by Paul Meloy ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 10, 2015
This tumultuous romp, which shifts rapidly from one character’s viewpoint to another, is anchored by Trevena, whose warmth...
British psychiatric nurse Phil Trevena’s patients are dying, a frightening prelude to the potential loss of all reality—unless he and a time traveler named Daniel can rebuild the clock that commands the Dark Time flux.
Known for his fractured-reality short stories (Dogs With Their Eyes Shut, 2013, etc.), Meloy often mixes comedy and terror, as he does in this debut novel, in which the “devil-in-dreams,” a malevolent force, corrupts some of the Firmament Surgeons—those charged with keeping “the mechanisms of Creation running against the entropy arising from the fall of man”—into Autoscopes, who wage the paranormal Autosomachy war against hope. Linking both death and unmotivated violence to the theft of dreams (echoing Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane), Meloy builds a complex, confusing puzzle while deploying a muscular, humorous, profane voice, which can sometimes backfire. Take this image of “an elderly lady, kyphotic and bandy….” Kyphotic? Technically accurate, yet it stops a reader cold. Whether he links a mass shooting to a man-turned–crazed fish who rides a Mad Max–inspired armored mobility scooter or shows us how a psychiatric patient, Daniel, is really the time-altering “hypnopomp,” Meloy utilizes a daunting array of genre favorites: a zombie; talking animals; murderous, semiorganic machinery; vitreosaurs; a train named the Railgrinder (a nod to Railsea?); and Dune-like Dr. Natus, a living fetus in a bottle, “a dead baby with the mind of a god.”This tumultuous romp, which shifts rapidly from one character’s viewpoint to another, is anchored by Trevena, whose warmth provides needed emotional continuity in a shocking, roiling, but imitative quest to protect human dreams.
Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2015
Page Count: 384
Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2015
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015
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by Leigh Bardugo ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 1, 2019
With an aura of both enchantment and authenticity, Bardugo’s compulsively readable novel leaves a portal ajar for equally...
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
Yale’s secret societies hide a supernatural secret in this fantasy/murder mystery/school story.
Most Yale students get admitted through some combination of impressive academics, athletics, extracurriculars, family connections, and donations, or perhaps bribing the right coach. Not Galaxy “Alex” Stern. The protagonist of Bardugo’s (King of Scars, 2019, etc.) first novel for adults, a high school dropout and low-level drug dealer, Alex got in because she can see dead people. A Yale dean who's a member of Lethe, one of the college’s famously mysterious secret societies, offers Alex a free ride if she will use her spook-spotting abilities to help Lethe with its mission: overseeing the other secret societies’ occult rituals. In Bardugo’s universe, the “Ancient Eight” secret societies (Lethe is the eponymous Ninth House) are not just old boys’ breeding grounds for the CIA, CEOs, Supreme Court justices, and so on, as they are in ours; they’re wielders of actual magic. Skull and Bones performs prognostications by borrowing patients from the local hospital, cutting them open, and examining their entrails. St. Elmo’s specializes in weather magic, useful for commodities traders; Aurelian, in unbreakable contracts; Manuscript goes in for glamours, or “illusions and lies,” helpful to politicians and movie stars alike. And all these rituals attract ghosts. It’s Alex’s job to keep the supernatural forces from embarrassing the magical elite by releasing chaos into the community (all while trying desperately to keep her grades up). “Dealing with ghosts was like riding the subway: Do not make eye contact. Do not smile. Do not engage. Otherwise, you never know what might follow you home.” A townie’s murder sets in motion a taut plot full of drug deals, drunken assaults, corruption, and cover-ups. Loyalties stretch and snap. Under it all runs the deep, dark river of ambition and anxiety that at once powers and undermines the Yale experience. Alex may have more reason than most to feel like an imposter, but anyone who’s spent time around the golden children of the Ivy League will likely recognize her self-doubt.With an aura of both enchantment and authenticity, Bardugo’s compulsively readable novel leaves a portal ajar for equally dazzling sequels.
Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019
Page Count: 448
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Review Posted Online: June 30, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019
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by Kevin Hearne ‧ RELEASE DATE: Feb. 4, 2020
A charming and persuasive entry that will leave readers impatiently awaiting the concluding volume.
Book 2 of Hearne's latest fantasy trilogy, The Seven Kennings (A Plague of Giants, 2017), set in a multiracial world thrust into turmoil by an invasion of peculiar giants.
In this world, most races have their own particular magical endowment, or “kenning,” though there are downsides to trying to gain the magic (an excellent chance of being killed instead) and using it (rapid aging and death). Most recently discovered is the sixth kenning, whose beneficiaries can talk to and command animals. The story canters along, although with multiple first-person narrators, it's confusing at times. Some characters are familiar, others are new, most of them with their own problems to solve, all somehow caught up in the grand design. To escape her overbearing father and the unreasoning violence his kind represents, fire-giant Olet Kanek leads her followers into the far north, hoping to found a new city where the races and kennings can peacefully coexist. Joining Olet are young Abhinava Khose, discoverer of the sixth kenning, and, later, Koesha Gansu (kenning: air), captain of an all-female crew shipwrecked by deep-sea monsters. Elsewhere, Hanima, who commands hive insects, struggles to free her city from the iron grip of wealthy, callous merchant monarchists. Other threads focus on the Bone Giants, relentless invaders seeking the still-unknown seventh kenning, whose confidence that this can defeat the other six is deeply disturbing. Under Hearne's light touch, these elements mesh perfectly, presenting an inventive, eye-filling panorama; satisfying (and, where appropriate, well-resolved) plotlines; and tensions between the races and their kennings to supply much of the drama.A charming and persuasive entry that will leave readers impatiently awaiting the concluding volume.
Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020
Page Count: 592
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine
Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019
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