Here are some reviews of some supernatural tales and the latest Skolian Empire book by Catherine Asaro. Catherine s one of those rare people who dream science fiction and romance rather than spend her days as a rocket scientist. We mmet several years ago and she is a terific person as well as writer.
NAL, Jun 2009, $6.99
Morganville is not your typical college town because vampires make the rules that paranormal and humans must obey. For instance mortals are required to contribute to the blood bank. It is difficult to leave Morganville because you need vampire permission. Amelie was the head vampire, who ran the town with compassion for all, but her father Bishop led a coup d’etat and with the help of spells and insider information has taken over.
Amelie and her followers reside in the shadows waiting for the moment to take back their town from the lethal lock of her sire. Some people, who really know the brilliant teen, Claire Danvers, believe she is the only hope to save the town. However, even Claire must heed Bishop’s call since he marked her. Her boyfriend Shane and her father await execution, but Claire convinces Amelie to free him. Claire her friend Michael the vampire, a vampire scientist and goth girl Eve are also waiting to bring down Bishop and use his blood as an antidote to end the disease killing vampires.
Rachel Caine has carved out a unique niche in the urban fantasy sub-genre with her super young adult Morganville Vampires. Her mythos is wonderful as she makes the town seem genuine with humans and vampires living in a shaky peaceful coexistence; reminiscent of the early Gorbachev-Reagan era Cold War; that is before Bishop took over and brought overt hostility (sort of a return to Stalin) into the insecure relationships. The latest thriller contains plenty of action, but as always in this saga, CARPE CORPSE is character driven by the good, the bad, and the evil. Harriet Klausner
Bride of the Wolf
Jennifer St. Giles
Pocket, May 2009, $6.99
SINCO Oil heiress Marissa Vasquez fled Belize and her evil Tio Luis ending up in Twilight, Tennessee. However, only when she sleeps does she feel safe as she dreams of a black wolf that seems to protect her while they run together under the moon. An injured man arrives at the camp she hides in; she recognizes his eyes as that of the dream wolf-man. Though Navarre the Shadowman is blind, he knows who she is.
Vladarian vampire Herrera captures the pair as he plans to take control of her shares of SINCO. She knows about his reputation having heard he was the most vicious of her uncle’s minion. As Navarre slowly heals with Marissa’s help, their spirits fall in love. While the vampires seem on the verge of species civil war, they must find a way to escape. He knows only if he calls the wolf spirit side of his essence do they have a chance. However, he also understands the possible cost as he wonders whether a purebred wealthy human and a hybrid werewolf find happiness together as love may not be enough.
This direct follow up to KISS OF DARKNESS is a superb paranormal romantic thriller starring two wonderful protagonists who need one another to survive the ordeal. Navarre owns the tale as he knows what he must do for his lifemate, but fears her reaction when he does. With a spin that will shake fans with delight, Jennifer St. Giles continues to make The Shadowmen saga one of the best urban romantic fantasy series on the market today. Harriet Klausner
Lili St. Crow
Razorbill, May 14 2009, $9.99
Sixteen years old Dru Anderson is used to traveling around; never staying in any place for more that a couple of months. Her father trained her as his sidekick killing deadly supernatural creatures and once the mission is accomplished the pair would pack up and move to the next monster nest; some of these otherworldly beasts have no English word. Her Granmama taught her mostly in dreams and occasional rare visits how to be spiritually psychically stout. As for her mom, there are the curls.
Everything changed for Dru in the Dakotas the night her Granmama died. Dad acts strange as he goes out on the mission alone. When he fails to come back alive, Dru has to confront realities. The only two people in her life are dead within twenty-four hours of each other; and though she thought she was a pro at hunting, she realizes she knows nothing about what they hunted beyond her extrasensory gift of the “Touch” and even less about surviving in the mundane world. First she must live through the night as she knows mortal teen boys and creatures from beyond have caught her scent; she is not sure which is more dangerous to her existence, but then again there is her dad’s killer stalking her too.
The key to this terrific young adult fantasy is the supernatural creatures seem genuine with the representatives of a variety of species possessing differing personalities beyond just their basic “natural” needs. Dru is fabulous holding the story line together in a first person viewpoint as she is a typical teen with a special skill and a radically different childhood than the norm. Fans will admire Dru and her two new associates Christophe and Graves who risk all in a battle against deadly foes who should not exist in the wintry Dakotas. Harriet Klausner
Baen, May 2009, $23.00
The Allied Worlds of Earth, The Eubian Concord Trader Empire, and Skolian Imperialate make up the human empires in the distant future. The Skolian Imperialate and the Trader Empire went to war, but neither won. Hostilities remain with another flare up possible. Earth provided sanctuary to some of the Skolian Imperialate Ruby Dynasty. When the war ended with the Trader Empire, the Skolians brought home everyone except Prince Del - Kurj who was separated from his off-world people.
Del is frustrated and outraged as earth politicians are making it difficult for him to go home even with immense pressure from the Skolians. Mac Tyler takes him to a studio where he is seen and heard by producer Ricki Varento. He receives a recording contract, which he hopes will prove successful as he knows his family thinks he is worthless. Dal is a powerful empath, but is surprised when the crowds adore him and admire his talent as they love his music. Within a year, he is number one. However when a friend is abducted and tortured by an Aristo Trader, he sings a song that brings three civilizations to the brink of all out war.
DIAMOND STAR is a fresh excellent addition to the Skolian Empire saga due to mostly Del, a prince who prefers to be a music star. All of the action occurs on earth where an innocent man must adapt to a new challenge. Readers see the world through his Skolian eyes. There are several major subplots tied together by Del as fans will understand how his producers, band members, fans, and even the Aristo Trader see the expatriate Skolian royal. Somewhat tongue in cheek, Catherine Asaro provides a thoughtful tale of a star is born as the prince believes the magic is in the music instead of the purple reign. Harriet Klausner