Archive for June, 2012

The World Between-Belva Rae Staples

June 30, 2012

The World Between

Belva Rae Staples

Tate Publishing, Mar 27 2012, $22.99

http://www.tatepublishing.com

ISBN: 9781617779633

 

Georgie O’Dell was eight years old when his elderly neighbor Miss MacAlpin began to tell him the tale of evil Alex Edgecomb, a boy with a dark soul.  Instead of paling with his friends, Georgie is hooked on the story and visits next door frequently to hear more. 

 

Young Alex hated everyone including his family but especially his sister.  The wicked Alex tries to overthrow the kingdom of Kriterion.  However, to Georgie’s delight, Alex’s coup d’état fails.  Unremorseful Alex awaits punishment for his murders of other children and additional atrocities.  Georgie soon learns a stunning truth about his hostess; who has asked him to one day write her fable.

 

The first Kriterion Saga (see the sequel: Tide Walker) is a superb morality fantasy as the villain’s amoral actions impact his family, neighbors and the kingdom.  The entertaining metafiction storyline will remind readers of Michael Ende’s Neverending Story; as Georgie learns that if he does not change his attitude and behavior towards others like his brother, he will be the next Alex.  Fans will enjoy journeying with Georgie to The World Between.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury-Edited by Sam Weller and Mort Castle

June 30, 2012

Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury

Edited by Sam Weller and Mort Castle

Morrow, Jul 10 2012, $15.99

ISBN 9780062122681

 

Paying homage to the late Ray Bradbury, twenty-six authors provide strong short entries honoring the recently deceased superstar whose career spanned decades and many of his works turned into many movies.  Mr. Bradbury added a short thank you to his contributing “children” while acknowledging his “true papa” was originally Poe and then Wells and Verne.  Neil Gaiman sets the tone with his whimsical “The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury” as the narrator knows all the stories but not the name of the author.  With a nod to the short story “The Swan”, he met her too late as she is “The Girl In The Funeral Parlor” (by Sam Weller).  “Something Wicked This Way Comes” to BFFs in “Conjure” by Alice Hoffman.  The compilation pays homage to Mr. Bradbury; for instance, Dave Eggers’ “Who Kicks” to “A Sound of Thunder”; Bonnie Jo Campbell’s “The Tattoo” to “The Illustrated Man”; and Bayo Ojikutu’s “Reservation to my personal favorite Bradbury “Fahrenheit 451”.  This is a fitting tribute to one of the great writers.

 

Harriet Klausner

War Maid’s Choice-David Weber

June 30, 2012

War Maid’s Choice

David Weber

Baen, Jul 3 2012, $26.00

ISBN 9781451638356

 

Hradani horse stealer Prince Bahzell Bahnakson met Sothoii leader Baron Tellian Bowmaster on the battlefield when the latter outnumbered him by 30 to 1.  He persuaded his foe to surrender or die; Tellian chose discretion as he knew his opponent was the War God’s Own.  They became friends but the Sothoii are upset with what they perceive as cowardice.  To add insult the gigantic Bahzell takes a Sothoii steed Walsharno and becomes the first Hradani to be recognized as a wind rider (see the Wind Rider’s Oath).

 

Bahzell and Tellian push a public works project to build a canal that connects the Sothoii city Derm with the Hradani city Hurgrum.  The construction symbolizes to too many on both sides a new era of cooperation.  However irate Sothoii deploy assassins targeting Tellian, Bahzell and other leaders of the new alliance made even more insulting by the Baron’s daughter Leanna choosing this Hradani animal; this group choses civil war.  Meanwhile the Dark Gods led by Phrobus try for the fourth time to eliminate Bahzell who is the prime barrier from their taking over Norfressa, but this time they deploy powerful minion but miss the key opponent as they target Bahzell and Tellian; no one would suspect an aristocratic war maid and a one-eyed mare to stand in their way.

 

The latest Bahzell epic fantasy (see Wind Rider’s Oath, Oath of Swords and The War God’s Own) is an engaging tale as David Weber enhances his world though it behooves newcomers to read the backlist entries to understand the social dynamics.  Loaded with action and filled with fun but obvious twists as well as a once taboo romance (fuel for the purists), fans will enjoy the War Maid’s Choice.

 

Harriet Klausner

Fever Moon: The Fear Dorcha-Karen Marie Moning, David Lawrence, Al Rio (illustrator) and Cliff Richards (illustrator

June 30, 2012

Fever Moon: The Fear Dorcha

Karen Marie Moning, David Lawrence, Al Rio (illustrator) and Cliff Richards (illustrator)

Del Rey, Jul 10 2012, $25.00

ISBN: 9780345525482

 

The Lord Master pulled down the Walls enabling the demonic Unseelie Fae to escape their 500,000 years of incarceration in a wasteland.  They swamped Dublin leaving many humans dead and much of the city eradicated; the world has not fared any better.  However, these malevolent Unseelie and their Quisling supporters made one major mistake in Ireland when they raped but failed to kill Mackayla “Mac” Lane, as she has become the most potent adversary the evil Fae face.

