Archive for April, 2013

Shadow’s Soul-Jami Gray

April 30, 2013

Shadow’s Soul
Jami Gray
Black Opal Books, Jun 22 2012, $11.99
http://www.blackopalbooks.com
ISBN: 9781937329495

Portland-based Taliesin Security Wraith, Kyn-human hybrid Raine McCord knows she will successfully complete her latest assignment, protecting Northwest Magi leader Cheveyo while he meets with his Southwest counterpart; as the bodyguard assignment is easy compared to the evil she defeated (see Shadow’s Edge). Instead, the task turns ugly when a Soul Stealer abducts Cheveyo and almost kills Raine.

Severely injured with her magic damaged, Raine’s confidence was destroyed when she failed to prevent the kidnapping. Her Taliesin Security Wraith co-worker Gavin Durand tries to help her recover by refusing to allow her to run from her internal fears to including their feelings for each other though she feels guilty for what happened to him at the hands of the mad scientist (see Shadow’s Edge). He insists they investigate the kidnapping in order to rescue the regional chief as someone inside with power abetted the Soul Stealer.

The second Kyn Kronicles urban fantasy is an exciting tale with the relationship between the protagonists heating up during their quest. The entertaining storyline is filled with angst, romance and action within vivid Northwest scenery as various paranormal species come across as real. Readers will enjoy this entry in which the Soul Stealer stole the heroine’s confidence while her peer tries to help her bring it back; though one must wonder whether she proves W. C. Fields is right: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.”

Harriet Klausner

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Blood of Dragons-Robin Hobb

April 27, 2013

Blood of Dragons
Robin Hobb
Harper Voyager, Apr 9 2013, $27.99
ISBN 9780062116857

The Elderlings human-dragon hybrids reestablish the lost city of Kelsingra so that the young dragons they have pledged to protect can thrive. However, most of the fledglings cannot fly across the river to their new sanctuary, which leaves them exposed. The dying Duke of Chalced needs dragons to live; thus he has hunters stalking the beasts so that he can extract their life sustaining attributes.

Meanwhile the ancient dragon queen Tintaglia also struggles for her life after a vicious attack by Chalced mercenaries seeking blood for their duke. Her followers scream for war against the humans who committed this audacious atrocity. At the same time the Elderlings search for Silver so that the dragons do not lose their memories of their true form especially within a city filled with species’ memories.

The latest Rain Wilds Chronicles epic fantasy involves a vast rotating cast so that the engaging storyline always seems slightly off kilter yet works for those who read the previous entries (see Dragon Keeper, Dragon Haven and City of Dragons) as the depth makes the world of Hobb seem genuine. Fans will enjoy the confrontation between the good (Thymara), the bad (Chalced) and the ugly (Hest).

Harriet Klausner

Prophet of Bones-Ted Kosmatka

April 24, 2013

Prophet of Bones
Ted Kosmatka
Henry Holt, Apr 2 2013, $27.00
ISBN: 9780805096170

In 1954 at the University of Chicago, scientist Willard F. Libby invented Carbon-14 dating. Six years later he won the Nobel Prize for debunking Darwin and the evolutionists when he proved the Earth is 5,800 years old. At the same time public school student Paul Carlsson, abused as is his Chinese mother by his violent but brilliant father, enjoys studying mice.

Years later, the Axiom Corporation sends ancient DNA expert Carlsson to join an archeological dig in Indonesia. He and others find bones that shatter their beliefs as the tests prove them to be older than the Libby accepted theory of the earth. Axiom Corporation CEO Martial Johansson wants the discovery to remain buried so sends goons to kill those at the excavation site. Paul escapes initially but when caught he learns the secret of the bones and much more.

Prophet of Bones is an exhilarating action-packed thriller that grips the audience even before the protagonist heads to Indonesia. The storyline is fast-paced and switches from the fascinating DNA science fiction mystery to a more standard albeit thrilling horror tale especially on Flores with a stunning late twist. Though readers will question Johansson’s decisions, we also will relish joining Paul as he makes one incredible discovery after another while trying to stay alive to tell the world what he found.

Harriet Klausner

Without A Summer-Mary Robinette Kowal

April 24, 2013

Without A Summer
Mary Robinette Kowal
Tor, Apr 2 2013, $24.99
ISBN: 9780765334152

In 1816 England is suffering from an extremely cold summer due to volcanic activity. Glamour artists Jane and David Vincent recover from their horrible working honeymoon and her miscarriage in Blinche, Belgium (see Glamour in the Glass) at her family home. When the couple decides to accept am Irish Catholic couple as clients, they leave Long Parkmeade to return to their London house with Jane’s depressed sister Melody joining them as she has no suitors while rusticating.

