A promising start to a new fantasy series.

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The Child Revealed

From the The World of Evendaar series , Vol. 1

In Winterstaar’s debut fantasy romance, a recently divorced woman and her three young children are pulled into a different world—one where she’s expected to be a prophecy-fulfilling queen.

As her marriage unravels, Adele retreats to her dreams: nightly rendezvous with a man she’s never met who nevertheless seems to be everything she’s longed for in a lover. Though they can’t touch or speak in her dreams, their passion is strong enough to haunt her waking life. Adele’s dreams connect her to a magical world called Evendaar: a realm haunted by a prophecy about the end of the world and “A child born into the Golden Age [who] shall be stolen from the Light and hidden from the eyes of the world.” High Wizard Ohren knows that Adele is this child, sent to the mundane world by his own magic long ago; she is, in fact, the rightful heir to the Throne of St. Lucidis and destined to protect the kingdom of Unisia. Not that Adele has any idea how to do so. Summoned by Ohren’s magic, she and her three kids enjoy a life of luxury while she tries to figure out her purpose. Then her dream man walks into a royal reception: he’s the outcast Prince Rainere of the Marchant family, an Immortal rumored to dabble in Dark Magic. Still, Adele starts a secret affair with Rainere, little knowing that he, like Ohren, sees her birthright as a potential weapon to be wielded. Even as he urges her to marry him, he’s in league with dark forces with their own sinister agendas. Although Adele is initially passive in her dealings with Ohren, Rainere, and the court intrigues she’s thrust into, debut author Winterstaar effectively shows how she gains confidence and strength, determined to be the best queen she can be, however absurd that notion is. The author’s prose is unusually straightforward for the genre, which makes for a page-turner. In particular, she’s adept at revealing detail slowly and naturally, without falling into the common fantasy-writer trap of seemingly endless expository monologues. This results in a tale that’s readable, layered, and engaging throughout.

A promising start to a new fantasy series.

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-99-147942-9

Page Count: 342

Publisher: Evendaar Publishing LLP

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

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THE GLASS HOTEL

A financier's Ponzi scheme unravels to disastrous effect, revealing the unexpected connections among a cast of disparate characters.

How did Vincent Smith fall overboard from a container ship near the coast of Mauritania, fathoms away from her former life as Jonathan Alkaitis' pretend trophy wife? In this long-anticipated follow-up to Station Eleven (2014), Mandel uses Vincent's disappearance to pick through the wreckage of Alkaitis' fraudulent investment scheme, which ripples through hundreds of lives. There's Paul, Vincent's half brother, a composer and addict in recovery; Olivia, an octogenarian painter who invested her retirement savings in Alkaitis' funds; Leon, a former consultant for a shipping company; and a chorus of office workers who enabled Alkaitis and are terrified of facing the consequences. Slowly, Mandel reveals how her characters struggle to align their stations in life with their visions for what they could be. For Vincent, the promise of transformation comes when she's offered a stint with Alkaitis in "the kingdom of money." Here, the rules of reality are different and time expands, allowing her to pursue video art others find pointless. For Alkaitis, reality itself is too much to bear. In his jail cell, he is confronted by the ghosts of his victims and escapes into "the counterlife," a soothing alternate reality in which he avoided punishment. It's in these dreamy sections that Mandel's ideas about guilt and responsibility, wealth and comfort, the real and the imagined, begin to cohere. At its heart, this is a ghost story in which every boundary is blurred, from the moral to the physical. How far will Alkaitis go to deny responsibility for his actions? And how quickly will his wealth corrupt the ambitions of those in proximity to it? In luminous prose, Mandel shows how easy it is to become caught in a web of unintended consequences and how disastrous it can be when such fragile bonds shatter under pressure.

A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-52114-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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