The Ruined City
Spectra, Feb 28 2012, $15.00
The abduction left pampered privileged Jianna Belandor, daughter of powerful Faerlonnish overlord the Magnifico Aureste Belandor, was shaken with what she learned about the Veiled Isles and her family as a prisoner of her Aunt Magnifico Onarto. She escapes with the help of rebel sympathizer Falaste Rione the physician while seeing her privileged lifestyle though the eyes of the lower classes (see The Traitor's Daughter).
She returns home to deadly chaos. Her father is missing, The City Ruined by disease and the amphibian slaves in open revolt, while those who die return from the dead. Arcane practitioners read these and believe they are the signs of a revelation switch as an enigmatic magical spring the Source has begun the shift of alignments that is leading to a pandemic catastrophe for the Veiled Islands.
The second Jianna Belandor escapades are a wonderfully complex romantic quest fantasy with multiple subplots linked by the doomsday countdown. The cast is fully developed whether they are the heroic lead couple, the zombie horde or the amphibian rebels, etc. Fans will appreciate the Brandon mythos as The Ruined City is a fabulous frenzied forerunner of what looks like the cataclysmic end of the Veiled Islands unless a magical miracle emerges. Harriet Klausner
Sliver of Shadow
Pocket, Feb 28 2012, $7.99
Abby Sinclair still adapts to being the human TouchStone, a position she inherited from her late mom, who helps the OtherFolk cross the barriers between the human and Faery realm. Her liege the Faery Protectorate Moira, whose life she saved (see A Brush of Darkness), has to leave for a meeting at the Faery Court since war with the demons of hell seems imminent. The Protectorate leaves Abby in charge. Part of her duties is to protect Moira’s half-angel child. Abbey receives help from Moira’s outcast half-brother Talivar and Phineas the miniature unicorn who uses her underwear as bedding.
The raging Faery Queen abruptly shuts the CrossRoads portal between the two worlds after a spell targeted the TouchStone mortal. OtherFolk trapped on Earth are fading into oblivion. Abby, escorted by Talivar and her former lover Brystion the incubus, treks to CrossRoads in an attempt to override the queen’s angry spell.
The second sensational Sinclair urban fantasy is an exciting conspiratorial thriller starring a strong cast especially the kick butt heroine. Abby is terrific when she focuses on the magic issues; her overly melodramatic inability to make up (her) mind; "pick up on one and leave the other behind” (Lovin’ Spoonful) detracts from the storyline. Still in spite of a disappointingly indecisive climax, fans will enjoy Abby’s awesome adventures. Harriet Klausner
Nice Girls Don’t Bite Their Neighbors
Pocket, Feb 28 2012, $7.99
Gabriel Nightingale and Jane Jameson move in together in her ancestral home. As a librarian and bookstore owner, Jane appreciates his rare books like his early printing of Persuasion that he purchased when it was released. Her collection consists of second hand books with plenty of folds. Jane feels good about her friends who helped them move, but made it clear the couple must never break up because they refuse to carry boxes again. Most important to Jane is that her stunned family has somewhat accepted that she is a vampire as is her significant other. Life as an undead is good.
In an instant that changes as Jane watches in horror teenager Jamie Lanier, making deliveries for the Half Moon Dairy, backs out with his hand truck loaded into an on-coming car and he is injured in the crash. Neighbors Dick and Andrea rush out to the accident scene; and he orders Jane to change the lad; which she does. Stunned Jane feels like a child having a child as she is a fledgling vamp now a parenting vampire. Gabriel mentions he “sired” three children in a century and a half; two were evil. Besides nurturing her offspring, death threats and the ghost of ghostly presence of her Grandma Ruthie (still a pain in the butt from the beyond) Jane has a wedding to plan.
The fourth “It Happened to Jane” chick lit urban fantasy (see Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs, Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever and Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men) is a madcap adventure filled with twists and plenty of jocularity especially self-deprecating humor. The storyline is thin but fast-paced and fun; sub-genre fans will enjoy this breezy entry as Jane learns how difficult parenting is.
My Lord Vampire
Zebra, Feb 28 2012, $7.99
Over two centuries ago, Nefri, the most powerful vampire, used the magic of a Medallion to create the Veil that separates the world of mankind from the realm of the undead. Recently Nefri fears an undetermined threat that could destroy both planes. Knowing the Medallion is the avenue for the evil ones, she breaks it into three parts before hiding them amidst three young ladies unaware of what they possess. However, Nefri realizes three avaricious vampires plan to take the objects; so she sends trustworthy vamps to protect them.
Two men enter the life of Lady Simone Gilbert, who possesses one section of Nefri’s Medallion. Suave Tristan Soltern frightens Simone though she is unsure why; while she is attracted to ultra-arrogant Gideon Ravel. As Simone and Gideon fall in love, Tristan kills look-alike whores as a message to his adversary that he can and threatens to reveal her darkest secret.
The first Immortal Rogues Regency romantic fantasy is an entertaining tale starring an intriguing human female. Although Nefri's approach to keep the realms safe seems illogical and the triangle never quite gels as Tristan fails to be a rival for the affection of the target, fans will wonder what secret the feisty Simone conceals while waiting for the war between the vampires. Harriet Klausner