Star Wars Knight Errant
John Jackson Miller
Del Rey, Jan 25 2011, $7.99
A millennium before Skywalker became a galaxy name, the Sith traveled destructively across the Republic as everyone is considered a slave on a chain. No one except a Sith Lord would dare challenge any of these predatory superego maniacs who share in common the belief they are the dictators of the galaxy and collateral damage of innocent bystanders is desired as a means to control everyone.
In this brutal Dark Age, one light shines and that is Jedi Knight Errant Kerra Holt, who does not fear using the Force to destroy the Dark Lords. Her quest has made her Sith Lord public enemy number one; number two is each other. However, her battles with Lord Daiman who knows he created the universe in his image with a big bang and his older jealous brother Lord Odion who knows he destroyed the universe in his image with a big crunch suddenly seems minor. In Daiman’s capital Darknell, Kerra meets Narsk an Odionite enabler, which leads her to realize an interwoven diabolical family affair with previously unheard of modern technology rather than individual megalomaniac exists. She must find a way to divide and conquer amidst the chaos of combat.
Based on the Dark Horse comic book, Knight Errant is a fun Star Wars tale occurring even before Lord Bane. The story line is faster than the Force and loaded with action as obsessed Holt assumes everyone is her enemy though she knows she needs allies if she is to end the threat. The heroine is a sort of Paladin (from Have Gun Will Travel), but not for hire. Though none of the cast is developed beyond their prime trait, readers will enjoy Kerra’s saber butt kicking escapades in a Republic overwhelmed by incestuous infighting Sith Lords who bring new insanity to the meaning of the Dark Ages. Harriet Klausner
Allison Hewitt Is Trapped
St. Martin’s, Jan 18 2011, $14.99
The workers at Brooks and Peabody Bookstore are trapped inside as outside suddenly are a horde of zombies. None of those locked inside the store has the slightest idea what happened not just here but seemingly everywhere. Still the military manages to maintain the Internet.
One of the trapped employers Allison Hewitt begins to write a blog on what is happening to her and the others. She connects with other human survivors in her small town and elsewhere as the scope of the disaster proves pandemic. At the nearby community center Allison meets Collin, a married astronomy professor with an estranged wife who the zombies would fear. Dining on Doritos, they begin to plan a means of retaking the village back from the zombies.
This is a fun entry in the expanding Zombie universe as heroine Allison Hewitt Is Trapped in a world gone Undead insane. The story line is character driven mostly by the most famous (perhaps only) SNet blogger. Although a trip into zombie animal-infested woods seems more like a picnic than blood scary escapades, readers will enjoy blogging with Allison as the gore and guts vividly keep on coming. Harriet Klausner
Dial (Penguin), Mar 17 2011, $17.99
In the village of Stratton in Swampsea lives Briony, a person filled with self loathing. She blames herself for hurting her identical twin Rose and turning her into a child-like female. Briony holds herself culpable for the flood that swamped the parsonage where she lives with her sister and their father the pastor and the death of Stepmother who kept her secrets including the fact that she is a witch.
Loaded with overwhelming guilt and remorse, Briony assumes she is a witch too as she can communicate with the Old Ones who haunt the marshes as only witches and the Chime Child are capable of doing so. She also knows she is a witch because she casts spells as only a witch can.
Briony’s life radically changes when Eldric arrives in the village; he is body beautiful enhanced by his golden hair. He looks deep inside Briony and sees only goodness. Fearing how much he knows about her with his penetrating yellowish eyes that slowly reveal her zillions secrets including her being a witch; a person the villagers woud execute if they knew. Eldric remains resolute in his need to know what makes Briony tick so that he can persuade her she is not a monster.
Chime is an enchanting fantasy filled with magic, monsters, and a romance that breaks down defense mechanism barriers created over the years. Briony is a vulnerable person who feels deep emotions, a non-witch trait, that she conceals to hold back her deep rooted mental traumas. Told in the first person by Briony, her self loathing is a two edged sword as her self-hatred can overwhelm the reader and plot but also makes her a fascinating and unique protagonist in a refreshing tale.
Eos, Feb 22 2011, $$26.99
Rachel Morgan knows she is running out of time if she is to avoid execution or eternal exile into the demonic underground realm (see Black Magic Sanction). She has three days to get from Cincinnati to San Francisco where she then must prove her innocence of the capital offense of black demonic magic use at the annual witch convention. She knows how difficult her plea will be as the end never justifies the mean even when saving the world in the white and black magic world. However, she is on the no fly list so a plane is impossible as security will never let her board.
Drug lord Trent Kalamack is the elf who is sort of still in hiding and kind of helped her in her recent fiasco (see Black Magic Sanction) that has led to Rachel’s latest condemnation by the witch coven; he offers to chauffeur Rachel and her two BFFs Ivy and Jenks. She accepts though he has an agenda to recover something an ex stole. Their trek through ghost town America is haunting enough, but Ku'Sox the demon trails their not so joy ride.
Besides a strong urban fantasy, Pale Demon is much more jocular in tone than the previous few save the world epics (see White Witch, Black Curse ) while also providing a serious look at a segue of real American heritage, the disposable discard of anything including towns and other locales. The story line is as usual fast-paced even while driving and has what appears to be the beginning of the long waited romantic arc. Fans will relish Kim Harrison’s strong tale in one of the best series over the past decade. Harriet Klausner