I spent most of the day working on the next issue of Baryon. I'm trying to use different reviews in the online zine than I use in here. That way I can use more of Harriet's reviews and still use some in both places that need more recognition.
Ace, Jun 2009, $15.00
Zoe Martinique is a Wraith; a being who can travel in spirit form to the Abysmal and Ethereal planes. It has taken her a while to get used to having this new skill, which can occur spontaneously without warning. She is not sure if she is an Irin, the child of an angel and a human. However just when she needs her power to rescue her mother who is trapped on the Abysmal Plane, it vanishes without explanation and she has no earthly idea how to get it back.
The Archer aka T.C is a being from the Abysmal Plane who is linked to Zoe, and if she dies so does she so it is in his best interests to keep her alive. The Phantasm wants to use Zoe to enter the mortal realm where he intends to take control of the planet. TC believes the Phantasm is blocking Zoe’s power so they come up with a plan to get them freed. It is dangerous as the price of victory is extremely high; defeat means most likely death.
PHANTASM contains an exhilarating serpentine story line with so many puzzles to solve; readers will wonder how the paranormal can protect the newcomer. Zoe is a kick butt heroine who has finally accepted her heritage as the audience learns through flashbacks re her childhood. She proves formidable as she believes she can defeat the Phantasm though she understands little about her skills. Character driven though action-packed, Phaedra Weldon’s third Zoe urban fantasy (see WRAITH and SPECTRE) is fantastic. Harriet Klausner
Harcourt, Apr 2009, $20.00
Anaximander “Anax” is a student studying the history of the twenty-first century in school. She learns that century was the period of human decline as the Last War proved to be an accurate title as much of the globe was devastated and led to plague, environmental collapse, terrorism, and the end of civilization on the continents.
She also knows that the only pocket of true governance left in the world is her homeland, the Republic, an island in the Southern hemisphere modeled after Plato’s classic Republic. On the verge of taking the four hour exam that will determine her future as an elitist or a drone as the test decides whether she gains admittance to the elite Academy, Anax has also serendipitously studied the outlawed works of rebel with a cause Adam Forde. She likes his stand on human rights and dignity in a society run by a strict code of conduct that bans anything deemed deviant, but especially appreciates his stance as a soldier guarding the Great Sea Fence when he did not kill a young female on a boat breaching the barrier; but Amax knows she must hide her feelings from the panel of examiners.
This is Brave New World meets Plato in a devastated world with several fresh spins as Bernard Beckett provides an intriguing philosophical science fiction tlae that Huxley would have enjoyed. Anax is a terrific student historian who holds the story line together, but does so by concealing her adulation of Adam from her examiners. Fans will enjoy GENESIS as Anax learns the origin of the end of the world. Harriet Klausner
Mira, Jun 2009, $7.99
In the Balboa Peninsular of California hypnotherapist Mercy Hollings has the mental ability to “press" people into doing what she wants them to do using her mind to coax a person. She has always struggled to control her ability because she knows it is not ethical to intrude even when you want to. Her friend Sukey has been helping her look back on her life while moving near the ocean has provided her with some solace.
Mercy wants to know why her adoptive parents eventually abandoned her. At the same time she wants to help former gangbanger chief Tino who wants to become a realtor. Tino also needs Mercy to help get his younger brother out of the gang lifestyle, but not all the punks are normal members as some come from the dark places where souls dare not go.
CRY MERCY is as always with this saga a fun but odd paranormal Mercy Hollings thriller (see BEG FOR MERCY and ANGEL OF MERCY). The story line is fast-paced but owned by the heroine who rips skin with her sarcastic retorts. Fans will enjoy the latest antics of Mercy as Toni Andrews provides an amusing refreshing beach fantasy.