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Jan 11 2013

The Rabbi's Cat (film review), by Joann Sfar


I was recently sent a DVD screener of The Rabbi’s Cat, a 2011 animated film adaptation of Joann Sfar's graphic novel of the same name. I'm no film critic, and my previous experience with Sfar's work is limited to reading his sword-and-sorcery-on-drugs series Dungeon (which he co-created with Lewis Trondheim, and I have always found more exasperating than amusing), but I'll try anything once...

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Feb 22 2016

Raging Sea, by Michael Buckley


The horror in Michael Buckley's Undertow trilogy is largely evoked via ghastly migrant camps, bigoted politicians, and intense racism. These books should have been deliciously pulpy YA sci-fi/fantasy, but considering the current political climate, large portions of them feel uncomfortably realistic...

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Feb 18 2010

Raiders' Ransom, by Emily Diamand


Raiders' Ransom, the debut novel from writer Emily Diamand, was the winner of the inaugural London Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition, and it's easy to see why: Diamand's blend of ...

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Jun 24 2010

Raised by Wolves, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


The cover of Jennifer Lynn Barnes' novel Raised by Wolves features a promotional quote from Melissa Marr describing the book as “[quite] simply, the most compelling YA werewolf book out there.” O...

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Nov 18 2009

Rampant, by Diana Peterfreund


The idea of carnivorous unicorns ranks pretty high on both the kitsch-o-meter and parody scale, but Diana Peterfreund's novel Rampant is neither. Instead, this surprising young adult book is...

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Dec 8 2014

Ranma ½, by Rumiko Takahashi


I have spent the past few days wondering how to describe Rumiko Takahashi's Ranma ½ without making it sound like a 36-volume-long fever dream, and I've finally decided it's an impossible task. Just... bear with me, okay?

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Aug 3 2015

The Raven's Child, by Thomas E. Sniegoski


Thomas E. Sniegoski's standalone graphic novel The Raven's Child has all the right ingredients for an epic fantasy: an inspiring protagonist, a memorable cast of evildoers, and a detailed, visually striking world...

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Mar 19 2013

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline


Ernest Cline's debut novel Ready Player One borrows its premise from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, its plot from TRON, and its conclusion from The Wizard of Oz, but that's actually okay: people are buying this novel to wallow in all the geek-oriented nostalgia, not marvel at the author's originality...

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Aug 31 2015

Reawakened, by Colleen Houck


Several people have compared Colleen Houck's new novel Reawakened to Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson books. Both are aimed at younger teens, feature a mixture of human and demigod characters, and rely on a lot of PG-13 action sequences to push their plots along. Unfortunately, Reawakened doesn't share Riordan's greatest strength: his ability to create relatable characters, no matter how over-the-top their abilities or adventures...

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Jul 11 2005

Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier


(Sorry--this is less a Book of the Week Review than it is book-related musings.) So... have you all been following the completely bizarre courtship of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes? (And if not, you totally should be! May we suggest as a particularly fine source for TomKat news?) Anyway, in a(nother) vaguely disturbing interview...

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May 14 2014

Rebel Belle, by Rachel Hawkins


Bestselling YA author Rachel Hawkins has a new iron in the fire. Her latest book Rebel Belle is the first installment in a projected trilogy, and thus far I'm pretty excited about it. It's action-packed, wryly funny, and romantic, and as long as it ends on a less irritating note than her Hex Hall series did, Ms. Hawkins should have an enormous hit on her hands...

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Apr 12 2010

The Reckoning, by Kelley Armstrong


Kelley Armstrong is one of those authors whose work I rarely think about unless one of her books is right in front of me. I like her novels, but they just don't stick in my brain—at least, they h...

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Nov 20 2017

Red Sister, by Mark Lawrence


Let me start with a word of warning: Mark Lawrence's latest fantasy novel Red Sister is really, really violent. Scenes include (but are by no means limited to) the execution of a child, the torture of an older woman, and the fatal beating of an animal. There's a lot to admire about this book, but readers with delicate sensibilities should take heed...

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Dec 11 2017

Red Sparrow, by Jason Matthews


If you are a big John le Carre fan, but have always wished that his books featured more female characters, Jason Matthews's Red Sparrow is the book for you. I, however, am not a le Carre fan, and as far as I'm concerned adding female characters just expands the scope of a fundamentally unpleasant story to include a bunch of new targets...

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Dec 9 2013

Red, by Alison Cherry


Alison Cherry's debut novel Red has its charms: her heroine is relatable and plausibly flawed, and she has the fun, flowing writing style of a much more experienced author. Unfortunately, the tone of her story kept flip-flopping between campy and realistic, ultimately failing at both...

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Feb 16 2016

Reforming a Rake: With This Ring, by Suzanne Enoch


Suzanne Enoch's Reforming a Rake: With This Ring is lazy, cynical, and as predictable as an Applebee's meal. It is also about 1000 times better than the last romance novel we reviewed, partly because Enoch is a far better writer and partly because when it comes to romance novels, I don't mind a little predictability...

