by Ryan Van Loan ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 21, 2020
This fast-paced high-seas adventure will satisfy genre fans looking for swashbuckling fun.
The fate of an empire hangs on the abilities of one girl.
Buc and Eld have made names for themselves as investigators who solve uncrackable cases. But now they’ve gotten themselves into a bit of trouble. Found-surrounded-by-dead-bodies-and-still-holding-a-smoking-gun kind of trouble. And their only way out of that trouble is to help the powerful Kanados Trading Company figure out why so many of their ships carrying precious sugar are disappearing...before shortages bring down the entire empire. Fail, and they’ll be executed. Succeed, and Buc wins a seat on the company’s powerful board—which means she has a chance to ensure that no other child has to live through the horrors she saw growing up on the streets. The moment Buc and Eld are launched on their seafaring adventure, they’re plunged into a world of intrigue and violence, chock-full of pirates; the mysterious Sin Eaters, who draw on the power of their Goddess to communicate mind to mind; and the Sin Eaters’ enemies, the priests loyal to the Dead Gods. To succeed and win the power she craves, Buc will have to not only navigate all these uncharted waters, but tame her racing mind, which always sees six steps ahead. Buc’s story starts with a bang and never slows down, rollicking through naval battles, sudden betrayals, and plenty of dark magic. Van Loan packs in almost too many twists, turns, and reversals, and the book at times feels overstuffed with supernatural mysteries, but Buc makes for a prickly, interesting heroine, and her relationship with Eld grounds an otherwise highflying story in emotional truth.This fast-paced high-seas adventure will satisfy genre fans looking for swashbuckling fun.
Pub Date: July 21, 2020
Page Count: 432
Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020
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by Kristin Hannah ‧ RELEASE DATE: Feb. 6, 2024
A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.
When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.
Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024
Page Count: 480
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023
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by Rebecca Yarros ‧ RELEASE DATE: May 2, 2023
Read this for the action-packed plot, not character development or worldbuilding.
On the orders of her mother, a woman goes to dragon-riding school.
Even though her mother is a general in Navarre’s army, 20-year-old Violet Sorrengail was raised by her father to follow his path as a scribe. After his death, though, Violet's mother shocks her by forcing her to enter the elite and deadly dragon rider academy at Basgiath War College. Most students die at the War College: during training sessions, at the hands of their classmates, or by the very dragons they hope to one day be paired with. From Day One, Violet is targeted by her classmates, some because they hate her mother, others because they think she’s too physically frail to succeed. She must survive a daily gauntlet of physical challenges and the deadly attacks of classmates, which she does with the help of secret knowledge handed down by her two older siblings, who'd been students there before her. Violet is at the mercy of the plot rather than being in charge of it, hurtling through one obstacle after another. As a result, the story is action-packed and fast-paced, but Violet is a strange mix of pure competence and total passivity, always managing to come out on the winning side. The book is categorized as romantasy, with Violet pulled between the comforting love she feels from her childhood best friend, Dain Aetos, and the incendiary attraction she feels for family enemy Xaden Riorson. However, the way Dain constantly undermines Violet's abilities and his lack of character development make this an unconvincing storyline. The plots and subplots aren’t well-integrated, with the first half purely focused on Violet’s training, followed by a brief detour for romance, and then a final focus on outside threats.Read this for the action-packed plot, not character development or worldbuilding.
Pub Date: May 2, 2023
Page Count: 528
Publisher: Red Tower
Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2024
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