A complex, satisfying fantasy novel from an author who may command a large genre following very soon.

The Heresy Within

BOOK 1 OF THE TIES THAT BIND

In the first installment of Hayes’ trilogy, Renaissance-style sovereign city-states vie for power and supremacy.

God-Emperor of Sarth orders Thanquil Darkheart, an Arbiter of the Inquisition (who hunts down heretics and renegade sorcerers), to track a traitor. The journey takes him to the city of Chade. The brutal thief Black Thorn, who’s killed many Arbiters in his day, leads a crew of equally disreputable outlaws into Chade on the most dangerous job of their careers. Master swordswoman Jezzet Vel’um flees from a powerful enemy across the lawless wastelands of the Wild, intent on reaching Chade. Tangled and intertwined, with a large roster of colorful secondary characters, the stories of the three main characters—Thanquil, Jezzet and Black Thorn—converge in a well-orchestrated plot driven by colorful character interaction and set against a somewhat derivative fantasy backdrop. By focusing the first volume of his trilogy on three deeply flawed individuals (Black Thorn especially, so scarred and jaded that his odd nobility is almost impossible to spot, rivets the attention whenever he’s on the page), Hayes is able to give readers a gutter-angle view of his world and so ease them into the larger narrative concerns. And the author has a flair for eliciting the full squalor, speed and violence of these characters’ lives. There are plots within plots (longtime readers of fantasy novels, for instance, will know exactly how much they can trust God-Emperors of any stripe), and although the prose is often overdone, Hayes has a very sure hand both for dramatic pacing and action sequences. Readers will care about the main characters without much liking or trusting them, and few who finish this first volume will hesitate about going on to the next.

A complex, satisfying fantasy novel from an author who may command a large genre following very soon.

Pub Date: April 15, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 314

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2013

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

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  • 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

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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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