Archive for July, 2011

One Salt Sea-Seanan McGuire

July 29, 2011

One Salt Sea

Seanan McGuire

Daw, Sep 6 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780756406837

 

An unknown adversary kidnapped the three sons of the Duchess of Saltmist Diandra.  The ruler of the undersea duchy believes the Queen of the Mists abducted her children.  Toby saves the life of the Diandra’s spouse Patrick from an assassin.  Still the Duchess gives the Countess of Goldengreen October “Toby” Daye and the latter’s boyfriend Connor O’Dell three days to safely bring home her children and prove that the Queen did not take the lads by finding out who did or war at land and at sea will follow.

 

Toby, her newest squire Quentin, Connor, the Luidaeg and Tybalt investigate the abduction on the streets of San Francisco.  However, the clues lead to the Pacific.  Someone insanely ignores Oberon’s Laws and ergo wants to prevent Toby and her team from succeeding in rescuing the abducted sons; that adversary uses any deadly means necessary.

 

The latest Toby Daye urban fantasy (see Late Eclipses) is an excellent entry that focuses on the convoluted untrustworthy agreements between the paranormal leaders.  With a stunning late twist, the story line is a fast-paced exciting thriller.  Fans of the series will relish Toby’s latest escapades as the clues lead increasingly to a paranormal psychopath.

 

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The Unincorporated Woman-Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin

July 29, 2011

The Unincorporated Woman

Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin

Tor, Aug 16 2011, $25.99

ISBN: 9780765319043

 

Awakening from a cryogenically preserved facility Justin Cord (see The Unincorporated Man) led the rebellion against the incorporated dictatorship.  He became President of the Outer Alliance bringing hope to many unincorporated like he was labeled.  Everything changed when he was assassinated.  General Janet Delgado “J.D.” Black replaced Cord as the leader, but she knows she belongs on the battlefield leading the Outer Alliance in The Unincorporated War against the United Human Federation.

 

Desperate to keep the fervor alive, the Alliance locates a cryo container holding Sandra O’Toole, who like Cord lived during the time of freedom.  The Alliance revives her as an Unincorporated Woman though they do not expect her to be anywhere near Cord in terms of quality leadership.  Instead she is to be the symbol of freedom as a puppet.  However, she proves to be much more than anyone anticipated.

 

The third visit to the Kollin universe contains another fresh fantastic futuristic science fiction thriller.  The story line is fast-paced even during the passive moments with soliloquies provide insight into the minds and motives of the key players.  Fans of the saga will relish the latest twisting leap into the Kollin squared realm while newcomers should read the first two books (see The  Unincorporated Man and The Unincorporated War) to understand how the OA and the UHF got to this point.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Vampire Next Door-Ashlyn Chase

July 27, 2011

The Vampire Next Door

Ashlyn Chase

Sourcebooks, Aug 1 2011, $6.99

ISBN: 9781402236631

 

Sly Flores the vampire misses his wife who died over two decades ago.  Now a caring loner except for his daughter Merry, he patrols his neighborhood keeping it safe from crime.  One night Sly intervenes when a mugger attacks a young woman.  He takes a bite into the felon only to chip a fang on the dude’s sterling silver knockoff bling, which is poison to his kind.

 

He quickly races to the apartment of his friend Morgaine the psychic healer so that she can cure him of his illness.  Morgaine loves Sly; she makes the elixir he needs.  Meanwhile apartment 1b dubbed the “love shack” below that of Morgaine becomes vacant; so Merry plans to move her lonely dad in so that he and Morgaine can become an entry.  At the same time that his offspring pulls his string, others plan to keep Sly and Morgaine apart.

 

To the delight of fans, Ashlyn Chase provides a wonderful romantic urban fantasy in which readers will believe that a vampire, a wiccan and other paranormal live next door.  Sly is attracted to Morgaine but fails to act on it though she encourages the love of her life to do so; as do his daughter and other caring souls.  The suspense enhances the romance between the vampire and the wiccan in the Chase universe. 

 

Harriet Klausner

The Lady of the Storm-Kathryne Kennedy

July 27, 2011

The Lady of the Storm

Kathryne Kennedy

Sourcebooks, Aug 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9781402236532

 

The humans rebel against the malevolent Elven lords who control much of England.  The hope of the rebels lies with hybrid Cecily Sutton, daughter of Imperial Lord Breden Elven Lord of Dewhame and a human female.  At nines years of age she was placed in hiding with fifteen year Giles Beaumont assigned to keep Cecily safe.

 

By 1734, the Elven learns who she is, where she hides in Devon, and what she means to the resistance. She is a threat to the Elven who must die.  Cecily knows she loves her guardian who is a dunderhead when it comes to his feelings for her though any time he has sex with a woman he dreams of her.  As they head to the center of the storm, she must learn to control her magic to use as the critical weapon against the oppressors.

