Monday, August 23, 2010

A Classic, A Collection and an Urban Fantasy

The Word for World Is Forest
Ursula K. Le Guin
Tor, Jul 6 2010, $11.99
ISBN: 9780765324641

In the far future on the pristine world of New Tahiti is a wilderness Eden that Captain Davidson and other earthlings want to exploit for profit. He has already begun cutting down the trees. If it means the primitives die so be it as collateral damage often occurs when yumans conquer Mother Nature.

The native Athsheans are horrified over being massacred and enslaved. However, the vilest crime by the off-worlders is destroying the forest as their Word for World is Forest. Fearful of this new powerful God who is brutal on their former forest deity and on them, the Athsheans know there is little they can do but obey as violence is not in their make-up although Selver tries to lead an insurgency, which only further threatens his people’s way of life.

This book was published over thirty years ago; long before Avatar. The story line is fast-paced while using a science fiction base to make a case that the “White Man’s Burden” left Africa ruined and places like Tahiti devastated. Still relevant after all these decades, readers will appreciate Ursula Le Guin’s classic novella of bloodthirsty avaricious outsiders destroying a peaceful Eden for profit.
Harriet Klausner

Dark and Stormy Knights
Edited by P. N. Elrod
St. Martin’s Griffin, $14.99
ISBN: 9780312598341

This fine nine urban fantasy collection focuses on dark knights who protect the innocent and the not innocent from dark nights. The anthology contains five strong entries and four solid contributions. The best two tales are “Even Hand” by Jim Butcher with a Dresden connection as his enemy Marcone has a grudge match with an inhuman sorcerer and Carrie Vaughn’s “God’s Creatures” with a Kitty connection as Cormac the hunter searches for a werewolf at a reform school. Also top quality are "Even a Rabbit Will Bite" by Rachel Caine starring a dragon slayer who faces unemployment and a fear what next since her prey are almost extinct; Vicki Pettersson’s Shifting Star has a female lead who stalks a predator kidnapping young girls; and Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels assigned to protect “A Questionable Client”. The entertaining compilation also includes fun tales from Shannon K. Butcher, P.N. Elrod (a Jack Fleming thriller), Deidre Knight and Lilith Saintcrow.
Harriet Klausner

Almost To Die For
Tate Hallaway
NAL, $9.99
ISBN: 9780451230577

In St. Paul, Anastasija Parker has known for a long time that her mom is a witch; she has doubts about being a chip off the mother block. On her sweet sixteenth birthday she learns the truth about her dad; whom Ana thought was a deadbeat loser.

As she now knows the first part of the compound word deadbeat sort of applies to her father. He visits her demanding she join him in her rightful spot next to the king of the vampires, dead undead dad. Her mom pleads with her to inherit only her bewitching half while her dad claims her blood flows royally albeit tainted. As she struggles with high school, two boys sort of want her. One is a witch; the other is a vampire.

Mindful of the Jennifer Scales series by MaryJanice Davidson and Anthony Alongi, the first Vampire Princess urban fantasy is a great young adult thriller. Ana is wonderful holding the opening tale together as she learns the truth about her DNA and the war between the vampires and the witches in an up front and personal way as her parents are preparing for open combat as are two male teens who want her as their respective girlfriend. With an amusing tongue in cheek biting story line, readers will enjoy Almost To Die For as the beleaguered heroine muses high school was hard enough before learning she is wanted as a royal hybrid. Harriet Klausner

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