Lyrical, evocative, part poem, part prose—not to be missed by anyone, especially fans of historical fantasy and folktale.

THE SPEAR CUTS THROUGH WATER

The dying Moon goddess enlists two young warriors to kill her tyrannical sons and return her bones to the sea.

“This is a love story to its blade-dented bone.” In the Old Country, when a warrior frees the Moon from the sky, she falls to Earth and grants him a wish—sons. Each son is imbued with god gifts and the title of emperor, but the people are left without a moon to light their way. The tyrannical royals eventually imprison the Moon, angering her lover, the Water, who curses the land with drought. But the dying Moon has a plan: She gives the last emperor triplets—the Three Terrors—and spreads the god gifts among them, weakening them. Eventually she convinces Jun, the First Terror’s favorite son and most ruthless killer, to free her and right both their wrongs. Upon escape, they meet one-armed Keema, a young warrior “of poor fortune” working at Tiger Gate. The people are rebelling against the royals, and Keema has pledged to deliver a sacred spear to Cmdr. Araya’s kin. The Moon also enlists Keema’s help despite Jun’s protests. Between battling the Terrors, avenging gods and goddesses, fighting for the people, and fighting one another, Keema and Jun fall in love. If they can survive long enough to return the Moon to the Water’s embrace, they’ll end the Terrors’ reign and defeat both drought and darkness. Jimenez deftly weaves past, present, and future into one seamless narrative. Writing in first, second, and third person, Jimenez makes sure “you” are part of this story, too, casting you as Araya’s descendent and current keeper of the spear. You’ve been called to the Inverted Theater—built by the Moon and Water for liaisons long before the Terrors were born. Now the theater calls dreamers together to experience their shared history. You’re both Jimenez’s reader and “you,” who’s listening to and remembering your lola (grandmother in Tagalog) tell tales of the Old Country when you are/were a child. In your lonely, adult present, your dreaming spirit watches those tales reenacted by dancers in the Inverted Theater. Yet you’re also living the stories as each character—from bit-player peasant to powerful goddess. You experience Jun’s PTSD, Keema’s disability—never explained, simply a part of him—and all the guilt, anger, pain, fear, joy, desire, and love that make Jimenez’s tapestry so beautiful. It’s both like nothing and everything you’ve ever read: a tale made from the threads that weave the world, and all of us, together.

Lyrical, evocative, part poem, part prose—not to be missed by anyone, especially fans of historical fantasy and folktale.

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-15659-9

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Del Rey

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

FAIRY TALE

Narnia on the Penobscot: a grand, and naturally strange, entertainment from the ever prolific King.

What’s a person to do when sheltering from Covid? In King’s case, write something to entertain himself while reflecting on what was going on in the world outside—ravaged cities, contentious politics, uncertainty. King’s yarn begins in a world that’s recognizably ours, and with a familiar trope: A young woman, out to buy fried chicken, is mashed by a runaway plumber’s van, sending her husband into an alcoholic tailspin and her son into a preadolescent funk, driven “bugfuck” by a father who “was always trying to apologize.” The son makes good by rescuing an elderly neighbor who’s fallen off a ladder, though he protests that the man’s equally elderly German shepherd, Radar, was the true hero. Whatever the case, Mr. Bowditch has an improbable trove of gold in his Bates Motel of a home, and its origin seems to lie in a shed behind the house, one that Mr. Bowditch warns the boy away from: “ ‘Don’t go in there,’ he said. ‘You may in time, but for now don’t even think of it.’ ” It’s not Pennywise who awaits in the underworld behind the shed door, but there’s plenty that’s weird and unexpected, including a woman, Dora, whose “skin was slate gray and her face was cruelly deformed,” and a whole bunch of people—well, sort of people, anyway—who’d like nothing better than to bring their special brand of evil up to our world’s surface. King’s young protagonist, Charlie Reade, is resourceful beyond his years, but it helps that the old dog gains some of its youthful vigor in the depths below. King delivers a more or less traditional fable that includes a knowing nod: “I think I know what you want,” Charlie tells the reader, "and now you have it”—namely, a happy ending but with a suitably sardonic wink.

A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66800-217-9

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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A smutfest of epic proportions.

COURT OF THE VAMPIRE QUEEN

A woman who's half human and half vampire is offered as a sacrifice to a trio of powerful vampires in this dark, erotic paranormal romance.

Mina's father, Cornelius, is the head of one of seven powerful vampire bloodlines. His goal is to restore the vampires to their rightful place at the top of the food chain, and he needs more progeny and bloodlines under his control to enact his plans. He has no fond feelings for his dhampir daughter, as half-vampire, half-humans are known. She possesses neither the godly strength of his kind nor the magical affinity that humans have, so he sends her off to be a sacrifice to Malachi, a vampire of another bloodline. Confined to a Gothic mansion, Malachi knows why Mina was sent to him. Her father hopes he’ll either kill her or impregnate her, adding the heir of Malachi's bloodline to his own. Malachi's home quickly becomes more crowded as Wolf and Rylan, two other vampires from his past, arrive. All three take an interest in Mina, whose blood tastes different than other dhampirs’, and they begin to unravel Mina's mysterious heritage and the deadly power play in which her father has involved them. Readers unaccustomed to dark romances may want to steer clear of this one, as there is dubious consent and graphically described violence. The sex is steamy, a nonstop carousel that sometime buries the plot. For a mindless sexual romp with seductive vampires and a woman who begins to recognize her own worth, it can be a fun read, though seeing women used as political pawns and broodmares can be distasteful, especially now.

A smutfest of epic proportions.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72826-469-1

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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