Love letter to Blood Curse fans, but new readers are invited, too.

BLOOD FATHER

A BLOOD CURSE NOVEL

In the sixth volume of Dawn’s Blood Curse series, the Silivasi brothers learn the whereabouts of their father.

The Silivasi brothers—Kagen, Nathaniel, Marquis, and Nachari—are vampires from the house of Jadon. Their lineage is the result of a curse struck against the Romanian Prince Jadon (and his more evil brother, Prince Jaegar) in 800 B.C.E. Today, the Silivasis live in Dark Moon Vale with the women who are their “destinies” (human mates chosen by the gods) while they battle lycans and members of the rival house of Jaegar. When Saber Alexiares—“no longer a Dark One, at least, not technically. In truth, he never really had been”—visits Nathaniel’s brownstone with claims that the Silivasis’ father, Keitaro, is alive and enslaved in Mhier, the home dimension of the werewolves, the brothers are hard-pressed to believe him. But what choice do the Silivasis have? Meanwhile, in Mhier, the tragedy-hardened Arielle Nightsong has been secretly aiding Keitaro, mending the physical and mental anguish inflicted by King Tyrus Thane and his lycan minions. But now, to punish his top general, Cain, for sleeping with Queen Cassandra, Thane will stage an arena battle between Cain and the legendarily brutal Keitaro. Even if Keitaro survives, however, Thane’s sadism is limitless. Will the Silivasis breach this parallel world in time to save the father who’s been presumed dead for centuries? Fans of Dawn’s steamy paranormal series will feel like she’s delivered the main course in this latest installment. Nimble prose and pacing also help new readers learn her detailed world. Once inside, they can enjoy the focus placed on Kagen, the only brother not yet paired with his “destiny”; there’s an irresistible erotic pulse in his scenes with Arielle: “He ran his hand upward along the small of her back...and buried his fingers in her silky, wild hair.” Thane’s monstrous desire for Arielle is a satisfying wrinkle in a plot that sometimes doesn’t challenge the protagonists enough (for instance, they learn how to travel across dimensions too easily). Tantalizing mentions of prior events deepen the series’ narrative and show that Dawn intends for her cast to continuously evolve.

Love letter to Blood Curse fans, but new readers are invited, too.

Pub Date: June 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1937223120

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Ghost Pines Publishing, LLC

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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Certainly not for all readers, but anyone interested in seeing William Peter Blatty’s infamous The Exorcist (1971) by way of...

MY BEST FRIEND'S EXORCISM

The wonder of friendship proves to be stronger than the power of Christ when an ancient demon possesses a teenage girl.

Hendrix was outrageously inventive with his debut novel (Horrorstör, 2014) and continues his winning streak with a nostalgic (if blood-soaked) horror story to warm the hearts of Gen Xers. “The exorcist is dead,” Hendrix writes in the very first line of the novel, as a middle-aged divorcée named Abby Rivers reflects back on the friendship that defined her life. In flashbacks, Abby meets her best friend, Gretchen Lang, at her 10th birthday party in 1982, forever cementing their comradeship. The bulk of the novel is set in 1988, and it’s an unabashed love letter to big hair, heavy metal, and all the pop-culture trappings of the era, complete with chapter titles ripped from songs all the way from “Don’t You Forget About Me” to “And She Was.” Things go sideways when Abby, Gretchen, and two friends venture off to a cabin in the woods (as happens) to experiment with LSD. After Gretchen disappears for a night, she returns a changed girl. Hendrix walks a precipitously fine line in his portrayal, leaving the story open to doubt whether Gretchen is really possessed or has simply fallen prey to the vanities and duplicities that high school sometimes inspires. He also ferociously captures the frustrations of adolescence as Abby seeks adult help in her plight and is relentlessly dismissed by her elders. She finally finds a hero in Brother Lemon, a member of a Christian boy band, the Lemon Brothers Faith and Fitness Show, who agrees to help her. When Abby’s demon finally shows its true colors in the book’s denouement, it’s not only a spectacularly grotesque and profane depiction of exorcism, but counterintuitively a truly inspiring portrayal of the resilience of friendship.

Certainly not for all readers, but anyone interested in seeing William Peter Blatty’s infamous The Exorcist (1971) by way of Heathers shouldn’t miss it.

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-59474-862-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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A charming and persuasive entry that will leave readers impatiently awaiting the concluding volume.

A BLIGHT OF BLACKWINGS

Book 2 of Hearne's latest fantasy trilogy, The Seven Kennings (A Plague of Giants, 2017), set in a multiracial world thrust into turmoil by an invasion of peculiar giants.

In this world, most races have their own particular magical endowment, or “kenning,” though there are downsides to trying to gain the magic (an excellent chance of being killed instead) and using it (rapid aging and death). Most recently discovered is the sixth kenning, whose beneficiaries can talk to and command animals. The story canters along, although with multiple first-person narrators, it's confusing at times. Some characters are familiar, others are new, most of them with their own problems to solve, all somehow caught up in the grand design. To escape her overbearing father and the unreasoning violence his kind represents, fire-giant Olet Kanek leads her followers into the far north, hoping to found a new city where the races and kennings can peacefully coexist. Joining Olet are young Abhinava Khose, discoverer of the sixth kenning, and, later, Koesha Gansu (kenning: air), captain of an all-female crew shipwrecked by deep-sea monsters. Elsewhere, Hanima, who commands hive insects, struggles to free her city from the iron grip of wealthy, callous merchant monarchists. Other threads focus on the Bone Giants, relentless invaders seeking the still-unknown seventh kenning, whose confidence that this can defeat the other six is deeply disturbing. Under Hearne's light touch, these elements mesh perfectly, presenting an inventive, eye-filling panorama; satisfying (and, where appropriate, well-resolved) plotlines; and tensions between the races and their kennings to supply much of the drama.

A charming and persuasive entry that will leave readers impatiently awaiting the concluding volume.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-345-54857-3

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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