Bargains and Betrayals
St. Martin’s Griffin, $9.99
To protect her boyfriend Pietr the werewolf, Jessie Gilmansen does not fight those like her father and Dr. Jones who takes her to the Pecan Place mental institution. As she ponders what to do since learning her blood is a key element in controlling lycanthropy and her lifespan s diminished because of it, Jessie realizes her present abode is a dangerous asylum.
Her ex boyfriend Derek the mind controller needs Jessie to spy on the Rusakova mob. Using his psychic skill, he makes her conduct surveillance though she tries not to do it. Meanwhile Pietr makes a desperation deal with the devil aka the Russian Mafia chief to free Jessie and his mother. He conceals what he has done because he believes his Jessie will angrily leave him. As the danger towards Jessie mounts with government and private entities wanting her blood, Pietr must complete his part of the contractual arrangement with the mob.
The latest 13 to Life young adult urban fantasy (see Secrets and Shadows) is an exciting thriller that rotates perspective with Jessie’s being the most frequent. There is a lot of violence especially against women (made more so by the age of the targeted audience) so much that the climax will have readers cheering. Fans will enjoy Jessie’s saga while wondering what comes next as seemingly Pietr like Derek before him has betrayed the heroine with the special blood that is internally and externally killing her. Harriet Klausner
Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Baen, Aug 2 2011, $25.00
Theo Waitley was accepted as a student pilot at the Academy where she excels at flying but she suffers from Liadan Luck as she is the center of violent activity that is started by others. For the safety of her peers, faculty and staff, Theo is expelled from the school. She obtains work with Korval as they leave for Surebleak.
However, Theo’s Luck continues when she learns her in hiding scholarly father Jen Sar Kiladi is a deadly Korval Master Pilot and the Bechmio ancient technology on board the Arin’s Toss demands she become the ship’s captain. Theo declines until she learns her dying lover Win Ton may survive with on-board medical technology. On Tokeo the Federated Trade Commission is interested in her and her ship but Bechmio rescues her. Knowing she needs a co-pilot Theo obtains the services of Boss Clarence O’Berin who knows her father’s undead first wife. Assassins and the government want her as more frightening to Theo so does her mom.
Although newcomers will be lost in space as familiar heroes, agencies and customs are difficult to grasp for the tyro. For veterans of the Liadan Universe, Ghost Ship is a thrilling space opera adventure starring a female swashbuckling pilot who could star on Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes’ song Bad Luck. However, the key to this engaging entry is Bechmio who has developed a personality over the ages. Fans will enjoy the latest Balance of wrongs as the heroine remains in the eye of turbulence. Harriet Klausner
Legacy of Kings
DAW, Sep 6 2011, $25.95
The Wrath of the Gods has imprisoned the Souleaters who devoured the life essences of mortals; causing the empires to dissolve into barbarism. In the present, a breach in the Wrath allows these monsters to return to the world they devastated forty generations ago. However, the Souleaters learned from the errors of their ancestors so these creatures are more cunning and smarter. Nobody knew they are back except for Witch Queen Siderea Aminestas who is linked to her Souleater queen.
The Witch-Queen Siderea intends to sue the Souleaters to destroy the Magister sorcerers who also use the life essence of mortals to fuel their magic. The former monk King Salvator Aurelius senses the Souleaters have entered his High Kingdom; he gets the queen killed, but knows the queen to the south still remains a major threat to all mortals.. Former enemies form an alliance to take down Siderea and her Souleater queen.
The Magister Trilogy (see Feast of Souls and Wings of Wrath) comes to a powerful glorious climax with all the major loose ends resolved while also revealing the origin of the Magisters. The story line of the Legacy of Kings is told from various viewpoints which enable the readers to get inside the heads of the different protagonists and antagonists without slowing down the tale. Filled with many twists, series fans will be shocked and enthralled with some of the subplot endings as C.S. Friedman provides a superb quest fantasy. Harriet Klausner