FADE

Young Paul Moreaux discovers that he's inherited the ability to disappear at will, and what might have been at least partly a blessing in the hands of another author is in Cormier's hands an unalloyed curse. Paul's French-Canadian family has a secret known to very few: once each generation a "Fader" is born, though the trait doesn't manifest itself until adolescence. Paul lives through 13 peaceful, unmemorable summers before he begins to notice that people can't always see him. His wayward uncle Adelard, the previous generation's Fader, steps in to teach him partial control over the Fade, to caution him against misusing his ability, and to tell him that when the next Fader begins to mature it will be his responsibility to pass on the teaching. Since Paul is an introspective, commonsensical sort, he doesn't try to hurt anyone with his talent, but he does succumb to the temptation to be a voyeur: in quick succession, he catches an ultrarespectable local shopkeeper engaging in oral sex with a teen-age girl, and watches in horror as his elegant, new-found friend Emerson makes love to his own twin sister. Shortly thereafter, Paul kills a man in a fit of anger. These experiences sour him on the whole idea of Fading, and he remorsefully vows never to Fade again. The next generation's Fader is Ozzie Slater, illegitimate, abused so much that his nose is permanently mutilated, with a bone-deep grudge against the entire world. Once he discovers his ability, he immediately kills his adoptive father and goes on a rampage. An older Paul appears on the scene, but by now Ozzie is too far over the edge; after a violent scuffle, Paul finds himself a killer once again. Setting, structure, and characters are woven together in shifting, complex patterns as Paul finds out that the Fade is a terrible burden, capable of doing more harm than good: Cormier has once again produced a profoundly disturbing, finely crafted gem that's hard, cold, and brilliant.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0385731345

Page Count: 318

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced...

MACBETH

From the Wordplay Shakespeare series

A pairing of the text of the Scottish Play with a filmed performance, designed with the Shakespeare novice in mind.

The left side of the screen of this enhanced e-book contains a full version of Macbeth, while the right side includes a performance of the dialogue shown (approximately 20 lines’ worth per page). This granular focus allows newcomers to experience the nuances of the play, which is rich in irony, hidden intentions and sudden shifts in emotional temperature. The set and costuming are deliberately simple: The background is white, and Macbeth’s “armor” is a leather jacket. But nobody’s dumbing down their performances. Francesca Faridany is particularly good as a tightly coiled Lady Macbeth; Raphael Nash-Thompson gives his roles as the drunken porter and a witch a garrulousness that carries an entertainingly sinister edge. The presentation is not without its hiccups. Matching the video on the right with the text on the left means routinely cutting off dramatic moments; at one point, users have to swipe to see and read the second half of a scene’s closing couplet—presumably an easy fix. A “tap to translate” button on each page puts the text into plain English, but the pop-up text covers up Shakespeare’s original, denying any attempts at comparison; moreover, the translation mainly redefines more obscure words, suggesting that smaller pop-ups for individual terms might be more meaningful.

Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced e-book makes the play appealing and graspable to students . (Enhanced e-book. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: The New Book Press LLC

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning.

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SCYTHE

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 1

Two teens train to be society-sanctioned killers in an otherwise immortal world.

On post-mortal Earth, humans live long (if not particularly passionate) lives without fear of disease, aging, or accidents. Operating independently of the governing AI (called the Thunderhead since it evolved from the cloud), scythes rely on 10 commandments, quotas, and their own moral codes to glean the population. After challenging Hon. Scythe Faraday, 16-year-olds Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova reluctantly become his apprentices. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty. The vivid and often violent action unfolds slowly, anchored in complex worldbuilding and propelled by political machinations and existential musings. Scythes’ journal entries accompany Rowan’s and Citra’s dual and dueling narratives, revealing both personal struggles and societal problems. The futuristic post–2042 MidMerican world is both dystopia and utopia, free of fear, unexpected death, and blatant racism—multiracial main characters discuss their diverse ethnic percentages rather than purity—but also lacking creativity, emotion, and purpose. Elegant and elegiac, brooding but imbued with gallows humor, Shusterman’s dark tale thrusts realistic, likable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions.

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7242-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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