart read.



Rathod and Kerr’s novel is a fantastical coming-of-age story about a 16-year-old named Howard.

When Howard learns that he has magical abilities—and Rathod and Kerr portray his exploration of his newfound power in very real terms—his life changes. Growing up in an orphanage, the Boy’s Home, Howard knows little of his family background and lineage. The day he discovers his supernatural talents, he accidentally performs a healing spell on an injured child at the Home.  The discoveries only get more complex and unique when Howard meets the beautiful and exotic Elisa at the mall. After an encounter in the parking lot with a group of men dressed in black, driving black SUVs and shooting bullets that mysteriously disappear, Howard and Elisa are thrown together in an effort to save their lives. Once it’s been established that the two hail from the same magical realm, they set off on a quest that begins with questions (“Well, what do we do now?”), evolves into confessions (“You want to know the truth?  Here it is. I’m a Venefican and I’ve been a magic user my whole life.”) and is finally ignited when the two (along with Elisa’s boyfriend, Jack) begin their search for the Verity Fire. However, the Verity Fire, which Elisa understands will help them prove their worth and save them from becoming prey or victim to the men who tried to chase them down in the mall parking lot, is not easily accessible. First, they don’t know where the fire is located. Second, it is a highly protected source of information. And finally, Howard and Elisa are busy avoiding the men from the mall.  It turns out that those men are the Ferreters who, Elisa tells Howard, are determined to destroy the Venefican community because of century-old conflicts that go from the Ancient Egyptians to World War II. Rathod and Kerr have created a believable and compelling character with Howard, our narrator, and Elisa. Howard is sympathetic, authentic and filled with a confusion and awe for this new surreal dimension. The truth about the Ferreters and the Verity Fire is, it turns out, far more complicated than Howard or Elisa could have expected—and this is at the heart of both the story’s journey and its end. The novel uses the discovery of inner power as a tidy metaphor for growing up, while telling an intricately plotted sci-fi tale.

Takes the reader on a gripping journey filled with unexpected twists and turns; a fun, smart read.

Pub Date: April 20, 2011

ISBN: 978-1461001133

Page Count: 320

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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


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. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

A fun, fast-paced epic that science fiction fans will gobble up.


A curious scientist stumbles on mysterious ruins in the opening chapters of this science fiction epic.

Things are really turning around for Kira Navárez. A xenobiologist, she’s finishing up a stint doing research on the large moon Adrasteia with a small team of other scientists, and her boyfriend, Alan, has just proposed to her. Instead of continuing to spend months apart, working on different planets and waiting until they can be together, they'll be able to ask their employers to make them part of a colony as a couple. As Kira performs a few routine last-minute checks before their team leaves the system, something strange catches her eye. She decides to check it out, just to be thorough, and finds herself in the middle of an ancient structure. When her curiosity gets the better of her and she touches a pedestal covered in dust, a bizarre black material flows out and covers her entire body. She passes out as she's being rescued by her team, and when she comes to, she seems to be fine, and the team reports her findings to the government. But soon a kind of strange, alien suit takes over her body, covering her with black material that lashes out violently against Alan and the other scientists, forming spikes that jump out from her skin. A military ship comes to collect what's left of the team and investigate the reports of an alien discovery. When an alien species attacks the ship, presumably because of Kira’s discovery, Kira will have to learn to harness the suit’s strange powers to defend herself and the rest of the human race. Paolini, best known for the YA epic fantasy series The Inheritance Cycle, makes his adult debut in another genre that welcomes long page counts. This one clocks in at close to 900 pages, but the rollicking pace, rapidly developing stakes, and Paolini’s confident worldbuilding make them fly by. Perhaps not the most impressive prose, but a worthwhile adventure story.

A fun, fast-paced epic that science fiction fans will gobble up.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-76284-9

Page Count: 880

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?