Sir Dalton and the Shadow Heart
Multnomah, May 19 2009, $8.99
In the Kingdom across the sea, Lucius and one third of the warriors loyal to him rebelled and were tossed out of their homes. These beings are Shadow Warriors, who tempt mortals away from the Prince and King. Lucius and his minion travel to Arrethtree to gain loyal followers while the Knights of Arrethtree counter by spreading the Word of the King and Prince.
Sir Dalton is a knight of Arrethtree in training, but lacks the heart and passion of his peers. When the Shadow Warrior Sir Prox captures Sir Dalton, he locks him away in a prison no one escapes from. He plans to break Sir Dalton into disavowing the Word, the Prince and the King andwhen he succeeds he will have another loyal member added to his shadowy minion. Sir Dalton does the impossible as he breaks out. He meets Master Sejus who explains to him about the Code, the King and the Prince until the young knight in training feels the passion in his heart and becomes one of their most loyal supporters. He knows he must challenge Sir Prox in order to liberate the prisoners as he now believes hecan win with the Prince in his soul.
This allegory of good vs. evil is a strong tale that young adult readers and many of us older in the audience will appreciate and understand the symbolic religious significance. Sir Dalton is a doubting Thomas until his escape from the demonic shadow warrior and encounter with a true believer. He finally accepts on faith the Word and is willing to test his belief in battle. Though somewhat similar in tone to the sagas of Sir Bentley and Sir Holbrook, fans will enjoy this engaging parable.
Eos, Apr 28 2009, $7.99
Fire master NIGHTWALKER Mira has always understood her role as a secret weapon deployed by the ruling Triad to keep the evil Naturi from returning, but now also she knows who she is after centuries of wondering why she is so different from her vampire peers. Mira has made a shaky truce with the vampire hunter Danaus, a human although both know they are natural enemies who probably will one day fight to the death.
The ruling Nightwalker coven orders Mira to come to Venice for a special assignment. She is wary, trusting no one, not even her former mentor. Mira, Danaus who is now part of the Triad, and other members prevent Naturi Rowe from opening the locked portal that prevents his species from crossing over. However, Mira knows it is not over and that some of the Nightwalkers are betraying their kind and the humans; with only the vampire slayer Danaus apparently on her side though she doubts she can depend on him to help her.
This excellent fast-paced urban fantasy is owned by Mira, Danaus, and Venice. The city makes a great location for a dark gritty world in which the protagonist trusts no one; not even the mentor the heroine has cherished. Mira is terrific as she still struggles with self-revelations that she learned of in the first Dark Days novel, and now betrayal of those who she should be able to depend on and a survival alliance with a natural enemy the human vampire hunter. The changing of the relationship between Danaus and Mira is the heart and soul of DAYHUNTER, as anything may be creeping out of the shadows thanks to treachery, but even her new partner conceals secrets re who he is and what his agenda is as fans wonder if another seditious act is occurring. Harriet Klausner
The Other Side of Magic
Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones
Starscape (Tor), Apr 28 2009, $4.99
Natalie struggles to adjust to having Buttercup a nervous rat as her link to the other world; while the other two rookie keyholders, Penny and Luke are pleased with their links respectively Kirin the unicorn and Dracula the dragon. However after being chased by three goblins, their mentor Mr. Leery decides to begin their training. Only Natalie succeeds in finding holes ripped open by agents of evil Queen of the Boggarts in the threads between Morgantown and the supernatural realm.
Natalie takes Buttercup to school and a teacher takes the rat away. The girl is hysterical but Buttercup escapes. Mr. Leery and his link Mr. Mo the cat decide the time is right to take the future keyholders to the OTHER SIDE OF MAGIC.
The second Keyholders elementary school age urban fantasy (see THIS SIDE OF MAGIC) is a fun tale as the three rookie keyholders struggle with their responsibilities; where as Penny and Luke relish their respective links, Natalie is a snob until her rat is taken from her. On the other hand, she proves the only one of the three adept at magic. Young readers will enjoy this fun tale as the threesome with their links and their mentors cross to the OTHER SIDE OF MAGIC. Harriet Klausner
Done Academy 7
Speak, May 14 2009, $8.99
Aerin Renning is a loner with no future; Dane Madousin is the son of one of the Alliance’s most influential people and thus has a perfect future. They both attend Academy 7, the most exclusive school in the universe. For Dane it is a divine right; for Aerin it is a shocker.
The pair contends with one another for the top students at school. They share in common dark secrets in which neither reveals much about themselves to others and a competitive streak as they vie for the top student slot. Dane slaughters her in debate, but Aerin kicks his butt in sparring. When Dane breaks a rule, he inadvertently got Aerin in trouble. During their joint retention, they become friends as each slowly trusts the other with their secrets especially special talent. They fear others especially Dr. Livinski will exploit them even as an unknown adversary sets a deathtrap to destroy them and the school.
The author of the young adult romantic mystery AURELIA, Anne Osterlund provides an entertaining young teen science fiction thriller with a touch of romance in the galaxy. The battling lead couple makes for a fun duet as each sings the refrain: “anything you can do, I can do better” until they get into trouble. Readers will enjoy the somewhat gender bending escapades of Dane and Aerin as they are on the brink of being expelled from school in spite of being the top two students at the same time a nefarious deathtrap tries to keep them apart while also thinking kiss her already. Harriet Klausner
Robert K. Tanenbaum
Pocket, Jun 2009, $26.00
Broadway musical producer F. Lloyd Maplethorpe is counting on his reputation to keep him going as his last few shows have been flops. He hopes his latest venture will prove successful as he is arranging Putin: the Musical for the live theatre. One night he calls the concierge to come up to his apartment; Harry arrives only to see the body of a dead woman who had a part in the show. Lloyd tells Harry “I think I killed her”. At his trial, Maplethorpe changes his tune stating she committed suicide; as happens frequently at celebrity trials, the jury is split. New York District Attorney Roger "Butch" Karp intends to prosecute the retrial. His private security specialist wife, Marlene Ciampi finds a frightened witness who she protects.
Meanwhile the Sons of Man, a group with members in all levels of authority, are using the Muslims to create an incident that will surpass 9/11 in horror and death. They plan to make it seem Iran did the dastardly deed so that they can seize total power in a coup. The daughter of Ciampi and Karp, an agent for a top secret government group, Lucy is captured by the group’s leader as she had begun to get to close to uncovering their devious scheme. Karp and Ciampi have to change direction as New York City is under internal Armageddon.
Part legal thriller and part ant-terrorist conspiracy thriller, CAPTIVE is an exhilarating fast-paced, but over the top of the Empire State Building tale. Both subplots are fully developed so fans of the series will find each fun to follow. Butch is his usual confident self as he seeks justice in a courtroom while Maplethorpe lines up some powerful defenders. He is also a worried father as his daughter is snatched by his enemy and his wife in support roles has begun to help uncover a conspiracy that if achieved would sink the boroughs under the sea along with the government. Though way out and wild, fans will relish the latest Robert K. Tanenbaum’s tense thriller. Harriet Klausner