A worthy adventure chock-full of menacing aliens and surprising insights for old fans and new.
Ace reunites with the Doctor to face her past and save the future.
As a teenager, Dorothy “Ace” McShane traveled through time and space, fighting alongside the Professor against evil and oppression. Now middle-aged, she runs A Charitable Earth, which assists communities left reeling after war. After a mysterious alien vessel appears, orbiting the moon, Dorothy returns to space and is reunited with the Professor’s newest incarnation—the exuberant (and female) Thirteenth Doctor—and meets her fam, Ryan, Yaz, and Graham. Uncovering a series of alien abductions, Dorothy faces her past and reclaims her risk-taking, adventure-seeking Ace persona. Unlike the TV series, the trust between Doctors and their companions is heavily discussed. What happens to those who are not valued by society, the impact of cycles of war and revenge, and the violence the Doctors’ companions inflict in his or her name are ongoing themes. The third-person narration offers insights into Ace’s adjustment to the new Doctor; likewise, it supports character development through the exploration of Yaz’s suspicion of and similarity to the tech-savvy Ace. The cast zips across the galaxy, fleeing threats from Ace’s past and a new, mysterious group whose disturbing technology threatens the future. While the finale is rather rushed, it’s worth a trip in the TARDIS to experience this nuanced view of the galaxy. With few physical descriptions, characters’ ethnicity is difficult to determine.A worthy adventure chock-full of menacing aliens and surprising insights for old fans and new. (Science fiction. 13-adult)
Pub Date: March 17, 2020
Page Count: 352
Publisher: Penguin UK/Trafalgar
Review Posted Online: April 4, 2020
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by Max Brooks ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 16, 2020
A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
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
Page Count: 304
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine
Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020
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BOOK TO SCREEN
by Brandon Sanderson ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 21, 2023
A grand finale, presented with a touch light enough to buoy all the self-actualization. Also: giant space worms!
Hotshot pilot Spensa Nightshade completes her apotheosis in this series closer, as human rebels and their alien allies mount a climactic assault on the galactic empire.
Having progressed from eating rats to being a cytonic superwarrior, Spensa is bonded by ties of loyalty and lust to former Skyward Flight leader, now Defiant Defense Force admiral, Jorgen—and also to a traumatized, planet-killing, interdimensional delver named Chet. Spensa would be well on her way to full-blown pacifism if the Superiority’s war of extermination against humans were not ramping up to a newly active phase. Nothing for it but a massive space battle, complete with dogfights, huge explosions, feints, betrayals, and tragic sacrifices…not to mention a swarm of ravenous, vacuum-dwelling vastworms eager to chow down on both sides. Though slowed by Spensa’s and others’ wrestling with conflicting impulses and weighing moral imperatives, the plot features more than enough large- and small-scale action set pieces to please space-opera fans. Better yet, the deliciously expansive cast includes not only humans and AIs but a broad array of aliens and semi-aliens from blue-skinned humanoids and a furry, haiku-reciting, fox-gerbil samurai with a (wait for it) laser sword to sentient crystals and empathic slugs. “The more different types of people we got into the flight, the stronger it would be,” Spensa reflects, and indeed, it’s collective action that proves decisive in the end.A grand finale, presented with a touch light enough to buoy all the self-actualization. Also: giant space worms! (Science fiction. 12-15)
Pub Date: Nov. 21, 2023
Page Count: 432
Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023
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