A standard court fantasy, unique in its expansion on the story of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

DAUGHTER OF THE MOON GODDESS

Set against a background of Chinese mythology, a young woman resolves to save her mother from magical imprisonment.

Xingyin is the daughter of Chang’e, the Moon Goddess, imprisoned on the moon for offending the Celestial Emperor. Xingyin’s very existence is a secret—as part of her punishment, Chang’e is to have no unsanctioned visitors. When Celestial soldiers almost discover her, Xingyin runs away, promising not to reveal her parentage and determined to reverse her mother’s punishment. Alone in the Celestial Kingdom, Xingyin has the remarkable good fortune of becoming Prince Liwei’s companion, attending his lessons and learning not only herbology and magic, but also the fighting arts. Xingyin and Liwei grow close, but as Liwei is the son of those responsible for Chang’e’s imprisonment, Xingyin must continually hide a part of herself. As Xingyin pursues her goals, others plot against the Celestial Kingdom, and the emperor and empress are not without their own machinations. Packed with magic, dragons, and plenty of scheming, this novel features many expected tropes, freshened up by the well-developed setting and strong basis in Chinese mythology. Xingyin is sometimes frustratingly successful and spends much more time with her male love interests than her female friends, but the plot delivers what it promises in a quite satisfying, though predictable manner. The prose is lovely and fluid, lush descriptions of magic and immortal life buoying the narrative.

A standard court fantasy, unique in its expansion on the story of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-303130-2

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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Lots of buzz after a seven-year hiatus, but even die-hard Outlander fans might need more action.

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GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE

The ninth book in Gabaldon’s Outlander series finds the Fraser family reunited in the midst of the American Revolution.

It’s 1779, and Claire and Jamie Fraser have found each other across time and space and are living peacefully in the American Colony of North Carolina. This novel opens with the mysterious return to Fraser’s Ridge of their daughter, Brianna, her husband, Roger, and their children. In a previous book, Brianna’s family time-traveled to 20th-century America and planned to stay there permanently. It’s clear that Jamie and the others expect the troubles the family faced in the future will follow them to the past; unfortunately, after their return, the book pauses for several hundred pages of exposition. Gabaldon reintroduces characters, summarizes past events and tragedies, and introduces new characters. The text features not one but two family trees (the one in the back is updated to include the events of the book), and readers will need both to keep track of all the characters and relationships. The Outlander series has always been concerned with themes of time and place, and this novel contains intricate details and descriptions of daily life in Colonial America, clearly the result of countless hours of research. But Claire and Jamie have always been the major draw for readers. Now that they are grandparents, their love story is less epic and more tender, exploring the process of aging, the joys of family, and the longing for community and home. The last third is more plot-driven and action-packed, but the cliffhanger ending might leave readers feeling as if the book is just filler for the promised 10th installment.

Lots of buzz after a seven-year hiatus, but even die-hard Outlander fans might need more action.

Pub Date: Nov. 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-101-88568-0

Page Count: 928

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2022

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Spanning centuries and continents, this is a darkly romantic and suspenseful tale by a writer at the top of her game.

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THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE

When you deal with the darkness, everything has a price.

“Never pray to the gods that answer after dark.” Adeline tried to heed this warning, but she was desperate to escape a wedding she didn’t want and a life spent trapped in a small town. So desperate that she didn’t notice the sun going down. And so she made a deal: For freedom, and time, she will surrender her soul when she no longer wants to live. But freedom came at a cost. Adeline didn’t want to belong to anyone; now she is forgotten every time she slips out of sight. She has spent 300 years living like a ghost, unable even to speak her own name. She has affairs with both men and women, but she can never have a comfortable intimacy built over time—only the giddy rush of a first meeting, over and over again. So when she meets a boy who, impossibly, remembers her, she can’t walk away. What Addie doesn’t know is why Henry is the first person in 300 years who can remember her. Or why Henry finds her as compelling as she finds him. And, of course, she doesn’t know how the devil she made a deal with will react if he learns that the rules of their 300-year-long game have changed. This spellbinding story unspools in multiple timelines as Addie moves through history, learning the rules of her curse and the whims of her captor. Meanwhile, both Addie and the reader get to know Henry and understand what sets him apart. This is the kind of book you stay up all night reading—rich and satisfying and strange and impeccably crafted.

Spanning centuries and continents, this is a darkly romantic and suspenseful tale by a writer at the top of her game.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7653-8756-1

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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