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


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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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.


Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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