The author pushes her cast of Herans and earthlings—along with readers—through an unforgettable emotional crucible.

Return to Hera

2

From the Noku's Invaders series

Earth descendants struggle to survive on an inhospitable planet in Maxwell’s sci-fi sequel to The Rasken (2011).

On the sparsely settled planet Hera, 16-year-old Margole once possessed the technology to teleport from place to place. Using a palm-embedded wonder called the rasken, she wielded power reserved for leaders of the various matriarchal tribes living along the Noku River. The technology is now broken, yet Margole still yearns to hunt and travel the river like the nomadic men who periodically visit the women’s villages. Meanwhile, on 54th-century Earth, marine researchers Karl Trax and Terra Woods discover an ancient spaceship at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Study of the vessel reveals that it once traveled to Hera to start a colony. This prompts a scientific voyage back to learn more about a divergent line of humanity. Karl and Terra are joined by Lt. Seran Talbur and sociologist T. E. Drummers. While first contact between the two groups goes smoothly, the scientists soon discover that the Noku River harbors an invasive population of insect larvae. Large moths hatch and start spreading a deadly parasite among both peoples, precipitating a struggle for survival not seen by the Herans for a thousand years, when Noku’s invaders last appeared. Maxwell (Butterfly Storm, 2011) continues the heroic arc of Margole in this second novel in the series, as she navigates her first disastrous Eros Ceremony (the mating ritual between stationary and nomadic tribes), and then throws in with the off-world scientists. Her reaction to their technology is grounded and endearing; in one tent she finds “smooth, shiny objects, some that spewed light, completely unlike that of the lanterns back home.” As the biological terror of the moths (among other creatures) amplifies and the tragedies pile up, Margole’s instincts to go against the grain prove invaluable to her tribe. Maxwell also broadens the scope of her series with a framing sequence involving manipulative aliens called the Avonades. YA and sci-fi audiences should love this ferociously smart sequel.

The author pushes her cast of Herans and earthlings—along with readers—through an unforgettable emotional crucible.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Alaskan Bookshelf

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

Despite some distractions, there’s an irresistible charm to Owens’ first foray into nature-infused romantic fiction.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING

A wild child’s isolated, dirt-poor upbringing in a Southern coastal wilderness fails to shield her from heartbreak or an accusation of murder.

“The Marsh Girl,” “swamp trash”—Catherine “Kya” Clark is a figure of mystery and prejudice in the remote North Carolina coastal community of Barkley Cove in the 1950s and '60s. Abandoned by a mother no longer able to endure her drunken husband’s beatings and then by her four siblings, Kya grows up in the careless, sometimes-savage company of her father, who eventually disappears, too. Alone, virtually or actually, from age 6, Kya learns both to be self-sufficient and to find solace and company in her fertile natural surroundings. Owens (Secrets of the Savanna, 2006, etc.), the accomplished co-author of several nonfiction books on wildlife, is at her best reflecting Kya’s fascination with the birds, insects, dappled light, and shifting tides of the marshes. The girl’s collections of shells and feathers, her communion with the gulls, her exploration of the wetlands are evoked in lyrical phrasing which only occasionally tips into excess. But as the child turns teenager and is befriended by local boy Tate Walker, who teaches her to read, the novel settles into a less magical, more predictable pattern. Interspersed with Kya’s coming-of-age is the 1969 murder investigation arising from the discovery of a man’s body in the marsh. The victim is Chase Andrews, “star quarterback and town hot shot,” who was once Kya’s lover. In the eyes of a pair of semicomic local police officers, Kya will eventually become the chief suspect and must stand trial. By now the novel’s weaknesses have become apparent: the monochromatic characterization (good boy Tate, bad boy Chase) and implausibilities (Kya evolves into a polymath—a published writer, artist, and poet), yet the closing twist is perhaps its most memorable oddity.

Despite some distractions, there’s an irresistible charm to Owens’ first foray into nature-infused romantic fiction.

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-1909-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

more