A rousing adventure novel that marries steampunk aesthetics to the seminal concept of protecting American liberty.

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PARADOX BOUND

An aimless young man escapes his dead-end town when he meets a badass, time-traveling adventuress.

Well, it’s just about weird enough in America now for us to deserve a timey-wimey, full-barrel adventure novel from professional noodle-bender Clines (Ex-Isle, 2016, etc.) that also teaches a non-ironic lesson in American civics. One night 8-year-old Eli Teague of tiny Sanders, Maine, comes upon a woman decked out in Revolutionary War attire, complete with pistols, driving a souped-up 1929 Model A. He sees her briefly again at age 13, when he discovers her name is Harry. He’s finally drawn fully into her world at the age of 29. Harry Pritchard is a Searcher, a member of a shadowy alliance called The Chain, and can move back and forth through history. She is searching for the literal “American Dream,” a powerful incarnation of the values of the Founding Fathers, who summoned the Egyptian God of Creation to forge their totem—not as weird as it sounds. The American Dream was long protected by creepy murderous guardians called the faceless men, but the Dream was spirited away in the early 1960s. Now Harry and her companions use temporal anomalies called “slick spots” to flit through two centuries of American history. They’re hotly pursued by the faceless men, who now number Eli’s childhood bully among them. On their travels to pursue Harry’s leads, we meet a James Dean who faked his own death to search for the American Dream and the folkloric icon John Henry as well as other curious people who helped shape American history. Clines even throws in a few in-jokes for fun—the "transparent aluminum defense" is funny enough to trigger a spit take. Eli is a fine avatar for the reader but it’s Harry’s epithet-wielding, pistol-packing heroine that will capture hearts.

A rousing adventure novel that marries steampunk aesthetics to the seminal concept of protecting American liberty.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-553-41833-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: July 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

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SHAKESPEARE FOR SQUIRRELS

Manic parodist Moore, fresh off a season in 1947 San Francisco (Noir, 2018), returns with a rare gift for Shakespeare fans who think A Midsummer Night’s Dream would be perfect if only it were a little more madcap.

Cast adrift by pirates together with his apprentice, halfwit giant Drool, and Jeff, his barely less intelligent monkey, Pocket of Dog Snogging upon Ouze, jester to the late King Lear, washes ashore in Shakespeare’s Athens, where Cobweb, a squirrel by day and fairy by night, takes him under her wing and other parts. Soon after he encounters Robin Goodfellow (the Puck), jester to shadow king Oberon, and Nick Bottom and the other clueless mechanicals rehearsing Pyramus and Thisby in a nearby forest before they present it in celebration of the wedding of Theseus, Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the captive Amazon queen who’s captured his heart, Pocket (The Serpent of Venice, 2014, etc.) finds Robin fatally shot by an arrow. Suspected briefly of the murder himself, he’s commissioned, first by Hippolyta, then by the unwitting Theseus, to identify the Puck’s killer. Oh, and Egeus, the Duke’s steward, wants him to find and execute Lysander, who’s run off with Egeus’ daughter, Hermia, instead of marrying Helena, who’s in love with Demetrius. As English majors can attest, a remarkable amount of this madness can already be found in Shakespeare’s play. Moore’s contribution is to amp up the couplings, bawdy language, violence, and metatextual analogies between the royals, the fairies, the mechanicals, his own interloping hero, and any number of other plays by the Bard.

A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-243402-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Fierce, poetic, uncompromising.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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THE CITY WE BECAME

This extremely urban fantasy, a love/hate song to and rallying cry for the author’s home of New York, expands her story “The City, Born Great” (from How Long ’Til Black Future Month, 2018).

When a great city reaches the point when it's ready to come to life, it chooses a human avatar, who guides the city through its birthing and contends with an extradimensional Enemy who seeks to strike at this vulnerable moment. Now, it is New York City’s time to be born, but its avatar is too weakened by the battle to complete the process. So each of the individual boroughs instantiates its own avatar to continue the fight. Manhattan is a multiracial grad student new to the city with a secret violent past that he can no longer quite remember; Brooklyn is an African American rap star–turned–lawyer and city councilwoman; Queens is an Indian math whiz here on a visa; the Bronx is a tough Lenape woman who runs a nonprofit art center; and Staten Island is a frightened and insular Irish American woman who wants nothing to do with the other four. Can these boroughs successfully awaken and heal their primary avatar and repel the invading white tentacles of the Enemy? The novel is a bold calling out of the racial tensions dividing not only New York City, but the U.S. as a whole; it underscores that people of color are an integral part of the city’s tapestry even if some white people prefer to treat them as interlopers. It's no accident that the only white avatar is the racist woman representing Staten Island, nor that the Enemy appears as a Woman in White who employs the forces of racism and gentrification in her invasion; her true self is openly inspired by the tropes of the xenophobic author H.P. Lovecraft. Although the story is a fantasy, many aspects of the plot draw on contemporary incidents. In the real world, white people don’t need a nudge from an eldritch abomination to call down a violent police reaction on people of color innocently conducting their daily lives, and just as in the book, third parties are fraudulently transferring property deeds from African American homeowners in Brooklyn, and gentrification forces out the people who made the neighborhood attractive in the first place. In the face of these behaviors, whataboutism, #BothSides, and #NotAllWhitePeople are feeble arguments.

Fierce, poetic, uncompromising.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-50984-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Orbit

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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