Friday, June 25, 2010

Interesting Reviews

Dog Blood
David Moody
Dunne, Jun 8 2010, $23.95
ISBN: 9780312532888

The world as we know it no longer exists. The human race is divided into two distinct camps: the Unchanged and the Haters. The latter are people ripped of all social restraints and must kill the Unchanged. Their goal is an Unchanged genocide. The Haters have caused governments to collapse destroying the infrastructure of every nation. They still can think but obsess over killing the Unchanged even family members.

Danny McCoyne is a Hater who hunts the Unchanged without mercy. His goal is to find his daughter Ellis who was taken away from him when he was knocked unconscious after killing his father-in-law. Before he passed out, he saw her and knows she is just like him. The government has relocated the Unchanged inside cities filled with traps like a medieval fortress. Danny falls in with a group that seeks the same destruction as he does. He learns to control his homicidal impulses so he can enter the city because his Ellis is there.

This intelligent apocalyptic chiller is a fantastic horror tale that continues the escapades of the Haters, who are a zombie like humanoids. The species cannot control their basic impulse to slaughter the Unchanged though Danny tries as his love for Ellis supersedes his instinct to kill. Though lacking the cautionary theme of its predecessor, but with the same moody dark atmosphere and a strange flicker of paternal love and hope, Dog Blood is a terrific zombie thriller that affirms David Moody as a strong talent. Harriet Klausner

The Passage
Justin Cronin
Ballantine, Jun 8 2010, $27.00
ISBN: 9780345504968

Another major hurricane has turned New Orleans and the surrounding gulf into a dead zone. The war on terrorism is failing as the enemy recruits faster than the Americans and their puppeteers can kill them. Other futile fronts leave the only superpower teetering.

In the Amazon rainforest, a miracle has been found; a viral that can turn a good soldier into a Captain America super soldier. Those selected as guinea pigs fail to become Captain America; instead the scientists ignored the side effect of them becoming blood sucking super killers. FEMA declares an emergency and begins warehousing people inside safety zones. America and the world need a superhero before human extinction occurs. In that mode arises thirteen years old shy Amy Harper Bellafonte living in a nunnery. She is mankind’s only hope as places like The Colony find their technological defenses failing with the super monsters chomping outside the gates.

Jumping into the Stoker side of vampire tales, The Passage is a terrific horror thriller that paints a grim futuristic atmosphere. Humans survive behind electronic barriers while the man-made super monsters own the streets. That grim picture controls much of the exciting story line with a neat spin of the heroic John Wayne type being a reticent young teenage “Joan Wayne”. Providing a cautionary underlying theme with a nod to Pogo’s “we have met the enemy and they are us”, Justin Cronin paints a gloomy viral red future; yet with a slight optimism as the Zager and Evans song In the Year 2525 says: “now man’s reign is through but through eternal night, the twinkling of starlight …” Harriet Klausner

The Time Weaver
Shana Abe
Bantam, Jun 1 2010, $23.00
ISBN: 9780553806861

In 1782 Drakon clan member Honor Carlisle cannot explain why she has always felt like an outsider. That is until the letter arrives that explains all to her. The sender is Honor and the receiver is also Honor. Eleven months four days into the future Honor Carlisle sent back the explanatory note that claims she is a Time Weaver, the only one born to the Drakon.

The letter warns her to leave her home Darkfirth or die. Heeding the advice of her future self, she flees to Spain and begins to practice time weaving that enables her to move into the past and future with strict rules of physics that her uncanny ability cannot break. However, she is attracted to a Drakon from a rival sect Prince Alexandru of Zaharen. They are soulmates, but destiny proclaims their love deadly to the Drakon; in 1782 she is trying to save her dragon shifting people while in the future she is destroying her dragon shifting people.

The latest Drakon romantic fantasy (see Queen of Dragons and The Treasure Keeper) is a super thriller with a brilliant refreshing time travel twist of having the same person as heroine and villainess. Honor is terrific in the dual roles as she comes across as real in both eras. Although the climax feels off kilter for this deep character driven entry (read to understand why), Shana Abe provides her audience with a great novel. Harriet Klausner

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