Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fated, Iron Crowned and The Illumination reviewed

Rebecca Zanetti
Kensington Brava, Mar 1 2011, $14.00
ISBN 9780758259233

Plant physiologist Dr. Cara Paulsen is an empath raising her four years old child Janie by herself. The botanist will do anything to keep her beloved Janie, who has psychic skills, safe.

When stranger Talen Kayrs introduces himself, he insists he is protecting her and Janie. She assumes he is a lunatic, but Janie reassures her that he is legitimate. He also demands she marry him so his family will be obligated to protect both of the Paulsen’s as the Kurjans want females with special skills especially Janie. Extremely reluctant though Janie says otherwise, Cara refuses initially to marry him when she realizes the visitor is a three-century old vampire though his touch lights her on fire with desire.

Although the incongruous basis for the triangle relationship is over the top, readers will quickly ignore the opening encounters as talented Rebecca Zanetti provides an entertaining engaging paranormal romance. Fast-paced, readers will appreciate the efforts of the hero and the mommy, who as they fall in love, risk their lives to keep her gifted toddler safe from a nasty group who has long term eugenic plans for young females with special skills. Harriet Klausner

Iron Crowned
Richelle Mead
Zebra, Feb 22 2011, $7.99
ISBN 9781420111798

Being the Queen of Thorn Land should ease making a living but it does not as in reality it adds debts, which Eugenie Markham has learned since sitting on the throne (see Storm Born and Thorn Queen). Instead the Storm King’s offspring loves her powers including that of her sire, but loathes the responsibility and accountability that comes with the non-paying gig. In fact she pays the bills by doing mercury work as a shaman to the highest bidder.

The biggest issue, besides the fact that her child is foretold to conquer mankind, is the ruthless lethal war with Queen Katrice that Eugenie wants ended. She also has male issues as her former lover Kiyo the shapeshifter wants back in her life and Fairy King Dorian wants to sire that prophesized offspring with her. Eugenie considers obtaining the mystical Iron Crown to end the combat but fears what she knows of the artifact. The two men offer to help her, but she distrusts both of them.

The key to the entertaining Dark Swan fantasy series (see Thorn Queen) is Eugenie may be an adept shaman for hire to the highest bidder, but the ruler is also a terrible leader. Her incompetence makes her ironically seem human. Loaded with action, the road to hell is filled with misadventures as Queenie Eugenie seeks the legendary Iron Crown with two males sniffing at her legendary uterus. Harriet Klausner

The Illumination
Kevin Brockmeier
Pantheon, Feb 1 2011, $24.95
ISBN: 9780375425318

One night just like any other suddenly The Illumination miraculously occurs as any wound on any person suddenly shines with a glow. The light shows how battered and bruised humanity truly is; as no one remains illuminated-free. During the beginning of The Illumination, Carol Ann is in the hospital due to a sliced off thumb. During anesthesia she bites her inner mouth adding a second injury. After surgery she shares a room with Patricia who along with her husband Jason were in a car accident due to ice. Patricia gives Carol Ann a book of love poems Jason wrote to his spouse. The woman assumes her husband is dead so she gives the book to Carol Ann before she dies.

Jason wants to see Carol Ann. Soon afterward battered child Chuck Carter breaks into Jason’s home and steals his journal of love. He passes the journal to evangelist Ryan Shifrin who wonders about humanity’s mental and physical sufferings under a benign God. The love tome soon passes on to Nina Poggione.

This is a powerful tale that focuses on humanity’s pain and suffering yet with a glimmer of hope as Kevin Brockmeier uses six degrees of separation to make a case that mankind is always tied together with one another even if it is for evanescent moments. The key to this tale that in some ways reads more like a short story collection as the focus shifts to the current book bearer is that the six prime stars seem real as each suffers from mental and physical injuries yet like The Illumination, Jason’s book of love shines through tying each to one another. Character driven, readers will appreciate the Illumination into the collective soul of mankind. Harriet Klausner

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