Archive for July, 2011

Tears of the Sun-S.M. Stirling

July 31, 2011

Tears of the Sun

S.M. Stirling

Roc, Sep 6 2011, $26.95

ISBN: 9780451464156

 

A quarter of a century has passed since the 1998 Change killed over 90% of the human population in one year.  Modern civilization around the globe was sent back to pre industrial revolution as things stopped working.  Small pockets of survivors banded together to cope with the ordeal.

 

With his beloved Mathilda Arminger at his side, Rudi Mackenzie has completed the first part of his quest by finding the Sword of the Lady forged for him before he was born.  He becomes the High King of Montival King Artos as he unites western North America.  For the betterment and protection of his followers although he expects to die, King Artos leads the fight against the Big Sky based Church Universal and Triumphant.

 

Although the main thrust is Rudi, subplots involving the Dundain Rangers, d’Ath the Grand Constable of the Portland Protectorate Association and Wiccan in several locales star in critical subplots.  Thus the action is less intense than previous Emberverse entries (see The Sword of the Lady), but enhances the impact of the Change by 2023 while also setting up fresh hot zones for the future thrillers.  In spite of being a transitional novel, Tears of the Sun engages fans of the saga who will anxiously await the next Change.

 

Harriet Klausner

Shadow Kin-M.J. Scott

July 31, 2011

Shadow Kin

M.J. Scott

Roc, Sep 6 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451464040

 

Blood Lord Lucius orders the “soulless” wraith he raised as an assassin to kill human sunmage Simon DuCaine.  Lily goes after Simon, but he defeats her.   Instead of killing Lily, Simon lets her live though he is not being altruistic. 

 

He and his Templar knight brother believe Lily is the proof that Lucius broke the City’s treaty signed by the Blood Lords, Beast Kind, the Fae and the Humans.  He pleads with his captive to testify against the master who raised her.  He is attracted to the “Nightseeking whore” who glides like a shadow between worlds.  She believes joining him in the light is impossible though she is falling in love with the mage who showed her mercy though she knows he condemned her as being like his sister Edwina. 

 

The Shadow Kin political fantasy is a fabulous tale as the world of Scott comes vividly alive through the competing machinations between the prime groups.  Blood Lords and the Beast Kind rule the Night World; while Fae and human mages guard the rest of the Half Light City.  Fast-paced from the onset, fans will relish this strong thriller though the romance never quite gels with the pasts of the two protagonists except when they curse at each other.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

 

Crossroads-Jeanne C. Stein

July 31, 2011

Crossroads

Jeanne C. Stein

Ace, Aug 30 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780441020775

 

In Mission Beach, SDPD Detective Harris visits Anna Strong over odd anomalies involving two hundred year old DNA found in the fiery death of his late boss Warren Williams.  She knows she is the “Chosen One” (see Retribution).  However, she needs a little time to accept her destiny and grieve the loss of her mentor and the betrayal of her late lover.  However, the battle against Chael the vampire is still on as the ancient one challenges her position as he believes vampires belong at the top of the food chain not roaches scurrying for food. 

 

Anna’s former human lover Drug Enforcement Agent Max asks for her help to end the murderous terror of a rogue vampire.  This Undead transports people across the Mexican border, but once stateside he drains the blood from his human cargo. Her partner David has found out some information about his lost weekend that Anna would prefer he not remember.  Anna confronts Chael who implies he knows how she can return to being human, her fondest desire.  To do so Anna must locate a Navajo shaman living as a hermit on a reservation.  Chael also makes Anna realize he knows shapeshifter Daniel Frey has a young son that Anna fears the vampire or something else will target.

 

This is an enjoyable Anna Strong, Vampire urban fantasy as the heroine’s life keeps getting increasingly complicated.  Besides dealing with vampires like Chael, the human trafficker and the late chief’s wife, she also has issues with humans like Harris and David.  However, this is nothing compared to what awaits the hero on the Navaho Nation.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

Bloodlines-Richelle Mead

July 31, 2011

Bloodlines

Richelle Mead

Razorbill/Penguin, August 23 2011, $18.99

ISBN: 9781595143174

 

Four Alchemists arrive at the home of Sydney, her parents and her sister Zoe.   Sydney assumes they will send her to a reeducation center for her assistance to Rose Hathaway the dhampir (see the Vampire Academy series).  Instead they want Zoe, but her dad says his frightened youngest is not ready to protect other humans from vampires.  He suggests Sydney instead.  Reluctantly they agree so with a warning they will assign teenaged Sydney to protect Moroi vampire Queen Lissa Dragomir’s half-sister Jill from an assassin.  The plan is to hide the princess at Amberwood Prep, a Palm Springs, California exclusive school for humans while Sydney poses as Jill’s older sister. 

