Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Vampires, Nightwalkers, Cannibals and More

More reviews from Harriet.

The Monstrumologist
Rick Yancey
Simon & Schuster, Sep 22 2009, $17.99
ISBN: 9781416984481

In 1888 twelve year old William Henry James lives with monstrumologist Doctor Pellinore Warthrop ever since his parents died years ago. One night a grave robber delivers a desecrated corpse to Warthrop. The doctor is somewhat horrified by the condition of the body, but not as much as his ward.

Warthrop insists the atrocity was done by Anthropophagi who apparently came from Africa bringing with them massacres and slaughters; they are cannibals who dine on man; competing with one another to be the first to rip off a head. As the doctor and his assistant investigate the latest bloodshed, the pair is also forced to look at their own ancestry, but most critical is to find a way to end the gruesome butchery before their town is destroyed.

Told entirely by Will in his diary who died in 2007, THE MOMSTRUMOLIGIST is a well written gruesome horror thriller that grips readers starting with the opening dictionary definition of the title and never let’s goes as the twelve years old hero describes his and his guardian’s exploits. The story line is vivid, but must not be read on full stomach as Rick Yancey holds nothing back yet also explores relationships between an adult and a child, and the ethical boundaries of science when death is involved. Gory perhaps over the edge to disgusting, this is horror at its worst, which means at its exciting entreating best. Harriet Klausner

Treason's Shore
Sherwood Smith
DAW, Aug 2009, $25.99
ISBN: 9780756405731

Prince Indevan-Dal has regained his honor having warned his country of the Venn invasion and led the defeat of the enemy. He remains in the capital after years of exile and does his duty by pledging his allegiance to the ruler Evred and marrying Tdor although his lover when he lived at sea, the sorceress Dag Signi is unhappy with her relegated status.

Meanwhile the Venn war fleet returns home to recuperate. Commander Durasnir and his wife Brun hope the foolish youthful monarch Rajnir gives them and their sailors a respite; but fear the real ruler behind the throne Dag Erkric will not allow such. Their trepidation proves correct when Erkric abducts his ten year old son to use as a hostage. There is also a Blood Hunt directed at Signi, who is captured. The Venn are preparing for a second invasion but who shall lead the opposition Inda or Elgar the Fox becomes a controversial distraction.

The fantastic fourth and final Inda fantasy (see INDA, THE FOX and KING'S SHIELD) is a super ending to an excellent saga as the prime characters constantly must choose between personal desires and kingdom needs. The choices are not easy as loyalty to a king may prove treasonous to a kingdom. Complex with thriving cultures on land and at sea, TREASON’S SHORE completes one of the best fantasy chronicles in years as fans will want to visit the realm of stupendous Sherwood Smith; recommend starting at the beginning to better understand the motives of the prime time players. Harriet Klausner

Jocelynn Drake
Eos, Sep 29 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061542886

The naturi are preparing the end game assault with a special sacrifice that will destroy the barrier between them and the human-nightwalkers. Once Rowe completes the portal, his spouse the queen Aurora will lead her race as they cross over to devastate both species.

The only hope for humanity and the nightwalkers resides with Mira, who has special skills especially with the use of fire. However, she is realistic as she knows the odds are heavily against her unless an alliance is forged as has occurred between her and the vampire slayer Danaus. However they have new hope when they capture naturi Princess Cynnia who insists she opposes her sister’s plan for the apocalypse.

The third Dark Days urban fantasy (see DAYHUNTER and NIGHTWALKER) is a terrific action-packed entry that is driven by partners forced into what both believe is an unnatural partnership. The characters make the story line feel genuine as Mira the fire starter vampire and Danaus the vampire hunter need to team up or lose to the naturi. With treason from within their ranks and seemingly within the nature, Jocelyn Drake complicates her overarching theme tenfold in what is turning into a magnificent saga. Harriet Klausner

Friday Night Bites
Chloe Neill
NAL, Oct 2009, $15.00
ISBN: 9780451227935

Ten months have passed since the vampires came out of the closet and revealed themselves to humanity. New to the biting night life, upper class Merit struggles with her bite and her position as sentinel of the House of Cadogan; one of the three vampire “Houses” in Chicago. However, those are minor problems compared to her constant disputes with the dude who changed her, four century old master vampire Ethan Sullivan.

Currently, vampires are riding a wave of good will media. However, rumors fly that wannabe tabloid reporter Jamie Breckenridge has learned about Raves in which humans serve up blood like a cocktail hour. Merit knows him as his family and hers (human that is) travel in the same elitist circle. Merit needs to persuade ambitious Jamie to drop the story before the humans go for blood.

The second Chicagoland vampire tale (see SOME GIRLS BITE) is super urban fantasy starring a tyro bloodsucker who continues to have major relationships with mortal and vampires; Merit still connects (loose definition) with her social climbing parents and other mortal family members and obviously with her new vampire family. Fans will appreciate Merit’s efforts to balance her two teetering worlds summed up simply by TGIFNB (Thank God it’s Friday Night Bites). Harriet Klausner

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