 

However though she has matured due to constant combat and has met twisted allies like Jericho Barrons and V’Lane, Mac has not encountered the deadliest Unseelie; a Fae that the Fae fear as the Fear Dorcha who has brutally hunted anyone in his path on several worlds including the genocide of humans, sometimes out in the open.  He has come to Dublin to collect body parts from fifteen victims that will become him as he mutilates those in Mac’s circle with her being his final target.  Mac, with her Spear of Destiny and Barrons, expects her existential existence will expire once this monster comes for her, but she plans to stand her ground against this invincible fighting machine.

 

This is a terrific graphic comic that apparently occurs just before Shadowfever.  The adaptation by David Lawrence engages fans from the moment the vilest villain in the series to date arrives (hat in hand) in Temple Bar to collect body parts and never slows down as he closes in on Mac.  The colorful illustrations by the late Al Rio and Cliff Richards enhance the “Fecking-A” superb storyline.

 

Harriet Klausner

An Officer’s Duty-Jean Johnson

June 29, 2012

An Officer’s Duty

Jean Johnson

Ace, Jul 31 2012. $7.99

ISBN: 9781937007690

 

Powerful Space Force Navy psychic Ia can slip in and out of the time streams and see centuries into the future.  Knowing that three hundred years from now, a near invincible enemy enters the galaxy destroying everything in their hunt for energy, Ia finds only one time line in which the destruction of the Milky Way does not occur.  Thus she enlisted in the military when she turned eighteen as the first step towards insuring the one positive outcome happens (see A Soldier’s Duty).

 

Ia returns to her home heavyworld Sanctuary in order to insure the safety of her family and makes sure her brother wins the lottery at a time when religious disputes begin to turn hostile. The money will be used to for Sanctuary to survive one of the wars in which her home world plays a pivotal role. Ia plays a role in a series of armed conflicts with her goal to save billions of lives if every step in the time stream happens.  Ia is a part of the Blockade Patrol keeping the amphibian race the Saliks blocked up in their sector.  However, she knows they plan to break through the blockade; she must prevent this from happening because if they succeed her efforts to follow that one time stream ends in the earliest stage.

 

Known for her romantic fantasies (see the Sons of Destiny), Jean Johnson continues to display the width of her talent with her second exciting Theirs Not to Reason Why military science fiction thriller.  Fans of Honor Harrington will appreciate heroic Ia who gives up the life she wants and the man she loves to prevent a futuristic galactic wide catastrophe, which, if unimpeded, would occur after she is dead.   Fast-paced with terrific battle scenes and deep characterizations, Ia brings a sense of urgency to this deep tale.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Unraveling of Wentwater-C.S. Lakin

June 29, 2012

The Unraveling of Wentwater

C.S. Lakin

Living Ink Books, Jul 16 2012, $14.99

http://www.amgpublishers.com

ISBN: 9780899578927

 

In Wentwater, village matriarch Arlynna begins the naming ceremony of the baby just born to Iris when Ursell the banished marsh witch arrives.  Ursell proclaims that the unnamed infant will unravel Wentwater one thread at a time until by the time she is eighteen the village will be no more.  Before leaving Ursell tells them to exile the mother and put the babe to death.  The superstitious frightened villagers make the parents leave and with the babe inside set the cottage on fire.

 

All who were witness remain haunted by the incident.  Now seventeen years later, Teralyn from the science-based Heights arrives at Wentwater with her lap harp to play at a festival.  She meets Iris’ two sons Justyn who left for the Heights and Fromer who stayed in the village.  She and Fromer fall in love, but an angry jealous Justyn make a deal with Ursell that leads to The Unraveling of Wentwater vanishing one word at a time; only Teralyn is capable of stitching it back one word at a time over seven years, but that final word is jarred from her reach.

 

The fourth Gates of Heaven fantasy (see The Land of Darkness and Map Across Time) is a terrific allegorical drama based on the premise that one needs to “Be careful with your words – they have consequences!”  With a reverse Sleeping Beauty theme and biblical references on wisdom, passion and faith, fans will appreciate this timely tale of two siblings and the harpist, as sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can harm you too.