 

Sydney knows this will not be an easy assignment as she has been indoctrinated with the belief that vampires are predatory monsters though her work has her dividing the undead into two sub-species, the evil Strigoi and the Moroi.  The safe school includes sleazy Keith who blames Sydney for his troubles and her friend Adrian who helps her though she has a different kind of help in mind.  She finds the prep school has unsafe secrets.

 

The start of a related to the Vampire Academy new series, Bloodlines is an engaging urban fantasy starring an intriguing heroine who keeps the exciting story line focused.  Sydney accepts a job she does not want to protect her sister and to gain fatherly approval while hoping to get out of trouble with the Alchemist hierarchy.  Besides the fun of crossovers like Adrian, Sydney brings freshness with her personality so different from the extroverted VA protagonists.  Although this reviewer has a problem with teenage females dieting to size zero to obtain approval from family and friends, readers will enjoy Sydney’s Palm Springs adventures.

 

Harriet Klausner

With Fate Conspire-Marie Brennan

July 31, 2011

With Fate Conspire

Marie Brennan

Tor, Aug 30 2011, $27.99

ISBN: 9780765325372

 

For over three centuries, the Onyx Court of the Fae has existed beneath London.  Most humans living above ground are unaware of those residing underneath the city.  However, several decades ago, the Industrial Revolution began a new iron age as pipes, bridges and rails run over and under the city; iron is lethal to the Fae whose species has become endangered with short term extinction a likely outcome as their magical realm rapidly diminishes.  Only the resolute Queen Lune keeps at bay imminent extinction, but she is dying.

 

Meanwhile Eliza O’Malley continues her seven years old fruitless search for her vanished best friend Owen who she insists was kidnapped by the fairy; people believe she is insane.  Like Lune, Eliza refuses to quit as she seeks the dog man, Goblin Market head gangster Nadrett’s slave Dead Rick who betrayed her Owen.  Ironically Dead Rick is perhaps the only one who empathizes with Eliza as he wants the return of his stolen memory that Nadrett, as he has done with humans and fae, took from him.

 

The fourth Onyx Court Victorian fantasy (see Midnight Never Come, in Ashes Lie and A Star Shall Fall) is a terrific tale anchored by one of the best sub-genre backgrounds in recent memory though that also slows down the start of the thriller.  Described with dark Dickensian depth in the human and Fae realms, fans will envision the grim squalor of Goblin Court and mortal London as well as the hopelessness of the Onyx Court as urban development fostered by iron encroaches.  The key cast is solid as readers anticipate a confrontation between the three determined antagonists as the new Iron Age is destroying Onyx Court and the Fae.

 

Harriet Klausner

Blood Ties-Mari Mancusi

July 30, 2011

Blood Ties

Mari Mancusi

Berkley, Aug 2 2011, $9.99

ISBN: 9780425241363

 

All she wanted was a normal life but Sunny McDonald was born to be a slayer; was actually a vampire for six days; and has a vampire Magus leader of the Blood Coven as a boyfriend.  On top of that she is also a fairy princess who is second in line to the throne.  Magnus heads to Japan with the other vampire covens that make up the Consortium to fight the Alphas a fanatical splinter group that once belonged to Slayer, Inc. The group broke off from the alliance that polices vampires.

 

Sunny, a vampire slayer talks Magnus into going to Glastonbury, England with her sister, a vampire and a slayer and her boyfriend Jayden so he can ask the Druid if he can drink a drop of blood from the Holy Grail.  They arrive too late as the Alphas stole the Grail.  Magnus leaves the pair in a safe house while he goes to Japan, but when she hears that her friend ordered Jayden poisoned, they escape and flee to Japan where Sunny plans to take the fight to the Alphas in order to retrieve the Grail and confront Magnus. Meanwhile a supernatural civil war has ignited between vampires and slayers.

 

This exciting teen urban fantasy (see Boys That Bite and Stake That) continues the bloody darker spin somewhat lightened by campy humor that started when the twins were sent to Night School in Switzerland for their safety.  The dilemma Sunny faces is similar in potential consequences as that she confronted in Night School, fast-paced with the focus is mostly on her; she fears whatever she does will lead to the death of someone she cherishes or her own demise.

 

Harriet Klausner

Blood Cursed-Erica Hayes

July 30, 2011

Blood Cursed

Erica Hayes

St. Martin’s, Aug 2 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312624712

 

At the Unseeling Court nightclub in Melbourne, Jasper the dark fae pimps his girlfriend Emmy to the vampires.  The Undead pay exorbitant amounts of money to taste the nectar of bloodfairy juice.  The bloodwhore and her pimp rob the dazed bloodsucker.  However, Emmy is emotionally hurt when she sees Jasper kissing ardently another female fae.

