Saturday, October 3, 2009

Out of Town

I'm going to be away for a few days attending my grand-daughter's wedding. Here are some reviews from Harriet to tide you over

Bad Moon Rising
Sherrilyn Kenyon
St. Martin’s, Aug 2009, $24.95
ISBN: 9780312369491

In 2003 in New Orleans Were-hunter enforcer Wolfswan Fang Kattalakis and Bearswan Aimee Peltier are attracted to one another; a forbidden desire as species don’t mix and mate. Whereas his brothers are on the Omegrion ruling council; her family hopes she will be on the council. Daimons attack and almost kill Fang. His brothers take the unconscious Fang to safety so he can heal from his severe injuries.

Aimee dreams of Fang and learns that his state of poor health is caused not by physical wounds as her siblings assume, but because the Daimons removed sections of his Fang leaving him trapped in two realms; physically his body is removed from his soul which is trapped in the nether realm. While Fang battles to survive, Aimee knows to save the man she loves she must kill those who stole parts of his soul before the demon wins. At the same time in the nether Fang offers the rest of his soul to his enemies to keep Aimee alive.

With a deadly nod to The Gift of the Magi and Romeo and Juliet, BAD MOON RISING is a solid Dark-Hunter tale although key events in the Kenyon pantheon have been described in other books (see NIGHT PLAY for brother Vane’s view)) during and after this novel takes place; that takes a major adjustment for long time fans to see perspective from another viewpoint. The story line does not expand the universe very much as the focus is on the lead couple’s forbidden love that makes for a strong tale as a stand alone with the star-crossed lovers related to adversarial “swan” VIPs, but not much added to the overarching plot. Harriet Klausner

S.A. Swann
Spectra (Ballantine), Aug 25 2009, $15.00
ISBN: 9780553807387

In 1221 Brother Smenyon, the last survivor of his convent, kills the monster who murdered his compatriots. He is shocked to hear a baby cry and takes the female infant and the other young with him to raise the werewolf cubs as devout Christian warriors like he is.

In 1239 eighteen-year-old Lilly is a pious killing Christian, who with her super strength subjugates pagans who reject the Lord. However, Lilly differs from her peers as she wants out from the Teutonic Order that she feels abuses and uses them. To escape, she turns on her keepers, killing a dozen Christian soldiers. She flees into the wild where she meets one-armed Uldolf, whose family and village was the sight of a lupine massacre in 12 31. He offers friendship and much more to the frightened and confused young woman. However, The Teutonic Knights send Erhard von Stendal to kill traitorous Lilly and anyone abetting her.

This is a terrific paranormal medieval tale that runs on two strands as the story line portrays the complicated era in which Christianity is battling paganism and on a smaller scale the lead female’s struggle with her violent past as a Christian killing machine. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action and a vivid look at the times near The Carpathian Mountains. However, this is a tale of possible redemption as Lilly who only knows life connotes death begins to learn new meanings. Harriet Klausner

To Wrestle with Darkness
Alan D. Jones
Rising Sun, Jul 2009, $19.95
ISBN: 978-0966667912

His mom tried to keep Michael out of the family mission however, her efforts prove futile. A junior at Georgia Tech, Michael’s cousin Akina text messaged him that something bad happened and he needs to meet her at Piedmont Park. He rushes over only to see Akina with blind Uncle Paul who must be a zillion years old; Michael has questions about freaky photos to ask his uncle about, but no time. Akina cries that her Mama Avis has Cousin Carla. Darnell, Carla’s twin, arrives agitated as does family friend Sandy. The family, in an instant, travels from Atlanta to New Orleans in order to confront Avis, who has turned to the dark side. Michael the atheist begins to understand there is a lot more out there as he finds his power to change the physical state of an object or a being’s body part during the effort to rescue Carla from Avis and her demonic horde.

Meanwhile as Michael begins to learn of his skills and that of his family, in the distant future Jonah and Monica struggle to survive in a suppressed world in which the Blue control everything. An inventor Jonah saw at what was once the Smithsonian the Heart of Mystery gem that belonged to his family. He risks his life to regain what he believes he should possess. However, he is unprepared for the Blue Lord horde, though he proves to be a poor sport.

This is a deep somewhat convoluted and extremely complex and enthralling amalgamation of religion, science fiction and fantasy into a terrific allegorical thriller. The ensemble support cast for the two subplots makes the powerful story line work as they seem real while Jonah and Michael share star billing. Fans will anticipate the blending of their subplots, but never figure out how Alan D. Jones cleverly achieves this. TO WRESTLE WITH DARKNESS is an excellent tale. Harriet Klausner

Time for Eternity
Susan Squires
St. Martin’s, Sep 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780312943530

In San Francisco, vampiric bartender Frankie Suchet was made during the French Revolution by Henri Foucault who deserted her soon afterward. Donna Poliziano enters the bar because she sensed a vamp inside. They discuss Henri but disagree as Donna thought he was good while Frankie believes he was evil. Donna sends her a book written by Leonardo Da Vince who built a time machine that needed the power of a vampire to work. It is under the Baphistery in Florence. Donna suggests she go back and correct the wrong as she did it to save her beloved Jergen (see ONE WITH THE DARKNESS). Frankie travels to Italy with plans to kill Henri before he changed her.

Frankie arrives in 1794 and sees na├»ve Francoise. Unable to stop Frankie ends up inside a bewildered Francoise. However, the young woman has no time to worry as her elderly companion Madam LaFleur was arrested and their house is on fire. She pleads with Duc Henri D’Avignon to save her life. He does by claiming her as his ward. Robespierre accepts Henri’s lie, but his companion Madame Croute is irate. Henri takes his new ward home and tells her he will place her on his ship going to England next week. Henri thinks of making love to Francois as she seems a weird mix of innocence and experience. He knows he cannot save LaFleur but foolishly tries; however, her heart gives out. Meanwhile as naive Francois sees Henri’s kindness; Frankie inside her head keeps telling her he is cruel and needs to die while Croute wants to execute both of them.

The intriguing premise of two Francoise essences sharing one body comes across as plausible while Henri is a sort of vampiric Scarlet Pimpernel although Frankie takes a long time to overcome her bitterness; in fairness she had over two centuries to build it up. Still fans will relish this exciting vampiric romance that mostly brings alive the deadly dangerous French Reign of Terror. Harriet Klausner

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