Fans of paranormal fiction and of Vincent’s previous work (The Stars Never Rise, 2015, etc.) should enjoy the unusual...

MENAGERIE

This novel begins a dark and moody new series set among circus freaks and cryptids.

In Vincent’s story, the creatures from various world mythologies are very real. Werewolves, sphinxes, Minotaurs, and many others populate the pages. But the main character, Delilah, is one of the most puzzling, because she lives most of her life convinced she’s human. Only when a vicious act sparks her instinctive violent reaction does her true nature reveal itself: she is a most rare cryptid. The response by law enforcement is swift and brutal. She's declared nonhuman, stripped of all rights, and sold as property to a traveling carnival. Over the course of several weeks, she's caged, brutalized, and terrorized. However, with the help of her handler, Gallagher, she also discovers the truth of her nature and gets the chance to blaze a path to aid her fellow cryptids. Delilah is an intelligent protagonist who's easy to root for, especially as so much seems set against her. There is extraordinary injustice in this world. Cryptids are legally property, and they're treated horribly by nearly all humans, enduring a miserable existence only they can understand. Vincent summons bold and vivid imagery with her writing, especially with the otherworldly aspects of the carnival. There are many named characters and many mythologies to catch up on, which slows the pace somewhat. The shifting point of view can be jarring, since Delilah tells her story in the first person, while all the other narrating characters are presented in the third. And while the ending is suitably bombastic, it feels more like a pause before the already-scheduled sequel.

Fans of paranormal fiction and of Vincent’s previous work (The Stars Never Rise, 2015, etc.) should enjoy the unusual premise of the novel, but the violence throughout may limit its appeal.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7783-1605-3

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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ANIMAL FARM

A FAIRY STORY

A modern day fable, with modern implications in a deceiving simplicity, by the author of Dickens. Dali and Others (Reynal & Hitchcock, p. 138), whose critical brilliance is well adapted to this type of satire. This tells of the revolt on a farm, against humans, when the pigs take over the intellectual superiority, training the horses, cows, sheep, etc., into acknowledging their greatness. The first hints come with the reading out of a pig who instigated the building of a windmill, so that the electric power would be theirs, the idea taken over by Napoleon who becomes topman with no maybes about it. Napoleon trains the young puppies to be his guards, dickers with humans, gradually instigates a reign of terror, and breaks the final commandment against any animal walking on two legs. The old faithful followers find themselves no better off for food and work than they were when man ruled them, learn their final disgrace when they see Napoleon and Squealer carousing with their enemies... A basic statement of the evils of dictatorship in that it not only corrupts the leaders, but deadens the intelligence and awareness of those led so that tyranny is inevitable. Mr. Orwell's animals exist in their own right, with a narrative as individual as it is apt in political parody.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 1946

ISBN: 0452277507

Page Count: 114

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1946

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Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.

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ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE

Doerr presents us with two intricate stories, both of which take place during World War II; late in the novel, inevitably, they intersect.

In August 1944, Marie-Laure LeBlanc is a blind 16-year-old living in the walled port city of Saint-Malo in Brittany and hoping to escape the effects of Allied bombing. D-Day took place two months earlier, and Cherbourg, Caen and Rennes have already been liberated. She’s taken refuge in this city with her great-uncle Etienne, at first a fairly frightening figure to her. Marie-Laure’s father was a locksmith and craftsman who made scale models of cities that Marie-Laure studied so she could travel around on her own. He also crafted clever and intricate boxes, within which treasures could be hidden. Parallel to the story of Marie-Laure we meet Werner and Jutta Pfennig, a brother and sister, both orphans who have been raised in the Children’s House outside Essen, in Germany. Through flashbacks we learn that Werner had been a curious and bright child who developed an obsession with radio transmitters and receivers, both in their infancies during this period. Eventually, Werner goes to a select technical school and then, at 18, into the Wehrmacht, where his technical aptitudes are recognized and he’s put on a team trying to track down illegal radio transmissions. Etienne and Marie-Laure are responsible for some of these transmissions, but Werner is intrigued since what she’s broadcasting is innocent—she shares her passion for Jules Verne by reading aloud 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A further subplot involves Marie-Laure’s father’s having hidden a valuable diamond, one being tracked down by Reinhold von Rumpel, a relentless German sergeant-major.

Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4658-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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