Friday, July 10, 2009

Interesting Reviews

Mundane things taking up all my time. At least Harriet is keeping me well supplied with reviews.

The Betrayal
Pati Nagle
Ballantine, Mar 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780345503855

Eliani's spirit was shattered when her beloved rejected her after their after cup bonding. Despondent and feeling like she wasted a year and a day, Eliani enlists as an Alpinon Guard warrior, one of the most dangerous jobs an aelven can accept as death is a typical outcome but that no longer matters to her. She vows no male will ever get her heart again except her father whom she has become his top aid.

Turisan leaves Glenwhollow feeling upbeat about life as he goes to deliver a message from his father to congratulate the daughter of a family friend on her election as governor. He journeys through the invigorating woodlands but realizes someone is following him, whom he identifies as an Alpinon Guard. However, instead of an assault, he is taken to Hightstone where he receives great honors.

When he and Eliani meet they are not just attracted to one another; they share the legendary mindspeech. Both are appalled and frightened yet euphoric. Neither realizes their paranormal connection as much as their respective heart ties will be the main hope when the outlawed exiled former aelven clan Darkshore led by the bloodsucking Queen Shalr are crossing the Ebon Mountains to reclaim more than their lost status; they come to conquer and dine on the blood of their once allies.

This is an exciting romantic fantasy starring two intriguing protagonists and a solid support cast who add societal depth to the aelven clans or the vampiric alben. The reactions to the mindspeech between Eliani and Turisan are terrific as each covets the link but also fears what is going on. Fans will appreciate Pati Nagle’s appropriately titled tale and look forward to me adventures in Alpinon and beyond. Harriet Klausner

Night of Knives
Ian C. Esslemont
Tor, May 2009, $25.95 (hardcover); $14.95 (trade)
ISBN: 0765323699 (hardcover); 0765323710 (trade)

Every generation the isle of Malaz suffers from the convergence of the Shadow Moon when the real world becomes a shadow to other realities and these other realities come as shadows to Malaz. Rumors fly that this time will include the unique returns of Malazan Emperor Kellanved and his master assassin Dancer; neither has been seen in ages. Surly the Mistress of the Imperial Assassin the Claw ruled over the empire and is not taking any chances of losing her power so has traveled to the island to insure Kellanved and Dancer do not return.

As the moon rises, islanders stay in doors hoping to remain safe from the evil invaders, demon-hounds, walking dead and even more dreaded others things. Wanting to leave Malaz, Kiska feels joining the Imperial Forces is her only exit; battle tested veteran Temper hides from his past with a new identity on Malaz. Neither believed in the myths, but soon both become embroiled in the encroaching malevolence when a corpse asks Kiska to deliver a message as the ancient power of the Shadow Moon has arisen.

Ian C. Esslemont collaborated with Steven Erikson to create the multiple cultures of the Malazan World (see Mr. Erikson’s Book of the Fallen saga). In NIGHT OF KNIVES, he extrapolates on the prologue to Mr. Erikson’s the Gardens of the Moon to create a rich history that in the Book of the Fallen becomes mythical history. Fans of Malazan will be stunned with this super dark fantasy as Mr. Esslemont stays true to the essence of the latter years’ saga while providing a terrific tale. Harriet Klausner

Lover Avenged
J.R. Ward
NAL, May 2009, $24.95
ISBN: 9780451225856

In Caldwell, New York, drug dealer Rehvenge is happy for his sister Bella to be married to one of the vampire King Wrath’s Black Dagger Brotherhood vampires, but he tries to remain above the fray between them and their enemies the Lessers because he fears the secret he conceals could harm his sibling and his mom. However, his dark secret is known by at least one person who uses it to extort emotional and sexual Rehvenge.

His only light in his personal storm is Havers Clinic vampire nurse Ehlena who has cared for his injuries but rejects his efforts to court her. Instead her focus remains on earning money to care for her ailing father. Responsible for her ailing father, nurse Ehlena struggles to make ends meet. However his latest visit to the clinic makes Ehlena, who hides her attraction to Rehvenge, concerned about his health as he is a victim of someone extremely nasty.

The latest Brotherhood vampire romantic suspense is an excellent entry in one of the great sagas on the market today. The story line moves forward on several overarching plots while also telling the tale of love between an antihero and an angelic vampire. Fans of the series will recognize LOVER AVENGED as one of the better stories in several books, which is saying a lot, while newcomers will be somewhat lost in the complex multifaceted thriller. Harriet Klausner

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