This is a deeply human story, beautifully and compellingly told.

NO GODS, NO MONSTERS

In the first of a series, the monsters who have always lived among us emerge, endangered by prejudice, doubt, and at least one deadly, ancient cult.

Laina mourns the death of her estranged brother, Lincoln, lost to drug addiction and killed by a cop. Then a mysterious person sends her a video of the incident, which shows Lincoln transforming from wolf to man. When Laina tries to share the video online, the unedited version soon vanishes from the internet. Someone has revealed that animal shifters, witches, and other supernatural beings exist...but someone else seems dedicated to obscuring—or exterminating—that truth. As these so-called “monsters” consider the dangers of becoming more public, their allies must decide whether they, too, will take a stand and risk themselves as well. Calvin, a man with the power to move along the timeline of any parallel universe except his own, serves as a semiomniscient and flawed first-person witness to these events, even while greater powers observe him. As in Turnbull’s first novel, The Lesson (2019), the otherworldly aspects of the story act as a lens that brings the characters’ richly depicted lives and complex relationships into sharp focus. Despite her eldritch origins, it’s easy to sympathize with Sondra, a senator from St. Thomas and secret weredog, who longs for her missing parents and both loves and resents her adopted sister, Sonya, a blood-drinking and usually invisible creature hiding many secrets. The struggles of Laina’s girlfriend, Rebecca, a werewolf who has faced many losses and made many mistakes, are absorbing, as are the struggles of Laina’s husband, Ridley, an asexual trans man yearning for his parents’ approval even as he devotes himself to improving society through cooperative enterprise.

This is a deeply human story, beautifully and compellingly told.

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982603-72-4

Page Count: 350

Publisher: Blackstone

Review Posted Online: July 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A deep and grimly whimsical exploration of what it means to be a son, a father, and an artist.

THE SWALLOWED MAN

A retelling of Pinocchio from Geppetto's point of view.

The novel purports to be the memoirs of Geppetto, a carpenter from the town of Collodi, written in the belly of a vast fish that has swallowed him. Fortunately for Geppetto, the fish has also engulfed a ship, and its supplies—fresh water, candles, hardtack, captain’s logbook, ink—are what keep the Swallowed Man going. (Collodi is, of course, the name of the author of the original Pinocchio.) A misfit whose loneliness is equaled only by his drive to make art, Geppetto scours his surroundings for supplies, crafting sculptures out of pieces of the ship’s wood, softened hardtack, mussel shells, and his own hair, half hoping and half fearing to create a companion once again that will come to life. He befriends a crab that lives all too briefly in his beard, then mourns when “she” dies. Alone in the dark, he broods over his past, reflecting on his strained relationship with his father and his harsh treatment of his own “son”—Pinocchio, the wooden puppet that somehow came to life. In true Carey fashion, the author illustrates the novel with his own images of his protagonist’s art: sketches of Pinocchio, of woodworking tools, of the women Geppetto loved; photos of driftwood, of tintypes, of a sculpted self-portrait with seaweed hair. For all its humor, the novel is dark and claustrophobic, and its true subject is the responsibilities of creators. Remembering the first time he heard of the sea monster that was to swallow him, Geppetto wonders if the monster is somehow connected to Pinocchio: “The unnatural child had so thrown the world off-balance that it must be righted at any cost, and perhaps the only thing with the power to right it was a gigantic sea monster, born—I began to suppose this—just after I cracked the world by making a wooden person.” Later, contemplating his self-portrait bust, Geppetto asks, “Monster of the deep. Am I, then, the monster? Do I nightmare myself?”

A deep and grimly whimsical exploration of what it means to be a son, a father, and an artist.

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-18887-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This novel’s magic goes far beyond the dragons.

WHEN WOMEN WERE DRAGONS

As women around the world inexplicably transform into dragons, a young girl struggles to take care of her cousin in 1950s America.

It’s indecent to speak about dragons, just as it would be indecent to talk about, say, menstruation or the burning, building rage that so many women feel day to day. Because it’s such a forbidden topic, to the extent that scientists who study the dragon transformations are silenced by the government, no one really understands why “dragooning” happens or how it works. When Alex’s Aunt Marla is among the thousands of women who all turn into dragons together on the same day in 1955, her beloved cousin, Beatrice, becomes her adopted sister. And when Alex is in high school and her own mother dies of cancer, her father sticks her in a cheap apartment and tells her she’s old enough to raise Beatrice on her own. Alex inherited her mother’s talent for math and science, and she struggles between her own rage at how her abilities are constantly diminished by the men around her and her resentment that her Aunt Marla became a dragon and abandoned her and Beatrice. But the older Beatrice gets, the more she longs to become a dragon herself, and Alex lives in terror that Beatrice will leave her behind. In lesser hands the dragon metaphor would feel simplistic and general, but Barnhill uses it to imagine different ways of living, loving, and caring for each other. The result is a complex, heartfelt story about following your heart and opening your mind to new possibilities.

This novel’s magic goes far beyond the dragons.

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-385-54822-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more