Every weekday we feature a different review on Booklist Online. These reviews are notable for different reasons—they may be starred, or high-demand, or especially relevant to the current issue’s spotlight. We’ve collected the reviews from December 28–31 below, so you can revisit the best of the week.
Monday December 28
The Age of Genius, by A. C. Grayling
Sandwiched between the Reformation of the sixteenth century and the Enlightenment of the eighteenth, the seventeenth century lacks a defining label. Grayling remedies that deficiency, dubbing it the Age of Genius, an era when titans—laboring in a Europe both devastated and loosened by the Thirty Years War—revolutionized science, philosophy, law, and political theory, so forging the intellectual perspective that has ever since characterized modernity.
Tuesday December 29
Half Lost, by Sally Green
In the final book of the Half Bad trilogy, Nathan has become his worst fear: a killer for killing’s sake, just like Marcus, his Black Witch father. The Alliance is delighted at this philosophical metamorphosis, brought about after Nathan eats his father’s heart, certain that their cause will now prevail, provided Nathan can get the other half of the amulet from Ledger, thus ensuring Nathan’s protection.
Wednesday December 30
This Census-Taker, by China Miéville
Miéville returns with a thought-provoking fairy tale for adults, narrated by an unnamed man as he looks back on the pivotal weeks during his ninth year when his mother disappeared under nefarious circumstances. At its heart, this is the story of how a scared, confused boy took the first steps that led him to his current adult life. The descriptions of the world in which the novella takes place and the characters involved in the action are purposely vague, which gives the story a magical feel.
Thursday December 31
Unbecoming, by Jenny Downham
Katie meets her grandmother Mary for the first time when the hospital calls. It’s an understatement to say that Katie’s mother, Caroline, has a tense relationship with Mary, and she’s none too pleased to have to care for the woman, who’s slipping into dementia. Katie, however, is enchanted, and she compassionately endeavors to help Mary remember as much as possible.