A sturdy entry in a fantasy series about unbreakable bonds.

READ REVIEW

THE TEARS IN MIDNIGHT

From the Calata series , Vol. 4

The fourth book in Wilder’s (The Danger in Justice, 2018, etc.) paranormal romance series featuring immortal warriors and reincarnation.

Katerina not only dreams about her past lives but remembers them when she’s awake—or, at least, many of them. In her first life, many years ago, her name was Kepa, and she was the sole witness to a murder of Four, one of the most powerful so-called immortals, who can live for thousands of years. Another immortal, Two, gave Kepa the ability to recall her past lives in the hope that her memories would reveal the  murderer, but it took centuries before she even got close to remembering the event. Each time she was reincarnated, she would eventually find Arsen, the immortal warrior who’s bound to her, but lately they’ve been unable to stay together. Now, she’s been called back into service, and she decides that if she’s going to be forced to spend her time translating old documents, she’s going to do it somewhere scenic—a beautiful Greek island. Within days of arriving there, however, Katerina begins to recall a past life that she’d forgotten, as well as parts of her own relationship with Arsen that had created their bond. Now that Katerina is in the house that Arsen had built for her, there may be a chance for them yet. Readers will find that there’s a lot to unpack over the course of this novella, and the author helps new readers catch up by offering a fair amount of backstory. Despite this, there will likely be parts of the tale that will be confusing to those who lack familiarity with the previous books. That said, readers who focus only on Katerina and Arsen’s relationship will have little problem following their story, which is a solid romance. Indeed, the second-chance-at-love plotline alone makes the book worth a read, mainly for the author’s clear, emotional prose (“Arsen was tangling his fingers in her hair and she was breathing in, holding the warmth close, locking the scent of his skin deep in her lungs”).

A sturdy entry in a fantasy series about unbreakable bonds.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2019

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 385

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: July 11, 2019

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

DEVOLUTION

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. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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THE VANISHING HALF

Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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