Next book

THE ALEHOUSE AT THE END OF THE WORLD

Richly conceived, enjoyable, and a treat for readers of myths and legends.

An imaginative journey into a spirit world, evoking ancient myths about death and the afterlife.

A fisherman travels from the material world to the Isle of the Dead to find his beloved. The island is populated with shape-shifting characters, many of them gods or goddesses. Countless clams hold the souls of the dead, which are “tasty little morsels” for the crow who is the undisputed King of the Dead. The fisherman strikes a deal with the crow to find the clam containing his beloved and not eat it, but the crow thinks of him as that “flaming dingleberry,” and the fisherman soon wants to kill the “foul tyrant” crow. The characters are marvelously entertaining—a frigatebird, a pelican, and a cormorant are low-level gods with distinct personalities. They befriend the fisherman and fear the crow, who refers to himself with the royal “We.” (He can take the form of a man, a mole, a dragonfly, or any other shape he wants.) And there is Dewi Sri, the goddess of rice and fertility, who cannot do harm and finds the crow pretty sexy in his human form. For the crow’s part, she makes his “zibik” hard enough to carve an “entire forest into toothpicks.” A couple of sex scenes are explicit despite metaphors of arrows and quivers and touching that brings “earth and heaven together.” But both know that lust doesn’t equate with love, and soon he wants her dead. Incidentally, the entire spirit world lies inside the belly of the giant beast Kiamah, “the devourer of all things.” Yet island residents still enjoy their ale, and at one point the fisherman declares “It’s good to be alive!” This island of the dead is more active than a lot of retirement communities.

Richly conceived, enjoyable, and a treat for readers of myths and legends.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-942436-37-9

Page Count: 334

Publisher: Forest Avenue

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 190


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

DEVOLUTION

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 190


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • 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

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Next book

THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA

A breezy and fun contemporary fantasy.

A tightly wound caseworker is pushed out of his comfort zone when he’s sent to observe a remote orphanage for magical children.

Linus Baker loves rules, which makes him perfectly suited for his job as a midlevel bureaucrat working for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, where he investigates orphanages for children who can do things like make objects float, who have tails or feathers, and even those who are young witches. Linus clings to the notion that his job is about saving children from cruel or dangerous homes, but really he’s a cog in a government machine that treats magical children as second-class citizens. When Extremely Upper Management sends for Linus, he learns that his next assignment is a mission to an island orphanage for especially dangerous kids. He is to stay on the island for a month and write reports for Extremely Upper Management, which warns him to be especially meticulous in his observations. When he reaches the island, he meets extraordinary kids like Talia the gnome, Theodore the wyvern, and Chauncey, an amorphous blob whose parentage is unknown. The proprietor of the orphanage is a strange but charming man named Arthur, who makes it clear to Linus that he will do anything in his power to give his charges a loving home on the island. As Linus spends more time with Arthur and the kids, he starts to question a world that would shun them for being different, and he even develops romantic feelings for Arthur. Lambda Literary Award–winning author Klune (The Art of Breathing, 2019, etc.) has a knack for creating endearing characters, and readers will grow to love Arthur and the orphans alongside Linus. Linus himself is a lovable protagonist despite his prickliness, and Klune aptly handles his evolving feelings and morals. The prose is a touch wooden in places, but fans of quirky fantasy will eat it up.

A breezy and fun contemporary fantasy.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21728-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

Close Quickview