When Wicked Craves
Petra Lang can never know the warm touch of another person whether it would be a lover or a friend. A hug is something she should never feel as one touch turns the nicest person into a snarling demonic beast. The Shadow Alliance leadership fears her curse will be used against them as she apparently has caused the prophecy of their deaths to begin. She must die before they die.
Vampire Nicholas Montegue rescues her from death as he needs her to save his friend Serge who she turned. However, her hero is turned into a beast. While the Alliance assassins chase them, the pair goes to his former mentor, an alchemist he betrayed centuries ago as their only hope. When she learns her death will save his friend, she willingly wants to die. However, he can no longer kill the woman he loves but can’t touch.
When J.K. Beck writes a romantic fantasy readers know the tale will prove great as affirmed by When Blood Calls and When Pleasure Rules. Her latest tale is a tense twisting thriller that comes across as a paranormal Gift of the Magi starring an adult Kitty Pryde of X-women fame and a fascinating frustrated hero. Sub-genre fans will crave impatiently for when the next visit to the Beckian universe occurs.
Wild Cards 1
George R.R. Martin (editor)
In 1946, Jetboy begins what looks like a suicide mission to save New York City from the Takisians invasion. The aliens plan to use Manhattan as a mass weapon experiment. He has “Thirty Minutes Over Broadway” (by Howard Waldrop) to prevent the tragedy; he fails.
While most died from the virus, nine percent suffered monstrous body changes and one percent became the super powerful beings – Jokers to some; Aces to others. When the bomb exploded he was a ninth grader who is ironically two decades later the “Sleeper” (by Roger Zelazny) who cannot allow himself to sleep; he has become a Wild Card like a few other survivors who must unite as the Swarm from space is coming to the Omni.
This is the opening tales from one of the great continuous superhero (and villain) anthologies. Ten of the entries were printed in the original first collection in 1987. There are three new contributions that fit nicely into this extremely dark world; in fact expand on the premise, especially the “Ghost Girl Takes Manhattan” by Carrie Vaughn. Although a couple of contributions feel awkward in terms of the overarching theme as if George R.R. Martin was still experimenting with Wild Aces, none of the entries are poorly written. This is a great return to the beginning of the fabulous Wild Cards Universe. Harriet Klausner
Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love
As they have done for centuries, the Belador protect humans from the others like demons. However, the Belador are not a tolerant species as half-breed Evalle Kincaid knows s first hand; being a scorned outsider by those she has lived with all her life. In fact, Evalle knows most of the tribe would prefer her dead or locked away as a half-breed is distrustful worthless trash and she more so as her heritage is unknown.
A demon attacks and claims a young woman. With no one else to blame, the tribe points at Evalle as a convenient scapegoat. Now she must prove her innocence knowing a clans person set her up and betrayed the tribe. At the same time Atlanta burns as rumor flies of an ancient powerful magical artifact surfacing. While her former tribe mates chase her in the underground of Atlanta, Evalle must prevent the day of reckoning that will begin the end of days for humans and Beladorans if demons obtains the magical stone before she possesses it and finds someplace safe to leave it.
The opening to the world of Belador is an exhilarating romantic urban (and rural) fantasy that makes this new realm seem real especially the interweaving in Utah and Atlanta. The story line contains several subplots that come together into a delightful cohesive tale though at times can be slowed down with the depth of this realm created by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love. Still with a strong cast especially the beleaguered outcast who has to save the world before she can save herself, fans will enjoy this terrific saga. Harriet Klausner