This engaging and complex series installment offers fans more supernatural maneuvering.

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LUCKY CAT AND THE GODS OF WAR

From the Lucky Cat series , Vol. 3

This third volume of an SF series about magical figurines explores a dangerous political faction and a gritty resistance group.

In Chicago in 2075, Shiren Tsai helps his father, Zhengyan, run the Mandarin Duck Lounge. Zhengyan is dismayed by the rise of the Futurists’ Task Force in Britain, but his son is skeptical of any danger. Though this new political faction claims to represent “prosperity, unity, and peace,” it apparently makes strides via drone strikes and AI soldiers that kill civilians. The True Bystander, an underground newspaper, reports the murder of Giséle Guerin, a seer in the Chamonix region of France. The Futurists fear culture, and humanity’s spiritual connections pose the greatest threat to their unified world. By 2079, the Futurists have taken over North America and formed the superstate of Atlantia. To combat this fascist monoculture, an enigmatic woman called the Empress begins contacting those willing to fight through their dreams. In 2101, after the formation of three superstates, Chika Hagiwara lives in the fenced-off village of Tyosha in the Eurasia superstate. She joins the resistance Movement at her local Sleep Clinic. A Lucky Cat supernatural doll named Shanalandra, who comes to life and can change size, eventually brings Chika to meet the Empress at Nambata Castle, where they prepare to attack Eurasia’s leader, Hanxu Xing. In this follow-up to Lucky Cat and the Snow Maiden’s Vengeance (2018), Gray continues to add meticulous layers to her saga of spirit-animated figurines battling for humanity’s freedom. The grisly acts committed by the superstates are numerous, including when Chika “watched the sentinels shoot the burning figure...to make sure the victim was dead.” But as fans of the series know, the author’s portrayal of magic is subtle and rewarding. Within Nambata Castle is a “cloud of swirling snowflakes” in which “the souls of the dead wept with displeasure at their fate.” Yet while grand in scope, the drama often feels diffused across too many jumps in time. The question of whether or not to kill Xing’s son provides a flashpoint in a story that sometimes feels bigger than its characters.

This engaging and complex series installment offers fans more supernatural maneuvering.

Pub Date: March 31, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-79703-382-2

Page Count: 262

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2020

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

GHOSTED

In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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THE STARLESS SEA

A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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