An effortlessly grand fantasy that should ensnare young and older fans alike.

EXILE OF THE SKY GOD

This YA novel sees a young god in danger of breaking his pantheon’s oath for the sake of a mortal.

In ancient Egypt, the falcon-faced Horus, God of the Sky, has come of age. At his coronation in the palace courtyard, he’s to receive an amulet of power from Amun Ra, God of the Sun, that bestows miraculous power. Horus chooses to don the face of a mortal. Ra sees the young deity with the wheat-colored hair of a Northerner and becomes enraged. He drops the garnet amulet, cracking it and vastly reducing its power. Horus vows to prove himself to Ra and goes among the worshiping mortals for the first time. The warrior goddess Bastet, a friend, suggests that he “learn about your people and gain their faith.” Yet Horus must abide the Oath of the Gods, which warns against altering a mortal’s fate, showing favor, causing death, or granting life. This proves challenging when Horus notices the enchanting Zahra, head priestess at the Temple of Ra. While she can’t see Horus, Zahra begins to feel his curious presence. Horus wonders why she’s so devoted to the cruel Ra, who ignores even her, the most devoted and bewitching mortal the young god’s yet encountered. In this sensual fantasy, Anastasia (Fates Awoken, 2018, etc.) skillfully balances an epic romance against a crafty magic system that demands Horus perform miracles to regain the power denied him by Ra. When Zahra thanks Horus for bringing shade to the Temple, “warm, yellow light emanated from beneath” his skin. She grows ever harder to resist: Horus finds that “her companionship provided me with a sense of wholeness and belonging.” Complicating matters is Set, God of Chaos, who’d love for Horus to break the oath and leave him a path to the throne. Readers should enjoy the constellation of twists that makes this a shimmering heroic romance with a message of hope through transformation.

An effortlessly grand fantasy that should ensnare young and older fans alike.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9974485-8-0

Page Count: 284

Publisher: Jackal Moon Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2019

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Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the...

FLY AWAY

Hannah’s sequel to Firefly Lane (2008) demonstrates that those who ignore family history are often condemned to repeat it.

When we last left Kate and Tully, the best friends portrayed in Firefly Lane, the friendship was on rocky ground. Now Kate has died of cancer, and Tully, whose once-stellar TV talk show career is in free fall, is wracked with guilt over her failure to be there for Kate until her very last days. Kate’s death has cemented the distrust between her husband, Johnny, and daughter Marah, who expresses her grief by cutting herself and dropping out of college to hang out with goth poet Paxton. Told mostly in flashbacks by Tully, Johnny, Marah and Tully’s long-estranged mother, Dorothy, aka Cloud, the story piles up disasters like the derailment of a high-speed train. Increasingly addicted to prescription sedatives and alcohol, Tully crashes her car and now hovers near death, attended by Kate’s spirit, as the other characters gather to see what their shortsightedness has wrought. We learn that Tully had tried to parent Marah after her father no longer could. Her hard-drinking decline was triggered by Johnny’s anger at her for keeping Marah and Paxton’s liaison secret. Johnny realizes that he only exacerbated Marah’s depression by uprooting the family from their Seattle home. Unexpectedly, Cloud, who rebuffed Tully’s every attempt to reconcile, also appears at her daughter’s bedside. Sixty-nine years old and finally sober, Cloud details for the first time the abusive childhood, complete with commitments to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments, that led to her life as a junkie lowlife and punching bag for trailer-trash men. Although powerful, Cloud’s largely peripheral story deflects focus away from the main conflict, as if Hannah was loath to tackle the intractable thicket in which she mired her main characters.

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the pages turning even as readers begin to resent being drawn into this masochistic morass.

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-57721-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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THE COLDEST WINTER EVER

Debut novel by hip-hop rap artist Sister Souljah, whose No Disrespect (1994), which mixes sexual history with political diatribe, is popular in schools country-wide. In its way, this is a tour de force of black English and underworld slang, as finely tuned to its heroine’s voice as Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. The subject matter, though, has a certain flashiness, like a black Godfather family saga, and the heroine’s eventual fall develops only glancingly from her character. Born to a 14-year-old mother during one of New York’s worst snowstorms, Winter Santiaga is the teenaged daughter of Ricky Santiaga, Brooklyn’s top drug dealer, who lives like an Arab prince and treats his wife and four daughters like a queen and her princesses. Winter lost her virginity at 12 and now focuses unwaveringly on varieties of adolescent self-indulgence: sex and sugar-daddies, clothes, and getting her own way. She uses school only as a stepping-stone for getting out of the house—after all, nobody’s paying her to go there. But if there’s no money in it, why go? Meanwhile, Daddy decides it’s time to move out of Brooklyn to truly fancy digs on Long Island, though this places him in the discomfiting position of not being absolutely hands-on with his dealers; and sure enough the rise of some young Turks leads to his arrest. Then he does something really stupid: he murders his wife’s two weak brothers in jail with him on Riker’s Island and gets two consecutive life sentences. Winter’s then on her own, especially with Bullet, who may have replaced her dad as top hood, though when she selfishly fails to help her pregnant buddy Simone, there’s worse—much worse—to come. Thinness aside: riveting stuff, with language so frank it curls your hair. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-671-02578-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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