Crown of Crystal Flame
Avon, Oct 26 2010, $7.99
At a time when the adversary, the malevolent Eld Mages, seems not just ready to attack, but overwhelmingly poised to win, the alliance between the Fey and Celieran splinters. At the same they fear their side will break apart the alliance, Rain Tairen Soul and Ellysetta Baristani struggle on a personal issue as they have failed to finish their mating bond, which if not done soon will lead to their deaths.
Meanwhile the Malevolent High Mage Vadim Maur knows his scheme is working as everything is coming together. The conquest has begun as his evil horde marches across the fading lands killing anything in their way and leaving wanton destruction behind. Ellysetta refuses to give up on love, on her people, on the alliance and on herself as she plans to write her destiny in order to save those she cherishes.
The finale to the great Tairen Song saga is a superb climax to the strong quartet. Somehow C.L. Wilson ties up the overarching fantasy on a larger than life plane yet this brilliant author also provides a deep personal look at the key players in a desperate quest to save their world risking their lives. Only the love between Rain Tairen Soul and Ellysetta Baristani keeps this pair going against the hopelessness of the overwhelming darkness that engulfs their world. Harriet Klausner
Twilight Forever Rising
Tor, Sep 28 2010, $15.99
In 2004, a prime reason the Dahanavar vampire clan is one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, of the ruling ten bloodsucker families is the unnatural skills of Darel even with each brood have all sorts of mages and paranormal aptitudes. He is an extraordinary empath who can read emotion and at times thoughts. Thus his brood knows ahead time what their rivals are plotting although for centuries there has been an uneasy peace as the various clans enjoy mutual prosperity not overt hostility.
However the feral chieftain Miklosh of the House of Nachterret believes his rivals are weak settling for shadows. The chief wants world domination, but step one is to eliminate Darel before he learns of the nefarious multifaceted plot. Once the mind reader is dead, the clans will fall next and then the rest of the sentient races especially the human sustenance will follow as he believes vampires are the highest step on the food chain and Nachterret are the acme of them all. The key to destroy Darel is through Lenore, the human female he cherishes.
This is a super translation of a Russian vampire thriller in which the Meydan world of competing vampire clans to include special paranormal ones comes across as genuine. Darel is the focus of the first Vampire Clans saga as Nachterret knows he must be murdered, but to do so Malevolent Miklosh needs a specific expendable human pawn. The relationship between Lenore and Darel seems undeveloped especially as this is the catalyst behind what the hero's actions are and what happens between the Ten vampire clans as manipulated by Miklosh. Harriet Klausner
Betrayer of Worlds
Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner
Tor, Oct 12 2010, $25.99
The Puppeteers sort of lead the mass exodus of the “Fleet of Worlds” away from the supernova spreading increasingly wider at an accelerating speed from the galaxy’s core. Even in flight, some choose fight. Achilles though humiliated with his failed machinations proving embarrassing still believes he is destined to rule the Puppeteer worlds.
The feral genocidal Pak also flees the core; they willingly stop to attack other species especially the weak Fleet of Worlds running for their lives. The Gw’oth whose technological advances in the past two centuries (local time) is impossible yet continues to exponentially grow; they stand in the way of the fleeing Fleet of Worlds. Finally, the rebellious pathetic humans on Nature Preserve Four embarrass the cowardly Puppeteers as these apes are barely out of the caves. Desperation breeds strange bedfellows as insane Puppeteer scout Nessus recruits pill addicted human prisoner Wu and joins with megalomaniac Achilles to forge a partnership to end the war of all wars between three diverse alien races at a time when everyone needs to herd together to leave the galaxy post haste.
The latest prequel saga to the Ringworld Known Space science fiction series (see Destroyer of Worlds) is a strong complicated entry (even with a glossary, names are a mess to follow) as four sentient species are on the verge of when worlds collide. Ironically in spite of the obvious superiority of the three alien races, the human Wu and the insane puppeteer Nessus understand that cooperation is the only means of survival with the supernova coming; as either all four races endure together or die. Fans will enjoy learning why Wu was wooed years later in Ringworld as Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner provide a strong entry; newcomers need to at least read the prequel tales like Juggler of Worlds to ascertain the galaxy meltdown. Harriet Klausner