A dark fantasy gem with an often sparkling delivery.

HALF-SHELL PROPHECIES

From the Among the Mythos series , Vol. 3

From Reid (Strings, 2014, etc.), an urban fantasy in which a young woman is drawn by prophecy through hidden worlds of magic.

Twenty-three-year-old Katie Lin is part of the Kin, a group of men and women with magical powers. Other groups include the Ever-Dying (humans who don’t have powers) and five other magic-using Peoples of the Earth, some of whom live on different, parallel Earths, collectively called the Mythos. Katie wanted nothing to do with magic, so she ran away from her family to live in New Hampshire, and her life is now settled. But then Bran—the Crow King, grandson of the Raven King, and heir to the throne of Darkness—shows up, expecting her help. According to the prophetess Cassandra, whose soul Bran keeps in a clamshell in his pocket, Katie can guide him to Notte, father of all vampires, who, in turn, can save Bran from being killed by his own grandfather. Very much against her will, and sinking further out of her depth with each faltering step, Katie is dragged into Bran’s unfathomable quest. The Mythos is a complicated place and quite enough to discombobulate the unwary reader. Moreover, Katie’s involvement does seem a bit random at first. But while many fantasy novels are content merely to rehash other works, Reid’s work is singularly original, deeply evocative, and at times quite poignant, as when Katie has an encounter with an old Fey, who, at the end of his life, is turning to stone. And although the plot may seem at first to extemporize, the journey is really the point of the story, which gains pace and focus as it moves toward its destination. The Mythos alone would be enough cause to recommend this book, but, for new-adult readers in particular, Katie’s first-person narration will make it even more appealing. Reid has a distinct, irreverent, and frothy style and imbues Katie with mordant wit and a gutful of millennial girl-power. Together, they bring quest-fantasy insouciantly into a modern era.

A dark fantasy gem with an often sparkling delivery.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9852600-9-5

Page Count: 246

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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