Monday, January 24, 2011
Law of the Broken Earth, Black Wings, and Alien Tango reviewed
Law of the Broken Earth
In Feierabiand, her family ignored Mienthe as a child. In fact the gardener was the adult who served as a surrogate parent raising her. That changes when her older cousin Lord Bartaud (see Land of the Burning Sands) takes her under his wings.
Soon afterward, Bartaud's griffin mage friend Kairaithin arrives to inform him that the Wall that separates the land of the fierce griffin from the human kingdoms is splintering. As Bartaud ponders what to do evil Istierinan captures Tan the spy threatening him with torture. Meanwhile Mienthe struggles with her new lot in life as she finds becoming important within a family has a price. She is uncomfortable with learning her magical prowess at a time when her latent skills are needed.
The third Griffin Mage (see Lord of the Changing Winds) is a strong coming of age fantasy starring a wonderful reluctant heroine who prefers to be ignored as that is her comfort zone, but that is not longer an option. The Neumeier universe is cleverly drawn so that the audience will believe in the physics of magic and the wall coming down. The cast is strong except for somewhat the super villain who is too stereotypical of the genre. Still fans will relish the Law of the Broken Earth as Rachel Neumeier provides a powerful vivid realm anchoring a fabulous story line.
Ace, Nov 30 2010, $7.99
In Chicago, Madeline Black is an Agent of Death who helps guide souls pass from one existence to the next. She likes her job as the benefits include magical skills and wings, but gets irritated with her know-it-all boss who is more a bureaucrat than chief of the Death Agent units.
Maddy is stunned when her peer and friend Agent Patrick is murdered. Even more shocking is demons are stalking her wanting her dead too. Finally she thinks there is something peculiar about Gabriel Angeloscuro, her new tenant. However, staying alive is her first imperative as she considers who in her family tree inherits the job if she dies, which is very possible as hell has come for her and other Agents of Death, and learning why is second.
This is an entertaining urban fantasy starring an intriguing heroine whose blood line includes some odd creatures. The support cast is strong especially Madeline’s boss J.B., the enigmatic Gabe and Beezle the suspicious gargoyle. Madeline keeps the tale focused whether she is arguing with the death bureaucracy or new clients, or just trying to get demons off her lawn. The soul-eater serial killer mystery adds to an engaging Chicago joyride as courageous Madeline fears this unknown adversary but goes after the lethal beast. Harriet Klausner
DAW, Dec 7 2010, $7.99
Kitty Katt muses how in a flash one’s perception of the world can radically tilt. Although it was six months ago, it seems just yesterday she learned of the A-C aliens from Alpha Centauri who reside among us purebred earthlings. Now the former marketing manager is undergoing rapid training as part of the Human/A-C Airborne Centaurion Division. Kitty also appreciates the side benefit of lovemaking with A-C Commander Jeff Martini.
The Kennedy Space Center brass orders their unit to come immediately. An experimental space ship has returned to Earth when the vessel was not supposed to. On the trek to Florida, a hit squad tries to kill Jeff, Kitty and their team. At the Space center, a stalker frightens Kitty, but her biggest fear is meeting Jeff’s family.
The second kill Kitty Katt science fiction thriller (see Touched by an Alien) is an amusing over the top of Olympus Mons thriller. The story line is faster than the speed of light as the heroine struggles to stay alive while threats from ETs and from earthlings seem to be her constant companion. Readers will enjoy this bizarre totally out of control yet fully entertaining “aliens walk among us” adventures of a novice still trying to comprehend all that is going on. Harriet Klausner