An energetic sci-fi yarn that’s sure to please series fans and maybe even recruit a few new ones.

Resurrection

(THE ALTERRAN LEGACY SERIES, VOL. 3)

In this third volume in Joseph’s (Khamlok, 2013, etc.) sci-fi series, members of an alien civilization return to their planet, Alterra, after being stranded on Earth only to encounter terrorist attacks and treachery.

Alterrans have settled Earth, and the portal to return to their planet can’t be powered due to a solar eruption destroying Alterra’s atmosphere. When they’re able to generate enough energy for a portal, they send back the elders as well as Anu, son and successor to Supreme Leader Ama. Unfortunately, Banallo of the Kans—who are in opposition to Anu’s clan, the Ens—rightly surmises Anu’s leeriness of his son, En.Lil. The father knows that Alterran purists—particularly those on the Supreme Council—will disapprove of Lil’s decision to adapt to Earth for survival, defying their civilization’s vegan ways by consuming meat and marrying an earthling, Alana, who gave birth to their hybrid son, Iskur. But Banallo isn’t the only threat to Anu’s imminent leadership: People are protesting living underground while the surface is being terraformed, while the bombing of solar arrays suggests terrorism from saboteurs who may be working with the Kans. In the meantime, Lil’s half brother, En.Ki, and sister, Ninhursag, look for a way to bring back Lil’s dead wife, a plan that has unexpected results. Readers new to Joseph’s series may have trouble adjusting. Although the book opens with a message from Lil to his “quad” grandfather Zeya, and it adequately recaps the previous novels, numerous characters and places are named with little context. After those names are eventually clarified, it’s apparent that someone like Rameel is an ally to Lil, while “that pesky Elinara,” Lil’s quad grandmother, is largely antagonistic. The author includes a good deal of stellar technology, often with names that make their purposes self-explanatory, like a soundgun or rejuvenation chamber; sadly, there’s little visual reference, and any tech specifics are unknown. Joseph isn’t frugal with her descriptions, however, and she’s quite literally colorful, distinguishing Kan leaders’ black eyes from En leaders’ cobalt blue. In another stirring image, traveling through a portal renders the humans’ skin luminous and their hair white. Though a possible rebellion on Alterra is teased for most of the story, a strange turn near the end has a character wind up on trial, paving the way for Book 4.

An energetic sci-fi yarn that’s sure to please series fans and maybe even recruit a few new ones.

Pub Date: May 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1484817186

Page Count: 292

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 31

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

A celebration of fantasy that melds modern ideology with classic tropes. More of these dragons, please.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 32

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

THE PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE

After 1,000 years of peace, whispers that “the Nameless One will return” ignite the spark that sets the world order aflame.

No, the Nameless One is not a new nickname for Voldemort. Here, evil takes the shape of fire-breathing dragons—beasts that feed off chaos and imbalance—set on destroying humankind. The leader of these creatures, the Nameless One, has been trapped in the Abyss for ages after having been severely wounded by the sword Ascalon wielded by Galian Berethnet. These events brought about the current order: Virtudom, the kingdom set up by Berethnet, is a pious society that considers all dragons evil. In the East, dragons are worshiped as gods—but not the fire-breathing type. These dragons channel the power of water and are said to be born of stars. They forge a connection with humans by taking riders. In the South, an entirely different way of thinking exists. There, a society of female mages called the Priory worships the Mother. They don’t believe that the Berethnet line, continued by generations of queens, is the sacred key to keeping the Nameless One at bay. This means he could return—and soon. “Do you not see? It is a cycle.” The one thing uniting all corners of the world is fear. Representatives of each belief system—Queen Sabran the Ninth of Virtudom, hopeful dragon rider Tané of the East, and Ead Duryan, mage of the Priory from the South—are linked by the common goal of keeping the Nameless One trapped at any cost. This world of female warriors and leaders feels natural, and while there is a “chosen one” aspect to the tale, it’s far from the main point. Shannon’s depth of imagination and worldbuilding are impressive, as this 800-pager is filled not only with legend, but also with satisfying twists that turn legend on its head. Shannon isn’t new to this game of complex storytelling. Her Bone Season novels (The Song Rising, 2017, etc.) navigate a multilayered society of clairvoyants. Here, Shannon chooses a more traditional view of magic, where light fights against dark, earth against sky, and fire against water. Through these classic pairings, an entirely fresh and addicting tale is born. Shannon may favor detailed explication over keeping a steady pace, but the epic converging of plotlines at the end is enough to forgive.

A celebration of fantasy that melds modern ideology with classic tropes. More of these dragons, please.

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63557-029-8

Page Count: 848

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

more