RaveThe New York Times Book Review... insightful and gripping ... On the surface, Reprieve is a story about an attack at a haunted house, but Mattson is also investigating questions of identity and power, namely who in this story controls fears and who is subject to them. Thankfully, the answer isn’t as simple as having the Black and Thai characters suffer as victims of the powerful while the white characters serve as the abusers. Instead, nearly everyone here takes turns in these roles, being harmed by the greed and prejudices of others and then displaying their own not long afterward. And yet, the novel doesn’t pretend each character is equally at fault; there are, after all, degrees of power and powerlessness. The haunted house at the center of the narrative is an excellent touch because the ideas of danger and harm become material, frightening and imminent. At times, the reader is trapped in Quigley House with the contestants, in scenes that are genuinely unnerving ... we get a great deal of background on Kendra, Jaidee and Leonard in particular. Much of it is interesting and meaningful, but I would say, as one might find with Barker and King, there is such a thing as too much back story ... Another way to say this is that I kept wanting to return to the terrors of Quigley House. I wanted to see who survived and who didn’t. Of course, I cared about who did or didn’t make it out only because Mattson did such a fine job of making these people feel real and their pasts so satisfyingly complex. Still, their histories could have been trimmed down here and there, and nothing would have been lost ... In his sly way, Mattson turns his novel into a portrait of current events. And they have, indeed, been terrifying.
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review...a heady campfire tale of a novel built for summer reading ... the journey is a gloriously twisting line that regularly confounded my expectations ... There’s a faint political undercurrent to the novel ... The sense that our country’s center is not holding pulses through the novel. The fear that we are losing our collective memory, of a stable nation for instance, doesn’t read to me like fantasy.
RaveBookforum\"The novel stands as an epic quest ... With Black Leopard, Red Wolf, James reorients the reader using bygone Africa, its kingdoms and its conjuring, as his muse. And he’s a much better prose stylist than Tolkien, knowing when to let Tracker’s blustery voice take center stage and when it should become quieter, so the fantastic may dazzle us instead ... James manages to write a fantasy novel that is both grounded and, simultaneously, playfully fantastic. This book might do his ﬁnest job yet of blending the horriﬁc and the exquisite: There is love and lust and betrayal and faerie folk, though here they’re called Yumboes ... This is going to be fun.\
RaveThe New York Times Book Review\"Monsters of one kind or another are what the man does best, and The Outsider delivers a good one … He could easily churn out ‘monsters in Maine’ tales until his life ends, and he’d remain well compensated for it. But he doesn’t do that. He isn’t writing mere imitations of himself. More than 50 novels published, and he’s still adding new influences to his work. I can think of a great many literary writers who are far lazier about their range of inspirations and interests. This expansiveness allows King to highlight the idea that whether we’re talking about Mexico or Maine, Oklahoma or Texas, people the world over tell certain stories for reasons that feel much the same: to understand the mysteries of our universe, the improbable and inexplicable … here’s to the strange and to Stephen King. Still inspiring.”
PositiveThe Washington PostMieville’s ambitions here are grand, his imagination fertile. He’s clearly having fun describing things such as bio-rigged technology that’s part living being, part machine: ‘chewing beasts, which would defecate fuel and components.’ And that joy translates to the reader. A lot of this is just a blast … Characters sleep together, betray one another, die off, but it’s all related to us afterward, almost as an aside. This serves to make Avice increasingly wearisome: While others act, she ponders, which becomes ponderous...Still, Embassytown bursts with so many amazing ideas from start to finish that the reading experience remains rewarding. I found myself grinning at each new concept, dazzling set piece and clever turn of phrase.
PositiveThe Washington PostOn the day the novel begins, Ig wakes up and finds people can't stop confessing. Coincidentally, that's also the day he discovers he's growing horns. And his skin can change colors. Along the way he even acquires a pitchfork. So is he becoming what the world believes him to be? … Thankfully, Hill is confident enough to commit seriously to this premise but also poke a little fun at his story along the way. There are comic references everywhere, from the devil in a blue dress to an almost mandatory Rolling Stones allusion. Hill has already proved himself a leading light of fantastical writing in the 21st century, but what makes Horns such a pleasure is that he avoids the seriousness that can pervade books meant to be spooky.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewBoth Fountain and Miles are journalists (Fountain has worked at The New York Times for two decades), and their books are chock-full of these kinds of tales, describing the human scale of such disasters ... The Great Quake is rich with such revelations; and I felt grateful, even giddy, as I read them. Fountain’s book is like a gift box: Open the lid to peek at the treasures of the Earth. I could geek out on such details for a month and never miss mentions of humanity ...neither book wallows in sensationalism or alarmism.