At a time when the freezing weather is blamed on the magic using Coldmongers and the raging Luddites attack machinery, Jane and David fear that Alastair O’Brien, son of their current clients, is involved in sedition. Making the situation worse is that Alastair is courting Melody and David’s abusive father comes a calling.

The third Glamourist Histories fantasy (see Shades of Milk and Honey) is an engaging thriller that deftly uses real events like the 1816 weather, the Luddites and the English-Irish dispute; and people like Jane Vincent nee Austen within a London teeming with the magic of glamour. Filled with action after a leisurely start and still seeking a mate for Melody, fans will enjoy this entry as Mary Robinette Kowal paints a fabulous alternate Regency England.

Harriet Klausner

Beauty’s Beast-Jenna Kernan

April 20, 2013

Beauty’s Beast
Jenna Kernan
Harlequin Nocturne, Apr 2 2013, $5.75
ISBN: 9780373885688

Empathic seer Samantha Proud knows the price she pays to save the soul of a child from the demon possessing the youngster, but the bear shifter does anyway. When she displayed her power, Samantha placed her family in harm from the Ruler of Ghosts Nagi; who has stalked her and her kin forcing them into hiding after her Good Samaritan deed exposed them. The Thunderbirds rescue the Prouds but scatter them to different places to make it difficult for Nagi to complete his species cleansing.

Samantha is dropped off near Alon Garza the ghost child trying to prevent his evil father Nagi from murdering any perceived threats like the shifter and ghost children that might impede his plan for world domination. Samantha suggests the two beleaguered groups team up in the fight to end Nagi’s quest to rule the world.

The latest Trackers paranormal romance (see Ghost Stalker and Dream Stalkers) is a super thriller that continues the strong saga based on Native American mythology. Though similar in premise to Soul Whisperer, as the likable lead heroes are natural enemies who need each other against a more powerful mutual adversary leading to strange bedfellows falling in taboo love. Well written, readers will be fully engaged by Jenna Kernan’s fabulous tale.

Harriet Klausner

The Wolf Prince-Karen Whiddon

April 20, 2013

The Wolf Prince
Karen Whiddon
Harlequin Nocturne, Apr 2 2013, $5.75
ISBN: 9780373885671

Heir to the throne of Teslinko, shapeshifter Prince Ruben fears his inner wolf is taking control of his body and mind at a time when his parents King Leo and Queen Ionna demand he marry. Ruben knows who the only female he covets is unacceptable as his future queen.

At the Seelie court, someone murders a servant. Ruben persuades Princess Willow to escort him into the palace so he can investigate and find the killer. He quickly realizes his hostess is unwanted by her fae brethren because her dark pigment means she is the offspring of an undesirable Unseelie. As they fall in love while working the homicide, the pair also looks into the royal reject’s heritage.

The latest Pack romantic fantasy (see Wolf Whisperer and The Wolf Princess) is an enjoyable investigative thriller starring two troubled souls finding solace in their love for one another. The thrilling storyline is fast-paced though a deeper look at the impact of scornful Sidhe discriminating against a royal due to the color of her skin would have added profundity to the mix of two lost individuals falling in love during a murder investigation.

Harriet Klausner

Zombies Don’t Forgive-Rusty Fischer

April 19, 2013

Zombies Don’t Forgive
Rusty Fischer
Medallion Press, Apr 1 2013
ISBN: 9781605426365

After the insane Zerker zombies attack left most residents of Barracuda Bay dead (see Zombies Don’t Cry), three sane zombies (Maddy, Dane, and Stamp) flee town. Their plan is to hide in plain sight from the Sentinel enforcers who demand they face justice. Three months since they went underground, the fugitives mix in amidst the Normals of Orlando; obtaining positions at the Great Movie Monster Makeover show.

Stamp relishes this new environment as he seems to have a different girl each week while Maddy and Dane prefer to stay safe. When Stamp meets enigmatic Val who insists on no pictures, Maddy and Dane become concerned that his girlfriend may be an undercover Sentinel.

The latest amusing Living Dead Love Story continues the zombie misadventures of kill first and ask questions later. Maddy and her two cohorts star in this tale once again primarily targeting the teen crowd, but other zombie-maniacs will enjoy the thriller too. The fab four seem fully developed as Val is devilishly delightful and Stamp an impish trouble magnet; while Maddy and Dane turn to one another. Fans will not forgive Rusty Fischer if he does not provide us with more zombie fever.