 

The latest Kathryne Kennedy Georgian romantic fantasy (see The Fire Lord’s Lover) is a fabulous tale that deftly provides an alternative historical England in which Elven Lords brutally rule.  The story line is leisurely paced as the relationship between the lead couple evolves while they flee from a persistent lethal adversary.  Sub-genre readers will enjoy a trek into the Kennedy realm.

 

Harriet Klausner

Aftermath-Ann Aguirre

July 27, 2011

Aftermath

Ann Aguirre

Ace, Aug 30 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780441020782

 

Sirantha Jax saved the galaxy from total annihilation from the invading flesh-eating Morgut armada.  To do so, she disobeyed orders and destroyed the grimspace beacons that enabled interstellar jumps and six hundred Conglomerate soldiers died (see Killbox).

 

Jax manages to return from grimspace, but is arrested for dereliction of duty, desertion, mass murder and high treason.  If convicted on any of these charges she will be executed.  Adding to her sense of isolation, her friends and allies are not allowed to visit her.  She knows she has no chance of acquittal as almost no one believes the Morgut threat now that it is over.  However, Jax knows if she survives her trial, she must find a way to liberate the Lorcas as pledged by her.

 

This is a great science fiction tale in a strong series as the heroine disobeyed a direct command in Killbox and must pay the price for her actions.  The overarching theme moves forward as several subplots end while Sirantha Jax knows saving her galaxy is not enough to keep her from being haunted by her decision to kill six hundred of her comrades in arms or being potentially spaced if the jury verdict is guilty.  The trial is handled deftly providing a refreshing legal procedural subplot to a powerful outer space thriller as anyone who visits the Ann Aguirre universe knows is an entertaining exciting realm.

 

Harriet Klausner

Those Across The River-Christopher Buehlman

July 26, 2011

Those Across The River

Christopher Buehlman

Ace, Sep 6 2011, $24.95

ISBN: 9780441020676

 

Former University of Michigan professor Frank Nichols accompanied by his almost wife Eudora travels from Chicago to Whitbrow, Georgia where he inherited a yellow house from an Aunt Dottie McComb whom he never knew existed.  Dora dubs the place The Canary House.  Frank plans to write the definitive historical about his family’s Savoyard Plantation to include the atrocities that occurred there while Dora dislikes the idea of bringing literarily life to his late malevolent great grandfather.

 

Frank and Dora find they enjoy the quiet friendliness of the townsfolk.  Then the trouble begins as it has in past generations.  Something evil is killing people.  Frank and other locals vow to find out who or what and end the reign of terror that has waited dormant at Savoyard Plantation for Frank to arrive to pay a family blood debt.

 

This is an exciting horror thriller that starts slow and meanders a bit as the local area is established.  Once the rural Georgia background, which will remind readers of James Dickey’s Deliverance even with tea socials, is set, the action-packed story line accelerates as the evil comes to collect.  Frank holds the plot together as the prime focus of the dreaded malevolence.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

Down the Mysterly River-Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham (illustrator)

July 26, 2011

Down the Mysterly River

Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham (illustrator)

Starscape (Tor). Sep 13 2011, $15.99

ISBN: 9780765327925

 

Boy Scout Max “the Wolf” excels at being prepared for anything.  So he is confused with finding himself waking on a road in a forest when he cannot recall how he arrived at his present location or where the path leads to.  His journey goes from odd to bizarre when he encounters Banderbrock the badger who can communicate with him and is as bewildered as Max is for the same reasons.  They are joined by the equally perplexed McTavish the cat and Walden the bear.

 

As the foursome leisurely walk, talk, and argue the Blue Cutters stalk the quartet.  These hunters change the essence of beings to make them conform to their notion of literally a narrow society.  Only the wizard can keep them from being altered, but Max fears this mage who is the keeper of the sacred script in which he may swiftly delete the Boy Scout from solving mysteries.

 

Down the Mysterly River is an entertaining metafiction fantasy that targets middle school students, but adult fans of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday’s Next saga will enjoy it too.  The illustrations by Mark Buckingham enhance the entertaining story line as Bill Willingham provides an engaging complex thriller.

 

Harriet Klausner

Down the Mysterly River

Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham (illustrator)

Starscape (Tor). Sep 13 2011, $15.99

ISBN: 9780765327925

 

Boy Scout Max “the Wolf” excels at being prepared for anything.  So he is confused with finding himself waking on a road in a forest when he cannot recall how he arrived at his present location or where the path leads to.  His journey goes from odd to bizarre when he encounters Banderbrock the badger who can communicate with him and is as bewildered as Max is for the same reasons.  They are joined by the equally perplexed McTavish the cat and Walden the bear.

