Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fantastical Tales Reviewed

A Certain Wolfish Charm
Lydia Dare
Sourcebooks, Apr 6 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9781402236945

In 1816 Lily Rutledge worries about the radical change in behavior of her twelve year old ward Lord Oliver Westfield. She has sent letters to the lad’s guardian Duke Simon Westfield demanding he get involved in his nephew’s life, but she doubts the wastrel reads her missives as he only sends her money and besides he is too busy chasing skirts.

Lily decides the time for confrontation with the womanizing duke has passed. She goes to his home Blackmoor, but is stunned when Simon, realizing what is happening to his nephew, orders her to leave while he takes Oliver into his home. Simon plans to mentor Oliver on what it means to be a Westfield as puberty is bringing out the werewolf gene. Lily refuses to leave because she loves Oliver who calls Her "Aunt Lily" while she thinks of him as her son; nor will she abandon Oliver to a beast who failed to recognize him as blood. However, as Simon and Lily fight their attraction to one another, they fall in love, but he conceals his wolfish tendencies while she becomes more concerned over the physical and emotional changes to Oliver.

This is an entertaining werewolf Regency romantic cozy starring two seemingly cross-starred lead characters who share in common the belief that Oliver comes before their needs. The story line is emotional intense at times but only when Oliver struggles to cope with his hormonal changes especially the monthly need that seems like a werewolf’s PMS. Fans will enjoy this fine historical romance as the author daringly combines the paranormal within an amiable story line. Harriet Klausner

Ghosts of Manhattan
George Mann
Pyr, Apr 27 2010, $16.00
ISBN: 9781616141943

In 1926 Queen Victoria has just died but the Cold War between her kingdom and America remains heated. Violence in the big cities of the United States is rampant as the Twenties are Roaring with murders. In that wake the Ghost walks the city streets of Manhattan with a vengeance. He kills people employed by mobster Roman whose Italian-American gang is particularly known for their brutality and violence. The vigilante’s calling card is an ancient Roman coin left on the eyes of those he murders.

Police detective Felix Donovan is well aware of the Roman mob and the vigilante who stalks them. Each in his belief are criminals. However, though he would prefer to bring Roman and the Ghost to justice, he makes little headway. Meanwhile as the Ghost closes in on Roman, the vigilante learns first hand his adversary is using paranormal connections and fears the end game is to bring a deadly God into the city.

Although comic book gory over the top of the Empire State Building, Ghosts of Manhattan is an entertaining superhero steampunk fantasy that will remind the audience of Darkman. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the Ghost stalks Roman’s legion and never slows down until the climax with half of Manhattan at stake. Although the plot never quite decides between lampooning the two sub-genres and action thriller, readers will enjoy the High Noon over New York war between the vigilante and the mobster with eerie connections. Harriet Klausner

Jenna Black
St. Martin’s Griffin, May 25 2010, $9.99
ISBN: 9780312575939

One has to travel to London to reach Avalon; the only place where Faerie and the mortal realms converge. It is a sovereign nation similar to how the Vatican is its own country within Rome. Mortals can journey to Avalon but not the Faerie who can only remain in Avalon. Magic and technology work in Avalon but only the latter works in the human realm.

Dana Hathaway is the sixteen year old child of an alcoholic who keeps her daughters away from Avalon and her father. Finally Dana gets so disgusted with her mother’s behavior; she enters Faeirie to meet her father Seamus for the first time. When she arrives she learns her father is in jail and her Aunt Grace kidnaps her. Two Faerie siblings, Ethan and Kimber, rescue Dana but they too have their own agenda. They realize she is a Faeriewalker, who can traverse both worlds, which according to her dad when they meet makes her a powerful weapon and brings about a strong interest by all residents of Avalon. Ethan’s father, Grace and Seamus want to be the next Consul and Grace would be a great weapon in anyone's arsenal. Where she lives impacts faerie politics as Dana must be protected from those who want to use her and those who want to kill her.

Young adult readers who enjoy the fantasies of the Cast team or that Alyson Noel will relish Glimmerglass. Jenna Black spellbinds and enthralls her readers who initially like the heroine, want to know why Dana’s mom fears her daughter’s sire she became an alcoholic, drinking and relocating all the time to elude his reach. After meeting him and better understanding the realm of magical politics, fans will remain enthralled as Dana starts to understand what motivates the paternal side of her family. She trusts no one to protect her interests. With a strong climax and more to follow, fans will want to follow the adventures of the teenage Faeriewalker.
Harriet Klausner

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