A subtle dramatization of the conflict between white settlers and Native Americans in the 19th century.

BLOOD MOON

A CAPTIVE'S TALE

In this work of historical fiction set in the Midwest during the Civil War, Sioux warriors seize a woman and her children. 

Sarah Wakefield lives in southern Minnesota in Sioux territory—her husband, John, is a government-appointed doctor assigned to the reservation. The regular annuity paid to the Sioux is yet again delayed, and already strained relations between them and their often cruel white counterparts become even more acrimonious. Finally, when it becomes clear an outburst of violence is imminent, John sends Sarah and her two young children away, but her escort is murdered and she is captured by two Sioux fighters. One of them, Hapa, is eager to kill her, but his brother-in-law, Chaska, protects Sarah from harm and vows to remain her faithful guardian. While in captivity, Sarah is in constant danger, but Chaska and his mother, Ina, vigilantly watch over her, help her blend in, and hide her when necessary. She even flirts with the possibility of becoming one of them: “If I knew I would never be rescued, I think I could be content among the Sioux. Ina has become like a mother to me—certainly, a better mother than the one I left in Rhode Island. And Chaska is one of the most honorable men I have ever known.” When finally rescued, she has to save Chaska’s life by testifying to his admirable behavior and repair her own tattered reputation as a sympathizer and traitor. Chatlien (The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte, 2013) writes with nuanced sensitivity, nimbly cataloging the horrors each side visits upon the other. Even Sarah’s marriage is depicted without yielding to facile simplicity—her husband can be sweet and chivalrous but also petty and cold. In a few spots, the author seems tempted by the desire to impart a didactic lesson—there is good and bad among all kinds—but resists even these minor concessions to moralistic judgment. In addition, Chatlien’s mastery of the historical period—especially the life and culture of the Sioux—is notable and creates a fictional atmosphere of authenticity. 

A subtle dramatization of the conflict between white settlers and Native Americans in the 19th century. 

Pub Date: June 14, 2017

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 423

Publisher: Amika Press

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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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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