Monday, November 30, 2009

More Interesting Reviews

More from Harriet. Hope all is well.

The Return of the Black Company
Glen Cook
Tor, Sep 15 2009, $15.99
ISBN: 9780765324009

“Bleak Seasons”. The Black Company is under siege inside Dejagore with their leader Croaker probably dead. Murgen takes charge at a time when the Shadowlander horde assaults them and treachery from inside the company and from other trapped groups insidiously attack them. Their situations is perilous and their trust in Murgen as their leader is shaky as he has been their chronicler annalist; an expert on their history but not ever in charge.

“She Is the Darkness”. Croaker, the sorceress Lady, and the Black Company are in trouble as they are diverted from their enemy to battle other evil entities. This leaves them vulnerable to the malevolent Shadowmaster Soulcatcher, Howler and the Stranglers as they set a diabolical trap to eradicate the Black Company and their sorcery practitioner allies.

These are reprints of the first half of the Glittering Stone saga. Each tale is entertaining for fans who have read previous entries (see the omnibus CHRONICLES OF THE BLACK COMPANY and BOOKS OF THE SOUTH); newcomers will find it a bit difficult to understand what is going on. Still these are enjoyable military fantasy thrillers as the Black Company tries to simply survive against overwhelming odds.
Harriet Klausner

Blood Kin
Maria Lima
Juno (Pocket), Nov 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9781439156766

Keira Kelly belongs to Clan Kelly, a family of magic users who look human, but cannot breed with them. She is at Wild Moon Ranch in Texas with her lover Adam the vampire king of his tribe when she undergoes the Change. Normally that brings the person one paranormal power, but in her case the Change provides her with all the diverse powers her clan mates possess. This makes her the heir to the clan leader so she must leave behind her beloved vampire for a little while and heed her Great-Great Grandmother Gigi’s call to head to Vancouver.

Gideon, Keira’s evil ex lover, is dying. Gigi asks Keira to escort him to her mother’s side if they can’t heal him. A Sidhe Seelie Daffyd ap Geraint accompanies them. When they are sitting in a vehicle he disappears. Only Keira heard the song which means the Sidhe called back Daffyd. In Vancouver near the entrance to Faerie an Unseelie Sidhe is killing the homeless stealing their essence. Keira and her entourage hunt down the killer as she learns more about her heritage and Gigi’s plans for her include uniting with Others.

This is a great urban fantasy as Maria Lima uses British Columbia to the fullest and cleverly keeps Gigi off the page until the end yet her presence seems everywhere. Gigi is a kind ruler whose strategic goal is the uniting of the paranormal species so as to end their hostilities; she believes her descendent is the key. Keira is terrific as the confused “coming of age” heroine who seems to be in ever paranormal being’s crosshairs. Ms. Lima’s tale is a special romantic suspense fantasy on a par with the best works of Laurel K. Hamilton and Kelly Armstrong. Harriet Klausner

The Renegade Hunter
Lynsay Sands
Avon, Oct 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061474316

For centuries, Nicholas Argeneau was one of the best vampire hunters tracking down those who broke the immortal law. Fifty years ago, he quit and apparently turned rogue.

However, when a vampire attacks mortal bar manager Josephine Willan, Nicholas cannot stop himself from getting involved; he rescues her and cannot resist stealing a kiss. He quickly learns what happens with good Samaritans when he is captured by agents of the Vampire Council who wipe out Jo’s memory of the event and them. As Nicholas awaits trial, Jo regains the memory of their kiss. She helps him escape. However, when his Uncle Lucian Argeneau learns who she is to Nicholas, he uses her as a lure to recapture the rogue. Once again Lucien and Nicholas underestimates Jo, who feels her well being is best taken care of at Nicholas’ side even as she tries to learn why the kindhearted vampire was declared a rogue.

This is an intriguing Rogue Hunter romantic urban fantasy with the only known Argeneau to go rogue starring with his life mate as the audience learns why. Adding to the fun of the family reunion is a degree of connection as her sister and his former associate Mortimer are engaged (see THE ROGUE HUNTER). The story line is fast-paced from the opening scene when he rescues her and she accuses him of the “penis-eye thing” and never looks back (pun intended). Series readers will fully enjoy the superb tale of the intrepid human and the vampire forced to come out of the cold now that he has found his life mate. Harriet Klausner

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