 

Glassfairy Diamond the gangster takes Ember under his wings as she has something he wants.  Ember stole crystals from Kane who demands their return with a catch; whoever does so must enter hell to do so, but not entering hell would prove worse.  Diamond knows Ember is an expendable pawn in a gangland war, but he loves her.  Ember distrusts Diamond especially since she loves him, but if she wants to live he is her only chance.

 

This is an interesting Australian urban romantic fantasy in which the world of Erica Hayes is a dark, gloomy and bloody as the readers tours this alternate Melbourne mob underground.  The story line is fast-paced even with a need to adapt to the butchered “speechified” way Diamond talks.  Fans will enjoy the latest exhilarating Shadowfae Chronicles (see Poison Kissed, Shadowfae and Shadowglass).

 

Harriet Klausner

Blood Cursed-Erica Hayes

July 30, 2011

Blood Cursed

Erica Hayes

St. Martin’s, Aug 2 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312624712

 

At the Unseeling Court nightclub in Melbourne, Jasper the dark fae pimps his girlfriend Emmy to the vampires.  The Undead pay exorbitant amounts of money to taste the nectar of bloodfairy juice.  The bloodwhore and her pimp rob the dazed bloodsucker.  However, Emmy is emotionally hurt when she sees Jasper kissing ardently another female fae.

 

Glassfairy Diamond the gangster takes Ember under his wings as she has something he wants.  Ember stole crystals from Kane who demands their return with a catch; whoever does so must enter hell to do so, but not entering hell would prove worse.  Diamond knows Ember is an expendable pawn in a gangland war, but he loves her.  Ember distrusts Diamond especially since she loves him, but if she wants to live he is her only chance.

 

This is an interesting Australian urban romantic fantasy in which the world of Erica Hayes is a dark, gloomy and bloody as the readers tours this alternate Melbourne mob underground.  The story line is fast-paced even with a need to adapt to the butchered “speechified” way Diamond talks.  Fans will enjoy the latest exhilarating Shadowfae Chronicles (see Poison Kissed, Shadowfae and Shadowglass).

 

Harriet Klausner

Blood Rules-Christine Cody

July 29, 2011

Blood Rules

Christine Cody

Ace, Aug 30 2011, $7.99

ISBN 9780441020768

 

Her werewolf has increasingly tried to take control of Mariah Lysander.  At the same her vampire bond mate Gabriel loathes Mariah for killing his beloved Abby though the latter challenged the former for her place in the secret werewolf community hierarchy.  So fearing she is becoming out of control and knowing how her mate feels about her, Mariah leaves the safe were-species habitat. 

 

Mariah hopes to control the beast.  She travels the American wasteland where water is the most precious commodity.  At the same time she enters a dead zone necropolis of the diseased and meets 562, a former government Shredder Johnson Stamp who stalks the Were and Vamps with one mission: kill them.

 

This exhilarating return to the post-apocalyptic American Bloodlands is a super action-packed entry as readers will ponder just who the monsters are.  Angst-laden with Mariah feeling guilty for some of her deeds and Subject 562 seeking redemption of sorts, fans will enjoy this exciting thriller.  Rotating perspective mostly between Mariah, Gabriel and Stamp, readers will see how the trio agree that Christine Cody’s color of choice is a gory landscape from sea to bloody sea.

 

Harriet Klausner

Home Improvement: Undead Edition-Edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner

July 29, 2011

Home Improvement: Undead Edition

Edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner

Ace, Aug 2 2011, $26.95

ISBN: 9780441020355

 

This fourteen urban fantasy anthology are tongue in cheek tales that humorously lampoons the sub-genre and self help guides.  All the entries are lighthearted fun as the readers leans the true meaning of bump in the night.  The editors book end the collection as Charlaine Harris opens with Sookie greeted by a newcomer when a wall comes down in “If I Had a Hammer”; while Toni L.P. Kelner finishes the book with “In Brightest Day” in which raising the dead Gorrfried proves difficult as he keeps getting dead.  Elyna “Gray ” (Patricia Brigg’s learns you can’t go home to renovate in Chicago.  Broahm calls “Wizard Home Security” (by Victor Gichler) when someone broke into his home.  In New Orleans, Defeo goes home to find pig’s “Blood on the Walls” of the family tombs by Heather Graham.  The European knows he needs to change his GPS now that he is in the American Midwest’s Switzerland Wisconsin learning first hand about “Woolsey’s Kitchen Nightmare” by E. E. Knight.   All the entries are enjoyable humorous Home Improvement tales that Tim Taylor would appreciate the paranormal power tools.

 

Harriet Klausner