Saturday, August 22, 2009

Working on reviews

I'm working on reviews and not quite ready yet. Here are some from Harriet to tide you over.

Shadow Magic
Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett
Bantam Spectra, Jul 28 2009, $25.00
ISBN: 9780553806977

The Hundred Years War is over with the city-state Kingdom of Volstov’s metal dragons corps having defeated the Ke-Han Empire's imperial troops (see HAVEMERCY). Stunned by his side’s loss the Ke-Han emperor does the honorable thing in his society by committing suicide.

The Volstov send a peace delegation led by magician Caius Greylace and General Alcibiades to negotiate the terms of surrender. The new Emperor Iseaul greets them even as he plots to strengthen his new position of power starting with the assassination of his younger brother Prince Mamoru . The attempt fails and Mamoru and his personal servant Kouje flee while the diplomacy moves forward at a snail’s pace as Iseaul objects as if his side were the victors.

This fascinating sequel switches from the military fantasy of Havemercy to a diplomacy fantasy with as much intrigue, Machiavellian machinations modified by magic. The story line is as fast-paced and action-packed as its predecessor but with a different take. Fans will enjoy this strong entry as Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett provide a deep look at conflicting societies loosely modeled after Shogun medieval Japan and Empirical Rome respectively placed in a fantasy realm.
Harriet Klausner

Witches Incorporated
K.E. Mills
Orbit, Jun 30 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780316035446

Everyone who knew him including himself believed Gerald Dunwoody was a third-grade wizard; he affirmed his level of competency as a safety inspector who accidentally blew up the factory he was inspecting. However, everything changed for Gerald in New Ottosland where his performance proved elitist (see THE ACCIDENTAL SORCERER).

The New Ottosland royal government trains Gerald in secret to become a first class wizard. His first cold field assignment is to find and capture a deadly saboteur. At the same time Princess Melissande and Emmerabiblia Markham open up one stop one shop Witches Incorporated to handle all matters of bewitching. Once again, Gerald while Reg pecks at his brain, and Melissande with never silent Biblia at her side (well almost) work on the same case just representing different clients.

The second Rogue Agent fantasy is an amusing enjoyable tale filled with a strong albeit reluctant lead character and solid support players who are purposely uses hyperbole to satirize the genre. The story line is fast-paced as the accidental sorcerer is on his first official case; keep in mind preventing a war between a superpower and the kingdom employing you does not count as that was not in his job description at the time. Fans who appreciate a jocular fantasy filled with humor and intrigue and more humor will want to read the lighthearted continuing adventures of Gerald and his acerbic bird-brained sidekick. Harriet Klausner

Redemption Alley
Lilith Saintcrow
Orbit, Jul 28 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780316035460

Having just rescued a teen from a Trader, Hunter Jill Kismet knows her vocation allows no vacation. Her Santa Luz police department contact Detective Montaine asks Jill to look into the suicide of a cop; Officer Marvin Kutchner ate his Glock two months ago. The deceased has not returned from the grave so is outside of Kismet’s cases. However, Montaine says Kutchner was his partner at one time and he would never take his own life. Kismet notices the popular police candy Tums unopened and the police hydrator whiskey almost filled so decides to help her contact obtain closure by investigating the death so that the bottles remain practically filled.

The simple case turns convoluted and deadly as allies prove false and enemies prove loyal. Cops want her dead and Hellbreed have damning information they offer to her. As she digs deeper and deeper, Jill finds links to disappearances and begins to uncover a hellish conspiracy that places the city in danger unless she can finish peeling back the onion in time with the help of another Hunter and some Were.

The third invigorating Jill Kismet investigative urban fantasy is as vivid and violent as the previous thrillers (see NIGHT SHIFT and HUNTER’S PRAYER) in this action-packed take no prisoners without blood flowing saga. The story line is faster than the speed of light as the heroine jumps feet first into the hellish fire as nothing is what it seems. Filled with great twists, Lilith Saintcrow provides a stunning Kismet entry as the Hunter affirms Schwartz’s tenet that Murphy is a god damn optimist. Harriet Klausner

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