Juno, Apr 2010, $7.99
In a shopping center in Beloit, Amazon Queen Zery and several of her tribe women manage to tale a baby away from two male Sons. However, before they can bring the infant to safety, they apparently lose the child back to a Son. Thus her leadership is challenged insidiously yet serendipitously by her supposed top advisor the High Priestess, who wants to be the Queen as does a newcomer. The Council offers no advice to her.
Matters turn ugly for Zery when not only is she removed from the throne by the Council and replaced by her alleged ally, but a Son she is attracted to admits to spying on her for five years. Furthermore, Zery has doubts that the old ways that has kept the Amazons superior to mankind work anymore as the Sons prove organized and their equal except with a greater thirst for destroying their female counterparts as they know first hand the gender cleansing done by their mothers. While Zery feels as if she fits nowhere; she fears for her race because of the internal squabble threatening to split the Amazons as much as the external threat from the Sons, but she feels hopeless to do anything about it..
The sequel to Amazon Ink is a terrific urban fantasy that focuses on the two disputes that place the Amazons in jeopardy. Zery tries to deal with both, but is kicked aside not by incompetence but by opportunism. She is a wonderful lead character who is no longer sure which threat is most dangerous to her people’s existence. Ironically her tribe and the Sons look at humanity as beneath them; yet she understands the threat caused by technology. Although there is a relatively minor romantic subplot; that takes a back seat to the prime story line of what will happen now that Zery’s word is no longer law. Harriet Klausner
St. Martin’s Griffin, Jun 2010, $17.99
In New Orleans lives fourteen year old Nick Gautier whose mother is a stripper and whose father killed people in the double digits. He sees the world like most mortals, but soon the filter will be lifted from his eyes; enabling him to observe the preternatural world, the good and the bad. Both sides will want him for their own purposes because he possesses powers that have not yet been tapped, which means whatever side he picks,the dark or the light, will deploy him as a powerful weapon.
When Nick chooses to prevent his friends from robbing and killing two elderly tourists, Night Hunter Kyrian Hunter saves his life by rushing him to the hospital. He also pays the bill and gives him a hefty salary intending to make him a squire later on. Nick is unaware of most of Kyrian’s plans, but he gets a close-up glimpse of the dark side when students are turned into living zombies who hunt him while eating people. He is only one of many who note the changes in the people turned zombies but he may be the only hope they have to find a way return them back into carefree teens.
Expanding on her mythos, Sherrilyn Kenyan has another hit series with “The Chronicles of Nick”, which targets young adults but also will be appreciated by the Night Hunter audience fans of all ages. The affluent students who attend scholarship Nick’s new private school, their parents and the faculty believe Nick and his mom are trailer trash; however he refuses to let them put him down as he adores and admires his mom so their opinion and snide asides mean nothing except to toughen him. He will need that mental toughness and thick skin in his new vocation as readers will enjoy the teen exploits of Nick the hunter squire in training.
The War of the Dwarves
Orbit, Apr 2010, $15.99
Tungdil Bolofar the dwarf has become a legend amidst the various species like the Dwarves, Elves and humans after he led their side to victory over the Nod’onn. Everyone knows defeat would mean genocide with the total destruction of Girdlegard.
The hero hopes to rest somewhat on his laurels but remain vigilant. Tungdil is aware of how precarious the triumph is as the Alfs and the Bognilim Black Water immortal Orcs still plot to drive the Dwarves and humans out of their position of power. He also hears whispers that the demi-god Avatars are preparing to invade from the Outerlands to ethnically cleanse what they believe is evil. However, it is what he does not know yet is that the biggest threat of all are the blood thirsty lethal Thirdlings Dwarves ho are planning a violent coup d’etat.
The follow up to The Dwarves is a super fantasy that expands the Heitz mythology for instance with the addition of the Freeling Dwarves and the new malevolence. The story line moves at a terrific pace on sea, land and underground as the hero of the previous war is back dealing with another nasty menace and treachery from within. The War of the Dwarves is a strong saga as the key cast including the bad dudes seem genuine while the political and social structure of the species enhance the incredibly action packed fantasy.