 

As the foursome leisurely walk, talk, and argue the Blue Cutters stalk the quartet.  These hunters change the essence of beings to make them conform to their notion of literally a narrow society.  Only the wizard can keep them from being altered, but Max fears this mage who is the keeper of the sacred script in which he may swiftly delete the Boy Scout from solving mysteries.

 

Down the Mysterly River is an entertaining metafiction fantasy that targets middle school students, but adult fans of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday’s Next saga will enjoy it too.  The illustrations by Mark Buckingham enhance the entertaining story line as Bill Willingham provides an engaging complex thriller.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

 

Circle of Enemies-Harry Connolly

July 26, 2011

Circle of Enemies

Harry Connolly

Del Rey, Aug 30 2011, $7.99

ISBN 9780345508911

 

The Twenty Palace Society of sorcerers kept car thief and amateur magician Ray Lilly from prison time.  In return he provides the mages with non-magical support mostly manual labor. 

 

Ray receives an enigmatic message from a friend that sends him rushing to Los Angeles.  Magic has hammered his former car ring associates.  They hold him culpable because the sorcerer who cast the deadly enchantment is Wally King who blackmailed him into becoming the pawn of the Twenty Palace Society.  Ray searches for the magical source in order to save his friends’ lives while increasingly doubting the motives of his puppeteers who claim they save the world from other dimensional monsters while he has killed innocent people for them.

 

The final Twenty Palaces urban fantasy thriller (see Child of Fire and Game of Cages) is a great morality tale as the protagonist struggles between duty and honor with the weight of the dead innocents he has killed making the tale.  Remorseful Ray understands the mission of the Society is to protect the world from magical predators, but wonders who will protect the world from the Society as collateral damage is an acceptable practice.  Fast-paced and loaded with action, Ray’s timely and angst ethical dilemma (think of drones in the war against terrorism) makes for a great tale.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Postmortal-Drew Magary

July 25, 2011

The Postmortal

Drew Magary

Penguin, Aug 30 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9780143119821

 

The postmortals voluntarily have taken the Fountain of Youth Cure gene therapy that allows the recipient to remain eternally young.  Though aging has been defeated that does not mean the individual cannot die as accidents, homicides, suicide and illness can still kill a person.  

 

John Farrell who is about to take the Cure soon learns that perpetual life causes a new set of problems as the population explodes since few people are exiting.  Resources have failed to keep up since the Cure was found six decades ago and ennui remains a problem for those with nothing to pass the years with like John the blogger.  Thus Now in 2090 John explains life has issues that are not that different from those who lived in the pre Cure era.

 

This is superb clever futuristic science fiction that makes the case of eternity does not necessarily denote happiness.  The story line focuses on the definitive account by John the blogger that is accepted as an accurate and valid look at the first decades after the Cure because it is written down.  The story line is passive, which enhances the belief that eternity is another word for enervating ennui, but also lacks passion and action.  With insight on individual and global consequences, fans who enjoy a leisurely something different science fiction tale will want to read The Postmortal.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

Unwelcome- Michael Griffo

July 25, 2011

Unwelcome

Michael Griffo

Kensington, Sep 1 2011, $9.95

ISBN: 9780758253392

 

In the English town of Eden, Archangel Academy resides on consecrated land.  The vampires known as Them are able to walk around the campus in sunlight.  However there is another subspecies of vampire connected to the sacred Well, who in their other form has webbed feet and hands as descendants of Atlantis.

 

The water vampires can walk outside in daylight and only eat once a month.  The new Headmaster David Zachery is one of Them and vampire American Michael Howard and his lover Ronan are water vampires.  Ronan knows who and what David is because of his relationship to their family.  David and his kind want to destroy the Well and kill the water vamps.  The headmaster has a plan to ethnically cleanse the world of the enemy.  He uses his children as foot soldiers to carry out his scheme.  Michael and Ronan lead the opposition along with their allies so who will prove victorious remains to be seen.

 

The second Archangel Academy (see Unnatural) teen urban fantasy is a terrific tale with a beautiful star-crossed romantic subplot that accentuates the two combative subspecies.  The expatriate Cornhusker has come a long way from Nebraska in a short time but his journey even with Ronan to guide him remains difficult as he must be Unafraid of his full essence for his deep psychological need to feel accepted and belong to happen.  The key to the exciting story line is that readers will accept the existence of vampires as a natural species with issues and disputes as Michael Griffo provides an enthralling and totally entertaining entry that teenage readers and adults will appreciate and put on their keeper shelf.

 

Harriet Klausner