Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving and Reviews

Thanksgiving wishes to all. I'm thankful for the readers and the writers and Harriet for passing her reviews to me for posting here.

I'll be taking a few days off he take care of Kathy and do some cooking for the Holiday.

Again, thanks to everyone.

Andrea Cremer
Philomel (Penguin), $17.99
ISBN: 9780399254826

The Keepers have already ordained the joining of two Guardians from different werewolf packs Calla Tor leader of the Nightshade clan and Ren Laroche leader of the Bane clan once she graduates from the Mountain School. Everyone wonders who between these two alphas will be top dog.

While on patrol looking to insure their enemy the Searchers are not lingering nearby, Callie breaks a key law of the Guardians when she rescues a human boy from a bear attack that meant certain death. Callie and Shay break a second rule when they become friends. However, though forbidden, Callie abetted by her human friend Shay ignores another taboo when she investigates the secrets of the Keepers.

Much more complicated than the above, Nightshade is a fabulous young adult romantic mountain fantasy in which the triad of species (in addition to the humans) seems genuine as werewolves and others roam Colorado. In some ways a coming of age tale, but more a rebel with a cause, Calla is terrific as she holds the plot together while suddenly breaking the laws of the Keepers after her whole life dedicated to strict adherence. Attracted to the fully developed key two males in her life, fans will wonder how far she will go between her desire for Shay and Ren. Harriet Klausner

Tome of the Undergates
Sam Sykes
PYR, $17.00
ISBN: 9781616142421

They are a band loathed and feared by everyone else. They take only jobs that no one else even considers as that is the only work they can get. These mercenaries are not a band of brothers (and sisters) in arms as they detest one another. Their leader by default is Lenk the swordsman whose prime job is to prevent Denaos the thug, Asper the priestess, Dreadaelon the wizard, Gariath the dragonman, and Kataria the shict from killing each other especially when they are on the job.

Their current assignment is to protect a Priest while searching for the stolen by an oceanic malevolence Tome of the Undergates as they sail on the Riptide. Cragsmen of the vessel Linkmaster attack their vessel, but the six defeat the pirates though thy are incredibly outnumbered. However that is a forerunner as soon the sextet will learn what their greed means as they are caught in the crosshairs of a war in which the hell beneath the sea wants to dominate the world.

This is an entertaining seafaring fantasy filled with plenty of adventures. The story line is loaded with action as the six fight adversaries including each other. The back stories of each are well written and interesting though their tales slow down the pace of the oceanic fantasy and in spite of their diversity reads somewhat interchangeable. Still fans will enjoy the opening Tome of the Undergates. Harriet Klausner

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe
Charles Yu
Pantheon, $25.00
ISBN: 9780307379207

In Minor Universe 31, time travel is a way of life as is paradoxes caused by someone tinkering with the past. Time technician Charles Yu fixes the stupid actions of those wanting change without comprehending the consequences. He councils these idiots, but does so calmly even when he tries to pacify his harried boss Phil.

Yu visits his mother, who is trapped in a life of one-hour in which she prepares dinner infinitely. He still seeks his father who invented the machines that enable time travel, but vanished while testing his gizmos. Accompanied by TAMMY the operating system with Yu’s personality (to include a lack of self-worth) and Ed the imaginary ontological canine, he continues his personal quest to meet and talk with his dad; having gained hope by a book he will one day author, How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe.

This is an intriguing time travel science fiction tale starring a stay out of trouble extremist (think of Columbus in most of the movie Zombieland) who as a bureaucrat quietly rectifies the mistakes of others while searching for his lost dad to have a father-son chat. The story line feels like a Moebius series of loops so is difficult to follow yet quite fun to do so. Although the climax is abrupt and seemingly out of character for the safety only lead protagonist, SF fans who enjoy something radically different will want to read Charles Yu’s escapades in time and space. Harriet Klausner

The Silent Army
James Knapp
Roc, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451463616

In a dark and bleak future, science has progressed to the point where the deceased can be revived and function mentally with recall of their past though their bodies remain dead. Revivors are used as soldiers fighting endless wars on the other side of the world and nanotech stops decay and repairs. Samuel Fawkes is a Revivor who is battling the establishment because he believes that reprogrammed memories are part of the population and can only be accessed when a person dies and becomes a Revivor.

He goes one step further as he thinks a solid data base will back up his theory that a shadow government controls the minds of most f the population. Fawkes, who though a Revivor, controls all the other Revivors, which means he has an army he is amassing while obtaining twelve nuclear bombs that he intends to explode to make a statement. FBI Agent Nico Wachalowsloski is assigned to find the bombs and other weapons of mass destruction while other operatives look for the ship importing Reviveors from foreign locations.

Military zombies are not a new concept (see World War Z by Max Brooks), but made fresh due to the lead adversaries as Fawkes may be a reanimated corpse but is also a strategic and operational thinker, and Nico believes Revivors have feelings. Heroic Nico especially risks his life to save a friend and dreads the confrontation that he knows is coming between him and Fawkes on a logical level and on a personal level the love of his life Faye Dasalia who is a loyal to Fawkes Revivor. Readers will enjoy this science fiction as caring Nico believes Samuel is a terrorist while on the contrary Samuel believes he is a freedom fighter. Harriet Klausner

C.E. Murphy
Del Rey, $15.00
ISBN: 9780345516060

In Boston Lara Jansen trusts her intuition so while working at a tailor shop, her hairs leap up when a handsome man enters. He insists he is Prince Dafydd ap Caerwyn of the faerie and she is a Truthseeker; a rare individual who is more accurate than a lie detector in determining truth from fabrication. She believes him as he stinks at his day job of meteorologist. He pleads with her to come to his home to help ascertain who murdered his brother.

She accompanies the attractive prince through a portal into faerie. There she is stunned when she finds herself in the middle of a Seelie civil war as her irresistible companion failed to reveal this and apparently there are other secrets he conceals. Meanwhile someone in the shadows uses magic to further the dispute, which leaves two realms, Faeirie and Earth, in peril.

Truthseeker, the first of a two book fantasy, is a terrific opening act as C.E. Murphy sets the stage with a strong secretive royal and a special pragmatic human. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the heroine steps through the window into Faerie and never slows down. Fans will appreciate this strong fantasy due to Lara, a wonderful Red Sox in a Faerie prince court. Harriet Klausner

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