Saturday, September 24, 2011

Three from Harriet

Gears of War: Coalition’s End
Karen Traviss
Gallery, $26.99
ISBN: 9781439183953

It seems like ancient history when the war of the world began, but in fact it is just fifteen years since the Locust Horde came from within to assault the humans (see Aspho Fields). Their objective was total annihilation of all humans. Mankind fought back though billions died as the ruthless enemy made no distinction between soldier and civilian.

The Gears of the Coalition of Ordered Governments (COG) destroy what is left of civilization though they defeated their insidious foe and another powerful adversary at one hellish cost (see Jacinto's Remnant and Anvil Gate). The survivors take refuge on Vectes, a difficult to reach isolated island. As the COG begins to argue, haven turns to hell when the mutilating Lambent begin a deadly assault which explains why the Locust left the underground to fight on the surface. Marcus Fenix and Dom Santiago know a last stand on Vectes is suicide as the polyps make the tickers and berserkers look benign; the only place left for the dwindling few humans are the equally suicidal Wastelands.

The fourth Gears of War tied to the games is a terrific entry as Karen Travis provides a fascinating spin to the military science fiction saga with the motive to the recent global war of destruction. The story line showcases the desperation humanity faces as the remaining two survival choices will remind readers of Joshua playing Tic-Tac-Toe in WarGames as each solution facing humans leads to total annihilation. Although there is somewhat a similar tone to Anvil Gate, fans of the Gears of War universe will enjoy action-packed Coalition’s End as things have gotten dramatically worse enhanced by a major betrayal for the human race. Harriet Klausner

Dark Passages
Kathryn Leigh Scott
Pomegranate Press,$14.95
ISBN: 9780938817833

Farmer Meg Harrison is a vampire who exclusively dines on animal blood; her choice cuts being easy to catch birds of squirrels. Meg goes out of her way to live a human lifestyle which is not hard since Stoker got very little right about her species.

When Meg graduates from high school, she leaves the farm for the city where she plans to be a Playboy Bunny and audition for acting gigs. She is excited when she lands a part on the daytime soap opera Dark Passages. Life is great until Camilla the raging envious witch surfaces with a penchant for casting nasty spells as she seeks the boiled blood of a particular TV star.

This is a fun paranormal historical urban fantasy starring a fascinating young vampire supported by a vast secondary cast and an atmospheric gothic story line; With 1960s icons as an anchor, readers will root for Meg as she battles three centuries old Camilla for queen of the “Dark Shadows” Hollywood Hills as Kathryn Leigh Scott shows her TV roots with this entertaining vampire thriller. This is for vampire fans a must read. Harriet Klausner

Blood Hunt
Shannon K. Butcher
Signet, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451234292

She arrived out of nowhere naked in body and mind. Sister Olive took in Hope Serrien who, though she still lacks her memory of her past, now helps the homeless starting with reading auras.

Hope searches for a missing woman. However, in Kansas City, Missouri, her quest is interrupted when she steps into the middle of a Synestrian demon attack; her blood saves Logan Athar the Sanguinar demon fighter. However, as she rescued his body, she ruins his well being because he wants her as his but she can never belong to him. She has no time to adapt to the paranormal as Krag the Synestrian lord wants to drain Hope while Logan vows to protect her. Krag captures the pair whose love for each other is their only hope for escape.

The fifth Sentinel Wars (see Living Nightmare and Running Scared) is a great urban fantasy starring the enigmatic Logan and the woman who saves his life. Loaded with action and with a deeper understanding of the war between the Synestrian and the Sanguinar, Shannon K. Butcher moves forward the overarching theme but also provides an engaging romance that enhances the paranormal story line. Although newcomers will have some problems diving into the world of Ms. Butcher without reading the previous entries, fans of the saga will appreciate this powerful tale. Harriet Klausner

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