L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
Tor, Mar 15 2011, $27.99
Mykella had never expected to replace her father Feranyt as the Protector of Lanachrona because she had no psionic talent and several males including her uncle and cousin, and her brother were in line before her. However, with her father’s death due to poisoning by his brother and nephew during a failed bloody coup, her latent psi skills surfaced. She has become the first Lady-Protector since the legendary Mykella the Great created the position. The new Protector knows she can depend on only her sisters Rachylana and Salyna, as traitors are everywhere.
However besides the family seditious deadly activity, Mykella learns that Lanachrona is bankrupt. Additionally she immediately must prove her worth to the Arms Commander Areyst starting with no honorable funeral for the deceased traitors. However, she has no time for her country’s healing and economic recovery; her military leaders warn her that neighbors like Midcoast or Northcoast see an opportunity to invade with a tyro female running a devastated divided nation. An ancient magic arises within her that gives her hope to save her people and fear that the ancient enemy will also arise.
The latest The Corean Chronicles is an exciting political-military fantasy starring a strong heroine and a sold cast especially Areyst. The story line overall is fast-paced though L.E. Modesitt, Jr. somewhat mutes the pace with interwoven references of the back story (see The Lord-Protector). Still with a touch of romance, plenty of political intrigue and loads of life twisting lethal magic, fans of the saga will enjoy Mykella as the Lady-Protector even if she takes over a role too easily that she never trained for as she never expected to sit in the power seat. Harriet Klausner
Berkley, Mar 1 2011, $15.00
Fortyish divorcee Katherine “Katie” Woods, DVM moves her veterinary practice to Upstate New York to begin her life anew as the new forty is thirty for the most part. However, if she knew her patient would be an unconscious cougar her staff brought in from a nearby exotic animal park, she might have reconsidered relocating.
The cougar scratches Katie who soon finds some odd bodily modifications such as her trimmed nails and the rest of hand has changed into something a bit more beastly needing a manicure; while the animal she caged over night is now a naked man suffering from amnesia. Wanda Schwarz Jefferson (see the Accidental Human) and the OOPS unit arrive to assist Katie with her transformation. However, even with her own zoo crew and the OOPS squad at her side investigating the mystery of the shapeshifting were-cougar, no one can help Katie with her animal need to make love with her patient; a taboo for a veterinarian.
.The latest “Accidental romantic urban fantasy (see Accidentally Demonic) is a lighthearted frolic that will remind readers of the 1930s screwball comedies. The story line is fast-paced but never quite gels as everyone wants to be co- stand-up comics performing at the Improv Comedy Club in front of the in crowd. Still readers will enjoy the fifth paranormal conversion. Harriet Klausner
Juno, Feb 22 2011, $7.99
Criminal profiler Tara Sheridan is an expert forensic psychologist who enhances her abilities with tarot card readings. However her skills failed her when a psychopath nearly killed her. Shaken to her bone marrow, Tara resigns from her position at the U.S. Department of Justice’s “Special Projects” unit.
Recently several of the unit’s former operatives have vanished under strange circumstances. Tara’s former lover Harry Li asks for her help on his investigation partly because he needs her special skills and partly to keep her safe. The clues lead to Chernobyl where the pair tries to prevent a second catastrophe from occurring. At the same time Tara struggles with her dubious relationship with Delphi’s Daughters especially their chief.
This is an engaging thriller due more to the fascinating villain who steals the show because the motives that drive the adversary ring true. In her second profiling appearance (see The Dark Oracle) Tara is an intriguing blending of science and pseudoscience as she combines the paranormal with the profiling normal. Although at times the plot slows down and the ending is too low key after a Chernobyl II countdown, readers will find themselves zoning out during long expository passages, and a very anticlimactic ending leaves you with a sense of dissatisfaction. Still, the great villain and good visual descriptions keep this from being a total loss. Harriet Klausner
Maria V. Snyder
Harlequin Teen, Feb 15 2011, $9.99
Trella led the Scrubs revolt that turned her world upside down as she and her rebels defeated the Uppers who previously ruled the world. After the victory, she and others learn of the existence of the Outside world.
Excited Trella plans to go back to being a quiet citizen living with her Upper, Riley. However, winning at war is not governance as those now in charge learn. Additionally something from Outside wants to enter; forcing Trella out of her short lived teenage retirement to unite her friends to prevent whatever from outer Outside achieving In.
The sequel to Inside Out targets older middle and younger high school students with an intriguing complex story line as the heroine learns what relativity means as Outside meant outside her cube, but now knows there is outside the outside. There is less action than in the previous revolt against the dystopian society, but teen readers still will enjoy this exciting science fiction tale as Maria V. Snyder once again avoids dumbing down her complex premise treating young readers with respect as the author further complicates Trella’s run. Harriet Klausner