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

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

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

A WEEK AT THE SHORE

A middle-aged woman returns to her childhood home to care for her ailing father, confronting many painful secrets from her past.

When Mallory Aldiss gets a call from a long-ago boyfriend telling her that her elderly father has been gallivanting around town with a gun in his hand, Mallory decides it’s time to return to the small Rhode Island town that she’s been avoiding for more than a decade. Mallory’s precocious 13-year-old daughter, Joy, is thrilled that she'll get to meet her grandfather at long last, and an aunt, too, and she'll finally see the place where her mother grew up. When they arrive in Bay Bluff, it’s barely a few hours before Mallory bumps into her old flame, Jack, the only man she’s ever really loved. Gone is the rebellious young person she remembers, and in his place stands a compassionate, accomplished adult. As they try to reconnect, Mallory realizes that the same obstacle that pushed them apart decades earlier is still standing in their way: Jack blames Mallory’s father for his mother’s death. No one knows exactly how Jack’s mother died, but Jack thinks a love affair between her and Mallory’s father had something to do with it. As Jack and Mallory chase down answers, Mallory also tries to repair her rocky relationships with her two sisters and determine why her father has always been so hard on her. Told entirely from Mallory’s perspective, the novel has a haunting, nostalgic quality. Despite the complex and overlapping layers to the history of Bay Bluff and its inhabitants, the book at times trudges too slowly through Mallory’s meanderings down Memory Lane. Even so, Delinsky sometimes manages to pick up the pace, and in those moments the beauty and nuance of this complicated family tale shine through. Readers who don’t mind skimming past details that do little to advance the plot may find that the juicier nuggets and realistically rendered human connections are worth the effort.

A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11951-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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