New reviews from Harriet to start the new year.
Claimed by the Wolf
St. Martin’s Griffin, Dec 8 2009, $13.99
Millenia ago long before the Sumerians existed, werewolves, dragons, vampires, witches, a rebellions demon tribe and the Sidhe fought against the demon and were evenly matched until the witches betrayed their cause by changing sides and allying with the demons. All the supernatural species in the battle died except the leaders of each species who pledged their lives and allegiance to the warrior and sexual goddess Inanna. They became her mark, giving them powers and become known as the Shadow Guardians who guard the portals so the demons don’t enter this world and those that do are forcibly thrown back to their own realm.
The apprentice witch Sybil brought a Book of Shadows at a sale only to find out it contained demonic magic that entered her body. The Shadow Guardian Kenrick the alpha werewolf explains what happened especially since she asked for help of Inanna to get the demon magic out of her. Her plea makes her a Shadow Guardian as she now wears the mark of Inanna Part of the ritual is sex with each of the five Guardians who test her trust worthiness; she passes the exam, but Kenrick is the one she desires and he wants her as his mate. However, the betrayal though so many millennia ago still lingers in his bone marrow and he distrusts her.
This heated paranormal romantic suspense starring five alpha males and one female who has sex with each of them and in all sorts of combinations . Obviously sex rules the story line as Sybil bewitches four of her teammates while the one she loves who claims her as his expects her to deceive them. Although the libido to the nth power makes the supernatural seem real while dominating the somewhat thin story line, fans who relish the heat will want to read this romantic urban fantasy.
Night of Demons
Harper, Nov 2009, $7.99
Cornelius the Shadow Man believes the Old Ones speak to him; directing him to kill whole families. They praise him informing him that his serial killing spree is bringing about the Apocalypse. On the back roads in Massachusetts to escape the police, he enters Raine’s Landing, a town protected by ancient magics cast by witches that should have prevented his entry.
Cornelius enters the home of adept Lucas Tolburn while the witch is working with the magical Wand of Dentiere. The practitioner uses the wand to stop Cornelius, but he kills Lucas and grabs the rod. Believing in magic, the sentient artifact turns Cornelius into mist that allows him to enter any body he chooses. He enters a father who he uses to kill the whole family and make it look like the father committed suicide. He begins a killing spree and soon has a partner; Lucas’ ambitious granddaughter Millicent who uses a spell that ties her to the wand and Cornelius and they go on a brutal killing rampage. Former town cop Ross Devries and Boston Police officer Laura Brennan investigate the serial killings that the outsider says is the work of the Shadow Man. They must prevent the mists from destroying the town and potentially the country.
This is an exiting good vs. evil horror thriller that cleverly keeps the audience wondering about whether Cornelius is a psychopath or is the voices from some outside evil essence. His magical partnership with Millicent will remind readers of Michael J. Fox’s The Frighteners. Ross suffers from visions, but seems more attuned to Cass than he is the townsfolk he once protected and is doing again. Character driven, NIGHT OF DEMONS is a super horror thriller with the twist of the champions are the non practitioners in town.
Roc, Nov 2009, $24.95
The man taking her for a fee from her abusive marriage dumps her in the middle of nowhere offering his bed as protection from the night; he implies something more dangerous than marauding Normans. Although frightened to be abandoned nowhere near a settlement, eighteen years old trained scribe Caitrin rejects the offer as she scrambles for Whistling Tor. Two monks meet her and suggest the daughter of Berach ask for Tomas the innkeeper.
Whistling Tor is ruled by the cursed chieftain Anluan, whose name is whispered in repulsive horror. He was crippled as a child and has no hope for himself, his family, or his fortress as doom is everyone’s future.
That is until Caitrin arrives in his garden studying the HEART’S BLOOD. She is retained to archive the family library and other misplaced documents. Caitrin brings with her hope even for the ghosts who reside inside the fortress but especially Anluan. As the Normans invade, Caitrin knows she loves her employer and believes he reciprocates, but for their hearts to blend into one, she must find a way to lift the curse caused by ancient sorcery long forgotten.
This is an engaging Gaelic fantasy romance starring two fascinating reluctant souls. Whereas she was burned in marriage; he was burned by the ancestral curse. Obviously for fantasy romance fans, Juliet Marillier provides a wonderful tale of love with a wee touch of the paranormal. Harriet Klausner