Every weekday, we feature a different review on Booklist Online that highlights starred reviews, high-demand titles, and/or titles especially relevant to our current issue’s spotlight. We’ve collected the reviews from August 15 through August 19 below so that you can revisit the week’s best books.
Tales of the Peculiar, by Ransom Riggs
Fans of Riggs’ Miss Peregrine series will delight over this slender companion book of peculiar folklore, as will neophytes. Much as J. K. Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard (2008) did for the Harry Potter series, these stories enhance the mythology Riggs has created around “peculiardom” rather than forward the series’ plot.
Three Dark Crowns, by Kendare Blake
With exquisite world building and luminous detail, this is high fantasy at its best. The magic is fierce and the plot intensely twisted, but at this novel’s dark heart beats a story about sisterhood, the unbreakable bonds of family, and ties that bind enough to kill.
The Terranauts, by T. C. Boyle
An avid, droll, and Darwinian-minded observer of nature both human and at-large, Boyle (The Harder They Come, 2015) loves pressure-cooker situations, whether it’s life on a small island or in a hippie commune or an architect’s studio. His latest closed-systems drama is a masterful variation on the infamous 1990s Biosphere 2 experiments during which scientists lived in a large terrarium under the Arizona sun, seeking new ecological understandings with an eye to long-term space missions.
The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart, by Lauren DeStefano
DeStefano (A Curious Tale of the In-Between, 2015) is no stranger to atmospheric middle-grade books and is impressively amassing work that rivals that of older authors known for scary mysteries, such as Mary Downing Hahn and Zilpha Keatley Snyder.
Mischling, by Affinity Konar
No zoo ever operated on more devilish principles than the cruel zoo of paired human specimens maintained by Josef Mengele, who culled twins from the prisoners at Auschwitz for insidious comparative experiments. Yet in the factual testimonies of survivors of this monstrous zoo, Konar finds inspiration for fiction of rare poignancy—and astonishing hope.