Sunday, August 14, 2011
Zombies and More
Raising Stony Mayhall
Del Rey, Jun 28 2011, $15.00
In 1968, a zombie plague exploded with the victims in a raged fever frenzy biting humans when they could find them. The Feds worked to kill the zombies by burning their bodies and thus preventing a pandemic. Once the fever ended forty-eight hours later the survivors became rational thinking non violent feeling people who formed an underground to help their own kind. Stony Mayhall was found as a baby by Wanda Mayhall, the latter raised him along with her three daughters. He never knew there were others like him as he grew up in isolation on a remote farm. His only friend was Kwang Cho.
One night Stony and Kwang went out but the former is recognized for what he is. The Diggers almost catch Stony, but an underground Zombie leader Delia takes him to a safe house. For years he lived in the underground safe house until a group of zombies prepare to give the Big Bite to the human race. Stony calls the Diggers on them, but is captured too and sent under extraordinary rendition to Deadtown Federal Medical Prison where experiments on zombies occur. He becomes a favorite of the director and the other prisoners as he gives them hope. Stony escapes but knows his life’s work has begun to save the zombies from the Government who wants to see them all destroyed.
This zombie thriller contains the twist that the species in many ways is better than many humans are as for instance the first commandment is not to bite a breather. Daryl Gregory has his zombies behave like Frankenstein as misunderstood beasts forced to reside in separate unequal government facilities. The Feds know of the forty-eight hour rule, but prefer keeping that classified as top secret. Readers will relish this zombie portrayal as fans will empathize with Stony and his brethren and adopted human family while hissing at cruel humans who claim security as their rationale. Harriet Klausner
Cat Star Chronicles: Virgin
Sourcebooks, Jun 1 2011, $7.99
On Luxaria Twelve, Captain Jack lectures starship pilot Daxtronian "Dax" Vandilorsk, a Zetithian like her spouse, for remaining “The Great Virgin”. Dax understands the need to sire the next generation after the near extinction caused by the treacherous Nedwuts, but has found no one who entices him. That is until now. The waitress at the bar has Dax thinking erotic thoughts. However her abusive boyfriend Lars notices Sax staring at Avondia "Ava" Karon and warns the cat to stay away or else.
Sick of Lars who beat her and the dead end job on a backwater planet, Ava decides to go home to Acquerei where boring (Russ) supersedes vicious (Lars). She buys a one way ticket on Dax’s vessel. The Zetithian is euphoric as he now has the opportunity to smell his passenger and determine if she is his one.
This entry focuses almost entirely on the relationship between the lead couple as he is sort of like the Forty Year Old Virgin and she has become relationship-phobic. There is a secondary plot involving the heroine’s father, but that is minor in comparison to Dax’s amusing clumsy courtship of Ava assisted by his sidekick womanizing Waroun and Kots the droid matchmaker. Series fans will enjoy this heated Cat Star Chronicles (see Fugitive and Hero). Harriet Klausner
Heart of the Highland Wolf
Sourcebooks, Jun 1 2011, $7.99
Julia MacPherson and her friend movie assistant director Maria Baquero are staying at Baird Cottage just a short walk from Argent Castle where a movie is being shot. Better known at least back in the States as Julia Wildthorn, author of Highland werewolf romances, she expects her trip to Scotland will end her writer’s block and she hopes to find an ancient secret box her grandfather says the family hid there. The castle laird Ian MacNeill has been a pain in the butt but that is Maria’s problem muses Julia.
However, starting with flight delays, the trip goes awry. A car accident leads to Ian carrying Julia into the castle. MacNeill realizes the American he holds is a wolf just like he is. Since she hid her heritage, he distrusts her but to his chagrin the wolf wants her. She wants to reveal the truth though she is unsure what that is to her mate, but fears he will kick her back across the ocean.
This is a fun werewolf romance starring two likable leads and a strong support cast; mostly his clan. The story line is fast-paced yet the refreshing scenes occur when Wildthorn goes into writer’s mode. Fans will appreciate Terry Spear’s entertaining tale even though the wolves are more in the background than usual, but the romance between the writer and the laird is an enjoyable contemporary.Harriet Klausner
Demons Prefer Blondes
Sourcebooks, Jun 1 2011, $6.99
Dominic Duvane of the Fore Demon Council informs senior demon Rafael Deleon that Hell’s northern region Prince Belial’s Infernati warriors attacked the guards protecting the chest. Belial captured Rafe’s sister Coby, but she bravely sent the chest to earth to buy time in order to prevent the enemy from obtaining it. Dominic orders Rafe to retrieve the chest while he rescues Coby from their adversary’s dungeon.
Cosmetologist Lucia Gregory has the chest; with her friend Serah Bear she attempts to open it; unaware that she would be freeing some nasty demons of the damned. Rafe arrives and realizes that Lucy is a succubus and that he wants her. Both are stunners to him as he never expected to meet a succubus or desire her. As a war begins, Rafe and Lucy fall in love. Each understands they must return the demons to their hell so he brings in his allies and she brings in her circle.
The opening Demons Unleashed romantic fantasy is a terrific often humorous thriller. The characterizations are superb and the Ayers universe deftly created inside an exhilarating story line. Sub-genre readers will appreciate the amusing romance between the demon and the succubus who also have a world to save. Harriet Klausner