Reviews of the Week with J. C. Cervantes, Kim Stanley Robinson, Katherine Arden, and More!

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 August 13-17 below.

Monday, August 13storm runner

 The Storm Runner, by J. C. Cervantes

Zane Obispo is content exploring the volcano in his backyard with his dog, Rosie, and doing what he can to please his mother, who works hard for little. He’s got one foot smaller than the other, and one leg shorter than the other, which complicates things a bit. But then he meets Brooks, a girl who appears after a mysterious plane crash, and she warns him, first, that he’s in danger, and, second, that he’s destined to release the lord of death, darkness, and despair from imprisonment, and his whole world goes topsy-turvy.

 

 

Tuesday, August 14Sweep

 Sweep, by Jonathan Auxier

Victorian London is often magically made over in novels, and Auxier (The Night Gardener, 2014) uses Jewish folklore as kindling for his wondrous, yet at times grim, story of Nan Sparrow, one of London’s cadre of child chimney sweeps. Nearly 12, she works for the heartless Wilkie Crudd, who is nothing like the fatherly Sweep, who taught Nan to climb a chimney better than any boy. Though the Sweep disappeared five years ago, she still dreams of him and keeps the warm lump of charcoal he left behind in her pocket. On a routine job, Nan gets stuck in a flue and is saved by the Sweep’s coal, which reveals itself to be a golem.

 

Wednesday, August 15Red Moon

 Red Moon, by Kim Stanley Robinson

The time: about 30 years from now. China has colonized Earth’s moon. Fred Fredericks, an American, is making his first visit to the moon, to work on a new communications system for the Chinese Lunar Science Foundation. It’s supposed to be a quick trip and then back home again, but Fred’s plans unexpectedly change when he is accused of murder. Before he can be interviewed by the authorities, Fred is spirited back to Earth by Chan Qi, the rebellious daughter of a highly placed politician, who has her own secret purpose in visiting the moon, and Ta Shu, a famous travel journalist.

 

 

Thursday, August 16Devils Day

 Devil’s Day, by Andrew Michael Hurley

John Pentecost, who left his family’s sheep farm as a young man, returns every year from his home in Suffolk to help, with lambing in the spring, harvest in the summer, or gathering in the fall. But one October, he and his newly pregnant wife, Kat, return for the funeral of his 86-year-old grandfather, known as the Gaffer, an occasion that leads John to think seriously of the future. Only he is left to care for the family land, and he feels he is ready to assume that responsibility. Yet Kat—both frightened and repulsed by some of the behavior and rituals she experiences as the landholders observe their annual Devil’s Day—vows to return to Suffolk. And John knows that it is vital that she stay.

 

Friday, August 17small spaces

 Small Spaces, by Katherine Arden

Things were already pretty spooky for Ollie after she rescued an antique book from a weeping, maniacal woman, but when the bus taking her and her classmates home from a school trip to a farm stalls in a dense bank of fog next to a field peppered with creepy scarecrows, it’s clear something otherworldly is going on. Heeding the advice appearing in her late mother’s digital watch—“RUN”—Ollie and a couple of classmates, Jamaican-born Brian and sensitive Coco, escape to the woods, trying to avoid the terrifying, animated scarecrows and find their way back to the farm, which has an eerie connection to the book, a story about a smiling man who makes deadly bargains.

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About the Author:

Rebecca Gonner is a recent graduate of Western Illinois University with a degree in English Literature. When she's not at work, you'll likely find her watching anime, playing her ukulele, or reading.

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