 

Harriet Klausner

21st Century Dead: A Zombie Anthology-Christopher Golden

June 29, 2012

21st Century Dead: A Zombie Anthology

Christopher Golden

St. Martin’s Griffin, Jul 17 2012, $15.99

ISBN: 9780312605841

 

This nineteen story anthology follows up on The New Dead with a solid collection based on the premise that death and resurrection is an everyday Z day occurrence.  All the entries are well written with no clinkers, but only a few provide freshness (only so many ways you can walk the dead).  The best tale is “How We Escaped Our Certain Fate” as Dan Chaon explores the zombie grief cycle starting with the perquisite of love.  Exciting “Parasite” occurs in the Robopocalypse world of Daniel H. Wilson.  Home, hearth and zombies are a major theme of several contributions like Chelsea Cain’s “Why Mothers Let Their Children Watch Television”, “All the Comforts of Home: A Beacon Story” by John Skipp and Cody Goodfellow, “Couch Potato” by Brian Keene and Mark Morris’s “Biters.”  21st Century Dead is an entertaining Zombie Anthology.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires-Molly Harper

June 29, 2012

The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires

Molly Harper

Pocket, Jul 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451641837

 

In Half-Moon Hollow, Iris Scanlon runs Beeline a vampire day-time concierge business.  Her clients ask her to take care of just about anything, which she does for a nice fee.  Because of her variety of gopher tasks, Iris is an expert on vampirism, something she considers TMI especially for a church goer (at least on the Big days) like her.

 

She brings welcoming flowers and the contract to her newest client Mr. C Calix.  Only he lies on the floor looking pale.  He drank poisoned donated O blood.  She refuses to give him her blood but provides him two tampered proof sealed bottles.  Cal pleads with the daywalker to find him a hiding place while he works on who wants him dead-dead; Iris does for a fee.  To her chagrin she is attracted to her acrimonious customer as Iris refuse to break her no fraternization rule. 

 

Though the locale is the same as the Jane Jameson urban fantasy saga (see Nice Girls Don’t Bite their Neighbors), The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires is a new offshoot series.  This amusing romantic frolic stars a business minded human and an irritable vampire; who prove that only love can resolve the paradox of an irresistible force meeting an unmovable object.

 

Harriet Klausner

Romeo Spikes-Joanne Reay

June 27, 2012

Romeo Spikes

Joanne Reay

Gallery, Aug 14 2012, $25.00

ISBN: 9781451674446

 

Once a leading neurophysicist, who researched molecular telomeres that control longevity, Dr. Agnus Day lost his mind when his daughter died.  He vanished only to reappear in a coma at a horrible murder scene.  Now he resides at Morphic Fields Penitentiary where he suffers from Geschwind syndrome, which leaves him out of control of his mind and body as he obsessively is compelled to write down the “violent, inhuman visions” that haunt him.  He is unaware what he sees ties back to the Tormenta demons whose sustenance is devouring the predetermined life not used when a mortal commits suicide, which these beasts “encourage” in their human form. 

 

Homicide Detective Alexis Bianco soon learns about the Tormenta and their adversarial human protectors the Chiro Scuro when she meets Lola who effortlessly places her in a chokehold to get her attention.  At the same time these demons are extremely active in anticipation of the arrival of the dark messiah Mosca; while knowing that the arrival of their champion means the Sinistra angels’ Moera will follow.  All will converge on Morphic Fields Penitentiary where a mad researcher sits on death row while his avaricious shrink sees fame and fortune.

 

This is an extremely complex opening act of the powerful paranormal thriller that grips readers from start to finish.  In some ways the various organizations competing for top gun can prove confusing as there seems to be a Cecil B. De Mille size cast.  Though a glossary or “family tree” would have helped, fans will appreciate this superb supernatural that brilliantly brings angels and demons into the contemporary world in which the good go insane, the bad are mortal protectors and the ugly are demons and often angels. 

 

Harriet Klausner

Secret of the Wolf-Cynthia Garner

June 21, 2012

Secret of the Wolf

Cynthia Garner

Forever, Jun 26 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780446585125

 

Temporary rifts between the human realm and that of the paranormal periodically occur.  This enables alien entities to enter human hosts who become various supernatural creatures.  These paranormals have gained legal rights though the native earthlings resent these “parasites” leaving hostilities high.

 

The Council of Preternaturals serves as the governing board over the supernatural in order to keep the peace between their several species and with the humans.  However, recently vicious assaults on humans have led to several mortal becoming werewolves.  Human Police Detective Dante Macmillan and werewolf liaison to the Council Tori Joseph investigate.  As they find clues, she fears she knows the identity of the rogue werewolf as someone very close to her heart; complicating her trepidations the cop also has become very close to her heart.

 

The second Warriors of the Rift romantic urban fantasy (see Kiss of the Vampire) is a fast-paced police procedural.  Tori is a terrific individual torn between the two most important people in her life.  Dante reciprocates her feelings without the anguish.  Readers will appreciate the fascinating Garner mythos

 

Harriet Klausner