Wednesday, October 20, 2010

An Artificial Night, Secret of the Dragon's Claw and Will Power reviews

Will Power
A.J. Hartley
Tor, Sep 14 2010, $24.99
ISBN: 9780765321251

The Diamond Empire guards have Will Hawthorne and his gang of thieves at the Waterman, he knows they are lost as the doors crash open. However, they escape as they scatter across the city. Will owes his life to Mithos. At the Fisherman’s Arms, they meet Ambassador Linassi who manages to get them out of the city.

When Linassi’s coach stops, Will or Mithos has no idea where they are as this land is different than anything he has ever seen. He and his comrade are welcomed by the Fair Folk who are at war with the Goblins. Since the fair Folk are very nice to them and look human while the enemy looks like a horror version of Goblins, the outsiders assume they are on the side of the good guys. However, Will begins to doubt what he initially accepted as gospel although the beer is quite good.

This is a superb tale as the antihero manages to land in one misadventure after another. The story line is incredibley fast-paced and the incidents purposely exaggerated. With the jocular escapades, fans will toast (with beer of course) as A.J. Hartley cleverly weaves throughout the strong saga a warning to never judge a book by its cover as Will begins to wonder who the monsters truly are. Harriet Klausner

Secret of the Dragon's Claw
Derek Hart
iUniverse, Apr 2010, $16.95
ISBN: 9781450224239

In wintry 1941, Hitler’s air force is bombing England as the Americans enter the war due to the Pearl Harbor attack. A trio of fourteen years old buddies (Gavin Kane, Emily Scott, and Bunty Digby) are friends with eccentric dragon Sir Thaddeus Osbert, who knows his human allies have a specially destiny.

In Germany, Himmler has a black dragon that he uses on missions against the allies. He also uses the dark arcane arts egged on by an invisible apparition to open a rift between worlds. Himmler makes a pact with the dark witch Agnes Olmorri, who once fought against King Arthur. She journeys to England to cause havoc from within. Meanwhile former powerful wizard Lanken Rune is helpless except for his new allies, a sugar addicted dragon and three teens, as he lost his staff Elizabeth and his skills. Yet in his true form takes on Agnes while the Nazis come ever closer to blitzing England.

Adults and young readers will appreciate the third spellbinding Secret of the Dragon World War II fantasy (see Secret of the Dragon’s Breath and Secret of the Dragon’s Eye). Sir Thaddeus is great unique character determined to protect England though the Dragon’s Council forbids his interference. Lanken has learned the hard way Lord Acton’s theory that that power corrupts as he is freed from a lengthy imprisonment while the three teens find out what their destinies are. Derek Hart continues his deep urban historical fantasy saga rooted in the impact of the war on North Cornwall. Harriet Klausner

An Artificial Night
Seanan McGuire
DAW, Sep 7 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780756406264

Half-fae detective Sir Toby Daye the changeling is stunned and despondent to meet May Daye, a magical doppelganger whose encounter means the sleuth’s death will come shortly. Even before she reacts to meeting the Fetch, she learns the Lord of the Wild Hunt Blind Michael has abducted numerous fae and human children as a source to replace his depleted riders.

Since some of the kidnapped are part of her extended family, an outraged Toby plans to challenge Blind Michael though that is a very dangerous notion as there are three roads to this powerful essence, but none can be used twice. She tracks him on the deadly Faerie Roads which is his element and on the streets of San Francisco, which sadly is also his element. On her treacherous quest, Toby is renewed with new supporters risking their lives to further the chance of success of her mission.

The third October Daye (see Rosemary and Rue, and A Local Habitation) is a fabulous private investigative urban fantasy. Toby, who has been burned by both sides of her DNA, is foolishly brave, kick butt tough and spunky sass as she traverses the roads of no return; while knowing deep in her soul failure could prove worse than death because she might be trapped as part of the Wild Hunt. An Artificial Night is a strong Noir due to the heroine and her tours of San Francisco and the land of Fairie as she works a perilous abduction case. Harriet Klausner

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