PanThe New York Times Book ReviewIt’s never easy to inhabit the inner world of a teenager, let alone one facing the end of the world, but Morrison’s ventriloquizing of Haley often feels clumsy and forced ... a grab bag of tics that never cohere into a convincing personal idiom...Even as the stakes of the story grow ever higher, and Ed’s band of survivors faces dissension from within and menacing intruders from without, Haley’s mode of expression maintains a kind of chatty casualness that defies the emotional logic of the circumstances ... And though Morrison has concocted an adventurous plot, full of desperate escape attempts and violent confrontations (including a gory amputation), he saddles himself with a formal device that is constantly getting in the way of the action — Haley isn’t just providing her reminiscences, she’s writing her own survival guide...What this means for the reader is that the forward-going narrative is continually, disconcertingly interrupted by bulleted lists of advice ... Nearly lost among the cutesy diction and contrived structure is the simple and powerful notion that, to teenagers, it always feels like the end of the world. Haley is facing the dissolution of her parents’ marriage along with the dissolution of civilization, and at its best How to Survive Everything slyly demonstrates how these horrors parallel each other ... Alas, Morrison hardly begins to excavate the possibilities of his intriguing premise, and by the time the twist ending arrives, and Haley makes the dramatic choice on which the novel ends, the reader is more than ready to return to the world beyond the farmhouse gates.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review... a book about a dream, and it reads like a dream too: melancholy and luminous, looping and discursive, resistant to easy interpretation ... Devotees of apocalypse fiction should be warned that Drowning Practice is not a tale of bold heroes banding together to save the day, nor is it a meticulously rendered portrait of civilizational collapse ... In general, Meginnis seems less interested in what people do during an apocalypse than in what it feels like to live during an apocalypse ... The plot meanders, not so much picking up speed as packing on new, weird stories along the way...If this all sounds like the way stories work not in novels but in dreams, my strong suspicion is that this is no coincidence ... What keeps the novel grounded through it all is young Mott. Readers will root for her ... often feels like a parable of unfulfillment, and Mott is our hope, our chance, our dream of the future ... Some of the most powerful writing in Drowning Practice comes in the book’s mesmerizing final pages, a charged evocation of mood through the plain description of simple things ... certainly slow in parts, and some of its quirkier tangents might have been excised or reshaped to better serve the central narrative. But like a dream, it follows its own logic, and like many dreams, it has stayed with me in the waking hours since I emerged.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewThe Ninth Metal unfolds primarily in Northfall, a formerly sleepy Minnesota town Percy describes in loving detail ... It’s a busy town, and a busy book. After an intriguing start, The Ninth Metal buries its promise under metric tons of story ... Percy, author of genre thrillers like The Dark Net and Red Moon, is deft at catching attention with sharp lines of dialogue or bursts of action, especially to round out a chapter ... But The Ninth Metal shifts too frequently among its many characters, piling up the love stories and back stories and side stories, making it hard to develop a rooting interest in any ... There are occasional intriguing glimpses of the ninth metal’s otherworldly origins, but they are swept away in the rapid-fire series of violent confrontations that wrap up the various plots.
RaveThe Los Angeles Review of BooksIQ, the debut novel from Los Angeles native Joe Ide — who is new to fiction after a career in film — features a protagonist who will please fans of both traditions, as well as those crime fiction readers who like it both ways ...within the novel where Isaiah Quintabe makes dazzling leaps of reasoning, and there is a spot where he literally fires a grenade launcher. At the heart of the book, though, is the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual growth of its hero, a boy who grows quickly into a man (and a private investigator) after the death of his brother.