BLOOD FATHER

A BLOOD CURSE NOVEL

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

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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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A BLIGHT OF BLACKWINGS

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

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. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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  • New York Times Bestseller

NINTH HOUSE

With an aura of both enchantment and authenticity, Bardugo’s compulsively readable novel leaves a portal ajar for equally...

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Yale’s secret societies hide a supernatural secret in this fantasy/murder mystery/school story.

Most Yale students get admitted through some combination of impressive academics, athletics, extracurriculars, family connections, and donations, or perhaps bribing the right coach. Not Galaxy “Alex” Stern. The protagonist of Bardugo’s (King of Scars, 2019, etc.) first novel for adults, a high school dropout and low-level drug dealer, Alex got in because she can see dead people. A Yale dean who's a member of Lethe, one of the college’s famously mysterious secret societies, offers Alex a free ride if she will use her spook-spotting abilities to help Lethe with its mission: overseeing the other secret societies’ occult rituals. In Bardugo’s universe, the “Ancient Eight” secret societies (Lethe is the eponymous Ninth House) are not just old boys’ breeding grounds for the CIA, CEOs, Supreme Court justices, and so on, as they are in ours; they’re wielders of actual magic. Skull and Bones performs prognostications by borrowing patients from the local hospital, cutting them open, and examining their entrails. St. Elmo’s specializes in weather magic, useful for commodities traders; Aurelian, in unbreakable contracts; Manuscript goes in for glamours, or “illusions and lies,” helpful to politicians and movie stars alike. And all these rituals attract ghosts. It’s Alex’s job to keep the supernatural forces from embarrassing the magical elite by releasing chaos into the community (all while trying desperately to keep her grades up). “Dealing with ghosts was like riding the subway: Do not make eye contact. Do not smile. Do not engage. Otherwise, you never know what might follow you home.” A townie’s murder sets in motion a taut plot full of drug deals, drunken assaults, corruption, and cover-ups. Loyalties stretch and snap. Under it all runs the deep, dark river of ambition and anxiety that at once powers and undermines the Yale experience. Alex may have more reason than most to feel like an imposter, but anyone who’s spent time around the golden children of the Ivy League will likely recognize her self-doubt.

With an aura of both enchantment and authenticity, Bardugo’s compulsively readable novel leaves a portal ajar for equally dazzling sequels.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-31307-2

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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