A grisly reflection on human nature.

EMPIRE DECAYED

From the Death and Life of Zebulon Finch series , Vol. 2

Born in 1879, murdered in 1896, and awakened 17 minutes later as a sort of animated cadaver, Zebulon Finch offers this second installment of his autobiography, spanning 1941 to the 21st century.

Blond, white, self-proclaimed handsome devil Finch, perpetually 17, continues his limping course through key moments of American history. He unfailingly reveals humanity’s most brutal tendencies, including World War II concentration camps, the vitriol of 1950s suburban housewives, and chronic abuses within mental health facilities. As in The Edge of Empire (2015), Finch still occasionally longs for acceptance from his fellow man, even fantasizing about becoming a stepfather figure at one point. But any sympathy these episodes may garner from readers is soon destroyed by his inevitable return to cruelty. It’s difficult to forgive decisions like his formation of a strange 1970s desert cult in which he encourages followers to practice cannibalism. Kraus’ signature gory prose offers details of these practices: “A typical recipe was to remove a chunk of meat from one’s thigh…and simmer it in broth before offering it to a friend.…It was an acquired taste, so new mothers rubbed blood on their nipples so that their breastfeeding children would develop the craving.” Moments like these may haunt readers far beyond any of Finch’s emotional or theological ruminations. In the end, Finch's fancy vocabulary and occasionally affected formality never obscure his interior monster.

A grisly reflection on human nature. (Horror. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-1142-4

Page Count: 784

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

CROOKED KINGDOM

From the Six of Crows series , Vol. 2

This hefty sequel to Six of Crows (2015) brings high-tension conclusions to the many intertwined intrigues of Ketterdam.

It's time for revenge—has been ever since old-before-his-time crook Kaz and his friends were double-crossed by the merchant princes of Ketterdam, an early-industrial Amsterdam-like fantasy city filled to the brim with crime and corruption. Disabled, infuriated, and perpetually scheming Kaz, the light-skinned teen mastermind, coordinates the efforts to rescue Inej. Though Kaz is loath to admit weakness, Inej is his, for he can't bear any harm come to the knife-wielding, brown-skinned Suli acrobat. Their team is rounded out by Wylan, a light-skinned chemist and musician whose merchant father tried to have him murdered and who can't read due to a print disability; Wylan's brown-skinned biracial boyfriend, Jesper, a flirtatious gambler with ADHD; Nina, the pale brunette Grisha witch and recovering addict from Russia-like Ravka; Matthias, Nina's national enemy and great love, a big, white, blond drüskelle warrior from the cold northern lands; and Kuwei, the rescued Shu boy everyone wants to kidnap. Can these kids rescue everyone who needs rescuing in Ketterdam's vile political swamp? This is dark and violent—one notable scene features a parade of teens armed with revolvers, rifles, pistols, explosives, and flash bombs—but gut-wrenchingly genuine. Astonishingly, Bardugo keeps all these balls in the air over the 500-plus pages of narrative.

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-213-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

FIREKEEPER'S DAUGHTER

Testing the strength of family bonds is never easy—and lies make it even harder.

Daunis is trying to balance her two communities: The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, teen is constantly adapting, whether she is with her Anishinaabe father’s side of the family, the Firekeepers, or the Fontaines, her White mother’s wealthy relatives. She has grand plans for her future, as she wants to become a doctor, but has decided to defer her plans to go away for college because her maternal grandmother is recovering from a stroke. Daunis spends her free time playing hockey with her Firekeeper half brother, Levi, but tragedy strikes, and she discovers someone is selling a dangerous new form of meth—and the bodies are piling up. While trying to figure out who is behind this, Daunis pulls away from her family, covering up where she has been and what she has been doing. While dealing with tough topics like rape, drugs, racism, and death, this book balances the darkness with Ojibwe cultural texture and well-crafted characters. Daunis is a three-dimensional, realistically imperfect girl trying her best to handle everything happening around her. The first-person narration reveals her internal monologue, allowing readers to learn what’s going on in her head as she encounters anti-Indian bias and deals with grief.

A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76656-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

more