Sunday, August 23, 2009

Witches, Alternate Worlds and Star Wars

More from Harriet including a new Star Wars novel. Enjoy!

Vicious Circle
Linda Robertson
Juno (Pocket), Jul 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9781439154281

Persephone “Seph” Alcmedi is a witch, but pays her bills with other paranormal practices like reading tarot cards and writing a newspaper column. Seph also breaks the rules of witch-hood and the city ordinance by running a kennel in her basement to keep werewolves out of trouble during the full moon. Everyone knows the Were and witches are like an oilman and a tree hugger.

Seph is outraged when her grandma is kicked to the curb by her nursing home management. She puts that on hold when a vampire kills her were-friend Lorrie Kordell. She is offered a hell of a lot cash to bring the bloody killer to justice. However, the predator Goliath Kline is too dangerous for a mere witch to restrain so she turns to Johnny the lead singer of techno-metal-Goth band Lycanthropia, who has more than a crush on her; a feeling she reciprocates though she hides it from the biker using grandma as her heart guard.

This is an amusing lighthearted chick lit urban fantasy that stars a female David witch struggling with her bills, grandma, and Johnny battling Goliath the invincible cruel vampire; Vegas would never allow betting on this one. The story line is breezy from the onset as a frustrated Persephone wishes her kennel guests would keep the Krispy Kreme boxes off her lawn before the neighbors howl about her garbage and never slows down. Fans will appreciate this jocular tale in which the plot is never quite serious as the kennel master witch turns amateur sleuth leading to a showdown with a vampire who will enjoy drinking bewitching blood. Harriet Klausner

Branwen's Garden
Brad Parnell
BlackWyrm, Jul 2009, $11.95
ISBN: 9780982006764

Fifteen year old Robert has accepted that he has none of the Good Samaritan genes of his older brothers and sister. When his sister Margaret asks Robert to come over, he only agrees to hear her good deeds or dad reconciliation lectures because he has a crush on her roommate. Mags gives him a package containing family history dating back to the seventeenth century to Samuel More, who abruptly vanished. He knows this is a clever ploy to get her younger brother to reconcile with their dad, but Robert also understands his father tried to buy his affection since the split a few years ago with his mom who gave her son her love with no strings.

Robert translates the documents and with his friend Cam head to a nearby Natural Bridge where Cam holds the “key” that opens a portal that Robert crosses over into the land of Gwerinatha. He almost immediately is attacked by a six legged “log” whom he gives the sneaker to. Robert meets Louie the talking wolf, who takes him to his pack. As Robert learns about this strange world, he also finds out that Sam vanished on this side too. However, Robert’s goal of going home is interrupted when he discovers the local human heroine Branwen is missing. With the help of Branwen’s family and friends, Robert goes on a trek to rescue her.

The first Legend of Gwerinatha is a terrific entertaining middle school coming of age fantasy starring a young man learning about responsibility once he meets Louie and learns of BRANWEN'S GARDEN. The slacker lead protagonist is well aware of his so called short comings back home, but is okay with it. That changes when he becomes a heroic champion trying to find his ancestor and Branwen as a stranger in a strange land in which only the teen girls seem normal to him. Fans will enjoy his escapades and look forward to Cam’s trek into Gwerinatha. Harriet Klausner

Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Abyss
Troy Denning
Del Rey, Aug 18 2009, $27.00
ISBN: 9780345509185

Tensions are rising to a dangerous feverish pitch on the planet Coruscant where the seat of power of the Galactic Alliance and the Jedi Temple are located. Increasingly at an epidemic rate Jedi Knights are falling prey to a strange illness that lead them into believing people they have known for years are actually doppelgangers. The Galactic Alliance Chief of State Natasi Daala wants the Jedi Order subservient to her government and Princess Leia and her husband Han Solo try to thwart her ambition.

Still seeking the cause of Jacen Solo’s downfall into the dark side of the force, Luke Skywalker and his son Ben head to Maw Cluster, a mysterious dangerous sector where the Force is very potent. They come upon a space station populated by the dead and the dying. The strongest of the living the Mind Walkers show the father and son team how to leave their bodies and travel to an orb strong with the Force to fond some of the answers they seek.. They know Jacen was in this sector and visited that orb before he became Darth Cadeouss, dictator of the Imperial Empire who killed millions in the civil war. The Skywalkers also fight a lost tribe of Sith who want them dead as a step towards regaining what they feel is their right to rule the galaxy.

The third novel (see OMEN and OUTCAST) in this nine book Star Wars saga is an exciting tale as the story line moves forward on both major plots. The Maw segue is the more fascinating of the two as the worlds and people inside this sector provide a fresh element to the Luke Skywalker legend with readers wondering if he and his son will fall into an abyss that will lead them to the dark side of the Force. The Solo-Leia entry is also enjoyable though somewhat similar to past tales; as the pair and their daughter battle the ambitious ruler. Fans will relish the strong latest entry in the Fate of the Jedi. Harriet Klausner

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