by Ruby Dixon ‧ RELEASE DATE: Jan. 2, 2024
New characters illuminate the growth of a small hybrid alien-human community.
Two new human women are rescued and learn to live on an ice planet.
A cargo hold full of kidnapped human women crashed onto an ice planet. The original group of women fell in love and were mated with the men from the small band of blue aliens who inhabit the planet. Now, in Book 7 of Dixon’s Ice Planet Barbarians series, a group of aliens and women return to the crashed ship to free two women who were trapped in stasis. Rokan is one of the aliens on the rescue crew. His strong sense of intuition, what he calls “knowing,” tells him he is essential to the rescue mission. When sisters Lila and Maddie awaken, they are shocked by their new circumstances. Lila is deaf, and her cochlear implant was removed by the kidnappers. She feels helpless without the ability to hear and relies on Maddie to help her understand the strange new world. One of the aliens on the rescue team takes Lila from the group, hoping if they are alone together she will "resonate" with him, which indicates that two people are fated mates. Rokan's sense of intuition tells him Lila is in trouble, so he separates from the rescue crew to hunt for her. When Rokan finds her, she had already escaped on her own, a satisfying corrective to several earlier books in which human women fall in love with their captors. (Yes, there's a lot of kidnapping in this series!) Rokan agrees to teach her the basic skills, such as hunting and trapping, that will help her survive on the ice planet. Lila is won over by Rokan, who values her as an individual with her own needs and desires. Rokan cares about communicating with her and learns basic signs. Although this installment of the series continues to show the new culture the humans and aliens are creating together, Lila’s deafness is a plot device rather than a well-developed or accurately researched part of her character.New characters illuminate the growth of a small hybrid alien-human community.
Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2024
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023
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by Max Brooks ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 16, 2020
A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
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
Page Count: 304
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine
Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020
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BOOK TO SCREEN
by Thea Guanzon ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 3, 2023
Slow and plodding.
A young woman with a magical ability to harness light discovers she is royalty.
Talasyn is a foot soldier for her homeland of Sardovia, which has been under attack for the past decade by the powerful and evil Night Empire, a conflict known as the Hurricane Wars. Talasyn is an orphan with no knowledge of her family, but she assumes they might be the source of her rare, magical Lightweaving talent. During a battle with the forces of the Night Empire, Talasyn spars with Prince Alaric, a fierce warrior who is the son and heir to the Night Emperor. Talasyn is sent on a covert mission into Nenavar, a nearby matriarchy that has remained neutral during the Hurricane Wars, to try to access a Light Sever which could hone and refine her magic. Instead, she discovers she is the heir to their royal throne; she and her mother, now presumed dead, disappeared under mysterious circumstances when she was a year old. Alaric follows her into Nenavar, and they discover his magical ability to cast darkness and shadows produces shocking results when mixed with her Lightweaving. A few weeks later, the Night Empire defeats Sardovia and ends the Hurricane Wars, and the novel transitions to a tedious, slow-moving story of court intrigue and diplomacy. A group of Sardovian soldiers and refugees seek asylum in Nenavar, but Talasyn’s grandmother agrees to protect them only if Talasyn agrees to join the royal court and marry Alaric. The politics surrounding the impending wedding is the primary plot for the rest of the novel, and it’s a slog. The glacially slow pacing only serves to highlight the confusing world building and underdeveloped characters. It’s unclear why Alaric and Talasyn are attracted to each other, and their tentative romance is just as stuck in a rut as the plot.Slow and plodding.
Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2023
Page Count: 480
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Review Posted Online: July 26, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2023
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