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The Kingdom of Kevin Malone
Suzy McKee Charnas
Harcourt Brace Books, 272 pages

The Kingdom of Kevin Malone
Suzy McKee Charnas
Suzy McKee Charnas has put a copy of "The Beast's Embrace," a complete short tale, on her site. She is the author of Dorthea Dreams, The Vampire Tapestry, and other classic horror novels.

Suzy McKee Charnas Website
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Past Feature Reviews
A review by Margo MacDonald

This is a great book. This kind of stuff used to happen to me all the time! Well, okay, it's the kind of thing I used to imagine/hope would happen to me all the time. You know, you walk through a dark tunnel in the park and when you come out the other side -- Zap! -- you're in another place, maybe another time, where you can be a hero if you want to be -- fight off all the bad guys and solve all the riddles. That's what happens to the main character of this book who discovers that the bully from her childhood has somehow created an alternate world on the other side of the tunnels in Central Park.

Not only is the plot immediately interesting, but there is depth to it as well. The characters are working on several different levels as they fight the demons in both the real-real world and the real-fantasy world. The author doesn't go so far as to "solve" the problems the characters are facing, but does show that there are different ways of coping with different problems and that people often have hidden strengths just waiting for a chance to be discovered. Another important theme is that what you think you know about people may not always be all there is to them.

The story is fast-paced and seductive. The main characters are engaging and tough, though the secondary characters seem to be somewhat lacking in definition. Charnas uses familiar fantasy elements to her advantage in managing to make them seem familiar but not boring. There is a weak point in the story where the two friends of the main character take off on their own little adventure which the reader does not get to share, but if you are willing to forgive the author this shortcut, the story holds together in spite of it.

This is an endearing story with lots of interest and action -- definitely worth the ride. I recommend that you pick this one up, if not for the great story, then at least for the great expressions on the faces of the characters on the front cover.

Copyright © 1998 by Margo MacDonald

Margo has always been drawn toward fantasy and, at the age of 5, decided to fill her life with it by pursuing a career as a professional actress. Aside from theatre (and her husband), Margo's passion has been for books. Her interests are diverse and eclectic, but the bulk fall within the realm of speculative fiction. She tells us that her backlog has reached 200 books and she's ready to win the lottery and retire.

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