Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Yard Work

Doing work out in the yard today but here are some reviews to tide you over.

Jordan Summers
Tor, Jun 2 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780765359155

The war left much of the globe in dangerous chaos and many areas became deserts by 2010. During the hostilities scientists genetically engineered the Others; species with super or para normal skills like vampires, shifters and special elite Captain America soldiers. In the twenty-second century, on a mission sanctioned by her grandfather to Nuria, Arizona, super soldier Gina “Red” Santiago learns she is a werewolf (see RED) and remains in the town where she has fallen in love with the Sheriff alpha werewolf Morgan Hunter. He worries about Red as her survival will depend more on her learning to shift when awake than on him.

A commercial advertises buying clones as a wife, prostitute, child or slave labor. Morgan is shook because the clones in the ad are that of his dead family; he leaves town to find and destroy his late family’s cells. Immediately after he departs, someone commits murder; the townsfolk believe Red killed him. Another newcomer inflicts injuries on himself and accuses Gina of beating him up. A vigilante mob demands justice while an enemy from before whom she defeated manipulates behind the scenes emotions of the townsfolk; the goal is the death of Red, who faces everyone alone again, naturally.

The super SCARLET contains two strong subplots; that of Morgan seeking a needle in a deadly haystack and Red under a lethal threat from a nasty villain. The two segments merge into a strong post apocalyptic science fiction thriller that can be summed up by the heroes’ understanding that Others have to hide in plain sight as politicians play the genetics card like they used to use race in the twentieth century; especially one ruthless individual with ambitions to rule the world. The story line is filled with action while the lead couple and “Others” insure the decimated earth with paranormal and super species seem genuine. Harriet Klausner

Winter Duty
E.E. Knight
Roc, Jul 2009, $24.95
ISBN: 9780451462749

In 2076 AD or the ffty-sith year of the Kurian Order, the Kur reside inside heavily fortified fortresses while their Reapers harvest human by drinking blood and transmitting the core essences of the people they kill back to their masters. A rebellion is slowly taking back the land from their reaper occupiers, but in Kentucky, Operation Javelin failed and now only a small regiment led by Major David Valentine control Fort Seng and little else.

They prove enough to enable the people of Kentucky to vote whether the state should be a free zone or part of the Kurian Order as some of Valentine’s former allies prefer. A modern day Bleeding Kansas explodes the state into civil war as the voters choose the free zone option. A preacher and a Kurian realize the Order will not tolerate a free sate inside their realm nor invade a second time; instead the Overlords have chosen Kentucky as an example for rebels with plans to exterminate the state. David and his men leave their refuge try to save the people who were wounded in the failed operation as the Reapers supported by the Moondagger try and destroy the rebels. A blizzard makes things worse for the rebels.

The latest Vampire Earth novel is an entertaining entry in a terrific saga. The action is not-stop filled with setbacks for the heroes as former friends choose to end their revolt with what they believe are a peace in our times solution while the Order selects mass termination. Valentine and his unit prove they are heroes as they risk their lives to overthrow the occupation force even as they are being called by their former partners, obstinate insurgents. The plot contains shockers and twists as E.E. Knight provides a powerful thought provoking suspense thriller that will keep fans up late into the night. Harriet Klausner

Wild Highland Magic
Kendra Leigh Castle
Sourcebook Casablanca, May 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9781402218569

The Athins were once a powerful clan ruling the Northern Plains. They fell into ruin when Cadmus ruler of the Daemons of the Blighted kingdom visited their High Mage to unite their tribes. To anchor an agreement, Cadmus demanded the High Mage give him his sister, but the Athins’ leader refused. Cadmus placed a curse on the Ice Mage males. They are a dying group down to their last male wizard Bastian an Morgaine, who hides away amongst the MacInees shapeshifting pack in Scotland.

Twenty-five years ago a dispute between brothers led to one taking his family across the ocean. Now he wants to reconcile so his daughter Catrionna MacInnes can learn to be a werewolf amidst family. When Cat and Bastion see one another for the first time they are attracted to each other. She recognizes hs as her lifemate; he fears his feelings for her as he believes Cadmus’ curse will activate as it did leading to his dad’s lament of regretting love and eventually his death.

This is a fast-paced romantic fantasy that sub-genre fans will appreciate. Although a cast of zillions with several major subplots like the feuding brothers add complexity to the tale, the story line belongs to the Cat and Bastian who will have readers humming the Flack version of The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. WILD HIGHLAND MAGIC is a tremendous romantic fantasy that will send new fans seeking Kendra Leigh Castle’s previous Highland stories (see CALL OF THE HIGHLAND MOON and DARK HIGHLAND FIRE; neither read by me). Harriet Klausner

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