The Griffin's War
Ace, Feb 22 2011, $7.99
The destroyer of the Eyrie of Eagleholm, Arenadd Taranisaii remains incarcerated in a dungeon. Once he was a free Northerner bonded to a griffin and once he was a slave, but in both cases when he was called Arren Cardockson he was the victim of de facto racism. Now he is a lunatic singing all day and night. His guards have no idea how to deal with the maniac who as a kraeai kran ae lacks a heart.
Though he fears the consequences of his vow to his people’s dark deity Arenadd pledges his life to the Night God, which enables him to wander the shadows unseen. Using this skill, he escapes from his Southern imprisonment. He heads back to his northern people accompanied by his bonded The Dark Griffin ready to lead a revolt against an oppressive south. Only Errian and one other Arenadd stands in his way.
The finish to the Fallen Moon fantasy (see The Griffin’s Flight) is a strong climax to a fabulous trilogy. Arren has “evolved” into Arenadd believing that his former essence is dead since the curse cost him his heart. Loaded with battle action, but anchored by a profound look at a stifling caste society in which political (power) gains supersede people needs. Fans will relish the last war of the being with no heart while wondering whether the curse physically removed his heart or society metaphysically makes him a heartless fiend greater and less than human. Harriet Klausner
Signet, Mar 1 2011, $7.99
House of Dragons wizard Gray Calhoun is the guardian of Nevermore, Texas with the Census Bureau proclaiming the population in triple digits. However, since his wife betrayed him to a demon, he has neglected his duties as he no longer cares about responsibility.
His former impoverished sister-in-law House of Ravens witch Lucinda Rackmore arrives in Nevermore. She is cursed and needs Gray’s help, as her former lover betrayed her by extinguishing her magical abilities. Now everyone loathes the Rackmore family so with her mundane she is a target of their frustrations. Since the betrayal, Gray sees everything black and white so wants nothing to do with anyone related to his former spouse. However, he also admits to his chagrin he is attracted to Lucinda and cannot prevent himself from protecting her and trying to assist her.
The tone of Nevermore is totally opposite of the Broken Heart series as the new saga is very dark (fitting of Edgar Allen Poe) while the Oklahoma tales were lighthearted frolics in which bites were sexually bloodless. The world of the Wizards of Nevermore is refreshingly new and fully developed yet interwoven inside the fast-paced story line. Although the climax is somewhat a disappointment as the audience will have expected much more after such a strong plot, readers will appreciate this small town second chance romantic fantasy. Harriet Klausner
Healing the Highlander
Pocket, Feb 22 2011, $7.99
Hybrid Fae-human Leah Noble fled the twenty-first century breeding program of the Nuadian Fae who tortured her by doing what she thought is her only chance for a haven; going back in time to 1293 MacQuarrie Keep where Grandma Mac takes her in. Leah assumed she would be safe back in time. However, by 1305 her assumption proves false when Richard MacQuarrie lives up to his nickname of Dick by promising her in marriage to a nasty Englishman.
Leah flees again but not in time. This time she seeks shelter with the MacKiernan clan who has Fae blood. However, when she falls into a loch, severely injured Highland warrior Andrew MacAlister rescues her. Her tumble into the water costs her the map and letter she needs to obtain a welcome from the MacAlister clan. Andrew escorts her even claiming she is his wife when her enemy catches up to them.
The latest Daughters of the Glen historical fantasy romance (see A Highlander's Homecoming, A Highlander's Destiny and Soul of the Highlander) is a warm entertaining time travel tale. The lead couple is a wonderful pairing as each needs the other to heal from physical and emotional hurts. Although the story line is more linear (even with the heroine going back several centuries) than usual for this enchanting series, fans will enjoy Melissa Mayhue’s magnificent seventh saga.
Avon, Jan 25 2011, $7.99
Selena “The Death Lady” was miraculously born during the Change. Her nickname comes from her unique ability to see the ghostly cloud that denotes that person is about to die. What makes her extraordinary is that she somehow helps the dying move on.
Selena sees the cloud of a dying man. However, this time something strange occurs as a voice orders her to touch the corpse with her crystal. Somehow Theo Waxnicki, a Change survivor on a Strangers’ mission, was shot to death; yet recovers in Selena’s compound where he believes information on the world’s destruction can be found. While his twin Lou frantically searches for him, Selena not only brings him back to life, she brings him back to live as feelings lost in the Change return to him.
The latest Envy Chronicles (see Abandon the Night, Embrace the Night Eternal and Beyond the Night) is a superb mid twenty-first post apocalyptic romantic thriller. The story line is fast-paced and the cast especially the lead couple are a wonderful match. However, it is Ware world that makes for an engaging read as fans will believe they have been transported four decades into the future as places like Vegas, Arizona and elsewhere feel reasonably real. Harriet Klausner