Skillful prose creates a strangely engaging narrative voice, but the continuous cycle of possible redemption followed by...

AT THE EDGE OF EMPIRE

From the Death and Life of Zebulon Finch series , Vol. 1

In 1897, Zebulon Finch, a 17-year-old who abandoned his wealthy family in favor of Chicago gang violence, is murdered—but it's 17 minutes later, when he awakens as a sort of animated cadaver, that his misadventures and tormented life really begin.

This first volume of Mr. Finch's memoir, composed as he is willingly interred in the depths of the foundation of the World Trade Center as it is erected in New York City, spans his birth to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Whether he is starring in a patent-medicine show, serving as a Harvard professor's experimental subject, participating in World War I trench warfare, or acting as a Hollywood starlet's bizarre sexual toy, Mr. Finch is always quick to remind readers that his own egoism and compulsive behaviors are the root of the pattern of his miserable existence. He has an unerring ability to align himself with those most eager to destroy him, while often mistreating those who offer him kindness. Kraus' careful prose gifts Mr. Finch with a voice that retains a sheen of elegance even as it repulses readers with macabre imagery. And still, when his occasional efforts at reform fail, Mr. Finch becomes an oddly pitiable character.

Skillful prose creates a strangely engaging narrative voice, but the continuous cycle of possible redemption followed by failure and loss of hope becomes repetitive over the course of 650 pages—and this is just Part 1. (Horror. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-1139-4

Page Count: 656

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more