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Aug 22 2016

Remembrance, by Meg Cabot


Remembrance, the fifth and final book in Meg Cabot's 'Mediator' series, is her third attempt at transforming one of her YA series into a story for grown-ups. The end result is vintage Meg Cabot—brash, funny, and just a little bit lazy—but now with more swearing, violence, and sex...

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Jan 15 2018

Renegades, by Marissa Meyer


I've been reading Marissa Meyer's work for a long time. She got her start writing fanfiction, then wrote a series of fairy tale adaptations, then followed those up with an origin story for a famous villain...

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Nov 25 2005

Restoree, by Anne McCaffrey


According to Anne McCaffrey’s website, her first novel, 1967’s sci-fi/romance Restoree, was intended as “a protest against the absurd and unrealistic portrayals of women in sci-fi novels in the 50s and early 60s”...

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Nov 12 2008

Revelations, by Melissa de la Cruz


I have an intense, long-standing, slightly guilty love for vampire stories, which allows me to tolerate literature I wouldn’t otherwise touch with a ten foot pole. This love might not be powerful enough...

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Aug 6 2014

Revenant, by Kat Richardson


After nine books, Kat Richardson has finally brought her Greywalker series to a close, and she's ending the way she began: Revenant is carefully researched, densely plotted, and—it must be said—works much better on an intellectual level than an emotional one...

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Apr 24 2013

Revolution, by Jennifer Donnelly


I avoid books about the French Revolution (angry mob stories freak me out), reading about time travel (the laws of causality!), or plots that hinge on the deaths of children (...this one is self-explanatory, right?). All three are featured in Jennifer Donnelly's YA novel Revolution, so the fact that I not only finished her book, but even found it reasonably entertaining, is a testament to...

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Jan 20 2007

The Rhythm of the Road, by Albyn Leah Hall


Albyn Leah Hall is an author to watch, but nobody would describe her as being remotely Wordcandy-friendly. Her book The Rhythm of the Road is full of familiar images from country music: miss...

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Feb 17 2010

Rin-ne: Vol. 1, by Rumiko Takahashi


Rin-ne is the fifth major series from manga great Rumiko Takahashi, following InuYasha, Ranma ½, Maison Ikkoku, and Urusei Yatsura. Rin-ne launched in...

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Dec 11 2012

Rockoholic, by C.J. Skuse


C.J. Skuse's YA novel Rockoholic centers around Jody, a British teenager totally obsessed with rock star Jackson Gatlin. Jody is convinced the meaning of life can be found in Jackson's music, but when she kidnaps him from one of his concerts (accidentally!), she discovers her idol has feet of clay. Actually, he's practically made of clay...

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Nov 16 2012

Romeo Redeemed, by Stacey Jay


Romeo Redeemed is the sequel to Stacey Jay's 2011 novel Juliet Immortal, and—like its predecessor—is best described as an incoherent mash-up of overwrought teenagers, poorly-explained supernatural hijinks, and Shakespearean-lite fanfiction...

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Jan 11 2016

The Rook, by Daniel O'Malley


For a book that pretty much goes like this: infodump, infodump, action sequence, rinse, repeat, Daniel O'Malley's debut novel The Rook is astonishingly entertaining. It strongly reminds me of Seanan McGuire's InCryptid books, although I'm happy to report that I like The Rook even better...

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Dec 20 2012

Rough Justice, by Alex Ross


Comic book artist Alex Ross is best known for his work on Kingdom Come, a 1996 DC miniseries about a group of middle-aged superheroes battling a gang of new, amoral vigilantes (including, in some cases, their own children). Pantheon Books recently released a paperback edition of Rough Justice, a collection of images pulled from Ross's private sketchbooks, deleted scenes, and published work...

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Aug 8 2011

Ruby Red, by Kerstin Gier


While most of the books I write about are sent to us by publishers or PR groups, occasionally I read something so awesome that it cries out for a review, even if I had to spend my own money t...

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Jun 5 2013

Ruined and Unbroken, by Paula Morris


After reading Paula Morris's novel Dark Souls earlier this spring, I decided to hunt down the two books in her earlier series, Ruined and Unbroken. Dark Souls had some shaky characterization, but Morris's plot was creative, creepy, and rich in historical detail (all things I approve of in a ghost story), so my hopes were high...

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Jan 29 2018

Runaways: An Original Novel, by Christopher Golden


I'm not totally sure what “Original Novel” means to the bigwigs at Marvel, but that's the slightly misleading phrase they're using to describe Christopher Golden's new book Runaways. (I guess “Transparent Cash Grab” didn't fit on the cover.) Golden's book doesn't seem to be a direct relation of either the rebooted comics or the recent TV adaptation, but rather a story that branches off from an early volume of Brian K. Vaughn's original series...

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Jan 29 2008

Runemarks, by Joanne Harris


Joanne Harris’s novel Runemarks—her first book for children—features an intriguing female protagonist, a collection of secondary characters from Norse mythology, and an imaginative, fully-developed setting. There have been more impressive fantasy novels released in the past few years, but Runemarks is a solid entry into the growing field of entertaining novels for young readers written by “serious” authors...

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