Harriet Klausner

Reaper’s Legacy-Tim Lebbon

April 17, 2013

Reaper’s Legacy
Tim Lebbon
PYR, Apr 9 2013, $17.95
ISBN 9781616147679

Several years have passed since the 2017 Doomsday terrorist attack left London an isolated Toxic City (see London Eye) surrounded by Chopper troops trying to keep survivors inside and other people outside as the rest of Britain believes no one lives within this wasteland. Unbeknownst to the outside world, government experiments on surviving Londoners have been conducted leading to humans morphing into beings with supernatural powers.

Lucy-Anne continues to have strange futuristic dreams. She and Rook head north in search of any of her family especially her brother who might have survived Doomsday and the aftermath. Her boyfriend Jack knows they are changing having been healed by Rosemary after true-believer Jenna stabbed him and was subsequently touched by Nomad. As his Irregulars teammates begin to die; he, his best friend Sparky and Jenna search for Jack’s father, Reaper and Lucy-Anne. At the same time researcher Miller knows of Nomad’s touch and wants to dissect Jack while the government no longer deploys the containment policy; instead the final solution countdown has begun.

Rotating between the two strong prime subplots, Reaper’s Legacy continues to build on the enigmatic conspiratorial events of London Eye. Loaded with action that moves forward the exciting storyline, this thriller also sets the stage for Contagion. Fans will appreciate this dark dystopian urban fantasy (with sci fi elements) as Tim Lebbon turns London into a Toxic City wasteland.

Harriet Klausner

Extinction Machine-Jonathan Maberry

April 11, 2013

Extinction Machine
Jonathan Maberry
St. Martin’s Griffin, Mar 26 2013, $$15.00
ISBN: 9780312552213

Department of Military Sciences Echo Team enters Shelton Aeronautics in Wolf Trap, Virginia only to find sixty dead and the only alive people are two FBI agents supposed to be in Alaska; the pair escapes after kicking the butt of the DMS unit using shocking techno gizmos. At the New Technologies Development Site #18 in Tangstan, People’s Republic of China, General Lo and his team dig through the ruins of an experiment that went bad seeking remnants of the Dragon Engine. Not long afterward, POTUS is taken from within the White House; Vice President Collins becomes acting president and begins the shutdown of DMS as other key leaders vanish and UFO sightings around the globe ate at their highest reporting ever.

Declared officially traitors, DMS operative Joe Ledger and his Echo Team investigate the strange happenings that continue to plague the world. While the Feds hunt Echo Team with instructions to assassinate the unit searches for the Majestic Black Book that may not exist. Black market sales of alien technology have flourished especially amongst the shadow government killers but someone begins to take back what was once theirs.

The latest Joe Ledger conspiracy theory tale (see Assassin’s Code and The King of Plagues) is the usual exhilarating over the top thriller that this time has Joe and his misfits dodging advanced technologically equipped legal killers while hunting down those involved in the UFO retrofitting; no one is prepared for a stealth other operative devastating the playing fields as the North Koreans learn firsthand. The Alien arms race economics is super satirical as Echo Team faces a threat greater than zombies and hostile ETs with the U.S. Government stalking them using advanced hybrid weaponry.

Harriet Klausner

Protector-C.J. Cherryh

April 11, 2013

Protector
C.J. Cherryh
Daw, April 2 2013, $24.95
ISBN: 9780756407988

The heir to the Atevi leader of the Western Association Tabiniaiji, eight years old Cajerji celebrates his birthday with his people and select human friends he made. Meanwhile the Assassins’ Guild, responsible for security, is divided with many opposed to Tabini’s rule, preferring traditionalists like Ilisidi and others.

Not knowing who to trust, Tabini asks his friend human diplomat Bren Cameron to work with his aiji-dowager grandmother Ilisidi to protect his child and other guests. Tabini and Bren believe the enemies of the Atevi leader will use the gala to make a deadly statement with both of them, the heir and specific guests as the targets.

The latest Foreigner Universe thriller (see Intruder, Betrayer and Deceiver) is an entertaining tale with somewhat limited action, as once again C.J. Cherryh deeply develops political and ethnic themes with young Cajerji as the focus of opposing forces with diverse motives. Few besides his father and Ben care about his well-being as most see the lad as a pawn to further personal agendas. Fans will enjoy Cajerji’s happy birthday bash with unwanted fireworks part of the gala.

Harriet Klausner