Fantasy that entertains and enlightens.

STARLIGHT ENCLAVE

The first installment of Salvatore’s new fantasy trilogy returns readers to the Forgotten Realms with an adventure revolving around Catti-brie, the wife of the author’s signature character, the dark elf Drizzt Do’Urden.

After the birth of their daughter, Brienne, Drizzt is markedly changed—spending more time contemplating deep existential questions and trying to rediscover the clarity and purpose in his life. To those ends, he decides to travel with his toddler daughter to the Monastery of the Yellow Rose to train with the monks and introduce Brienne to Grandmaster Kane. As Drizzt embarks on his own spiritual quest, his wife joins forces with smooth-talking drow mercenary Jarlaxle, human assassin Artemis Enteri, and weapons master Zaknafein, Drizzt’s father. At Jarlaxle’s request, the quartet of adventurers (via magic portal) travel to the top of the world searching for a person who, if found, could stop the drow city-state of Menzoberranzan from destroying itself in a civil war. But aside from almost dying multiple times over in the strange world without true night—the killing cold, frost giants, polar worms, etc.—the group finds something completely unexpected, a revelation that will change the way they look at the world, and themselves, forever. Longtime fans of Drizzt Do’Urden will surely enjoy the novel’s breakneck pacing, nonstop action, cast of familiar and beloved characters, and deep philosophical exploration throughout. This storyline, in particular, packs a thematic wallop that is both timely and timeless. “We’re never to see peace—none of us—until we come to recognize that a child of a culture that is not our own is as precious as one who is.” And although the transitions between the two story threads aren’t exactly smooth, some fight scenes are a bit flat, and the conclusion is little more than a respite until the next installment, readers should embrace Salvatore’s newest adventure with Drizzt and company.

Fantasy that entertains and enlightens.

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-302977-4

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

Hits the marks for spooky thrills and mysterious chills.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BOOK OF NIGHT

A former thief who specialized in stealing magical documents is forced back into her old habits in Black's adult debut.

Charlie Hall used to work as a thief, stealing for and from magicians—or rather, “gloamists.” In this world, gloamists are people with magical shadows that are alive, gaining strength from the gloamists' own blood. A gloamist can learn to manipulate the magic of their shadow, doing everything from changing how it looks to using it to steal, possess a person, or even murder. Gloamists hire nonmagical people like Charlie to steal precious and rare magical documents written by their kind throughout history and detailing their research and experiments in shadow magic. Gloamists can use onyx to keep each other from sending shadows to steal these treasures, but onyx won't stop regular humans from old-fashioned breaking and entering. After Charlie’s talent for crime gets her into too much trouble, she swears off her old career and tries to settle down with her sensible boyfriend, Vince—but when she finds a dead man in an alley and notices that even his shadow has been ripped to pieces, she can’t help trying to figure out who he was and why he met such a gruesome end. Before she knows it, Charlie is forced back into a life of lies and danger, using her skills as a thief to find a book that could unleash the full and terrifying power of the shadow world. Black is a veteran fantasy writer, which shows in the opening pages as she neatly and easily guides the reader through the engrossing world of gloamists, magical shadows, and Charlie’s brand of criminality. There's a lot of flipping back and forth between the past and the present, and though both timelines are well plotted and suspenseful, the story leans a touch too hard on the flashbacks. Still, the mystery elements are well executed, as is Charlie’s characterization, and the big twist at the end packs a satisfying punch.

Hits the marks for spooky thrills and mysterious chills.

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-81219-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A deep and grimly whimsical exploration of what it means to be a son, a father, and an artist.

THE SWALLOWED MAN

A retelling of Pinocchio from Geppetto's point of view.

The novel purports to be the memoirs of Geppetto, a carpenter from the town of Collodi, written in the belly of a vast fish that has swallowed him. Fortunately for Geppetto, the fish has also engulfed a ship, and its supplies—fresh water, candles, hardtack, captain’s logbook, ink—are what keep the Swallowed Man going. (Collodi is, of course, the name of the author of the original Pinocchio.) A misfit whose loneliness is equaled only by his drive to make art, Geppetto scours his surroundings for supplies, crafting sculptures out of pieces of the ship’s wood, softened hardtack, mussel shells, and his own hair, half hoping and half fearing to create a companion once again that will come to life. He befriends a crab that lives all too briefly in his beard, then mourns when “she” dies. Alone in the dark, he broods over his past, reflecting on his strained relationship with his father and his harsh treatment of his own “son”—Pinocchio, the wooden puppet that somehow came to life. In true Carey fashion, the author illustrates the novel with his own images of his protagonist’s art: sketches of Pinocchio, of woodworking tools, of the women Geppetto loved; photos of driftwood, of tintypes, of a sculpted self-portrait with seaweed hair. For all its humor, the novel is dark and claustrophobic, and its true subject is the responsibilities of creators. Remembering the first time he heard of the sea monster that was to swallow him, Geppetto wonders if the monster is somehow connected to Pinocchio: “The unnatural child had so thrown the world off-balance that it must be righted at any cost, and perhaps the only thing with the power to right it was a gigantic sea monster, born—I began to suppose this—just after I cracked the world by making a wooden person.” Later, contemplating his self-portrait bust, Geppetto asks, “Monster of the deep. Am I, then, the monster? Do I nightmare myself?”

A deep and grimly whimsical exploration of what it means to be a son, a father, and an artist.

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-18887-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more