Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Shadow Guard, Mermaid, The Shining City and Dak Enchantment reviews

The Shadow Guard
Diane Whiteside
Kensington Brava, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758225191

FBI interpreter Astrid Carlsen as a sorcerer also belongs to Shadow Guard; a top secret organization with strict rules governing the use of magic. When she mentally hears a psychic final scream of a woman murdered by magic, Astrid investigates.

Police officer Jake Hammond leads the official inquiry. He and Astrid are on-line gambling opponents. When they meet for the first time in person, she realizes he is Kubri, an essence who can recharge her magical energy to its acme with sex or for that matter destroy her through her libido. She hopes he desires an older woman as they team up on the case and in the boudoir where the magic they generate enables the pair to challenge the psychic serial killers more powerful than either of them.

The Shadow Guard
is a superb erotic urban fantasy police procedural that blends the elements from the various genres into a power paranormal page turner. With an entertaining investigation, the fast-paced story line heats up on the normal and paranormal planes as Astrid and Jake learn the whole is greater than the sum of the parts when it comes to this pair sexually charging up their prowess. Harriet Klausner

Carolyn Turgeon
Crown, $14.00
ISBN: 9780307589972

While her Northern Lands kingdom is at war, Princess Margrethe is safely concealed at the convent under the guise of Mira. Bored she escapes her cell to look out at the water only to see a mermaid drag a man onto the beach. The male turns out to be Prince Christopher, the son of the enemy of her father and their kingdom.

Lenia the teenage mermaid who saved Christopher’s life falls in love with him. Although she knows staying on land is fatal for her kind, she vows to remain with her beloved. At the same time Margrethe concludes that if she and the prince marry, the combat would end and unite their warring kingdoms. However, by the time she goes to the Prince to offer a marriage of political convenience, he seems to be in love with Lenia; though he fails to realize who she is. Margrethe plans to eliminate her rival by sending the ailing sea creature back to her watery home.

This is a terrific extremely dark twisting of the Hans Christian Andersen's classic The Little Mermaid as Carolyn Turgeon for the most part un Disney’s the tale. The story line is at its best when the two women compete for the prince as their methods are different. Although the Sea Witch subplot feels out of place with the rest of the strong adult fairy tale, fans will relish the political spin to the Mermaid. Harriet Klausner

The Shining City
Fiona Patton
DAW, $15.00
ISBN: 9781101479117

In Anavatan, the Gods walk among the people. Most of them pledge oaths to one deity or another. The more supporters a God has, the stronger that being is; and in turn the more that essence can do for his or her followers. The God of prophesy Incasa, the Chief God used the thousands of supporters especially the boys Brax, Spar and Graize six years ago to create the fledgling God Hisar.

While the seer Spar became young Hisar’s chief priest, Brax the warrior is pledged to the war god Estavia. In turn seer Graize became bitter enemies of his two former friends. He left for another land to fight against the warriors of Estavia while seeking allies to return in order to conquer Anavatan. He may get his wish as war is coming since Anavatan has hostile relations with neighbors Volinsk and Roctov, who were once adversaries but now are united against a common foe. Other counties jointhe planned invasion of Anavatan who lacks the military strength to prevent an invasion on several fronts. The only hope is for former friends turned foes to reunite behind Hisar, but Graize resents his two ex buddies and his homeland

The final Warriors of Estavia (see The Golden Tower and The Golden Sword) is an exciting climax that ties up all the major threads to a strong epic fantasy trilogy. Although readers may be disappointed with the way the invasion is given a short amount of pages Fiona Patton’s heroes insure a gripping entertaining High Noon finish. Harriet Klausner

Dark Enchantment
Anya Bast
Berkley, $7.99
ISBN 9780425240533

Desperate to free the Fae, Unseelie Kieran Aimhrea uses irresistible magic to propel accountant Charlotte Bennett to come to Piefferburg. He hopes her arrival will awaken ancestral memories that she unknowingly possesses, which should enable her to open the wards binding the city and its Fae residents.

Kieran is very careful to insure no one falls in love with him because of the curse in which those who do die. He knows Charlotte loathes him for the abduction that still frightens her so he feels somewhat assured she will not diee in some gruesome way. However, he had not calculated how he would feels towards her when he computed the odds of her loving him as zero.

The third Dark Magick urban fantasy (see Wicked Enchantment and Cruel Enchantment) is a superb entry as Kieran uses Charlotte though he detests that he does but rationalizes his actions are for the better good of many until he falls in love. His transformation and trepidation turn this tale into a terrific thriller. With the trademark jocularity side by side with betrayal, fans will enjoy the latest magical tour of the enchanting (though often dark) world of Bast. Harriet Klausner

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