Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Reviews from Harriet
Taken At Dusk
St. Martin’s Griffin, $9.99
Sixteen years old orphan Kylie Galen desperately seeks understanding about her essence, which can only come from knowledge at a time when her adopted parents are divorcing. She needs to know her biological roots as she was adopted and learns more about her recently activated dormant powers in which she has a new one every few days or so. Even with the spirit of her biological dad Daniel cautioning her, euphoric because a source surfaced, her paternal grandparents, the Brightens thinks she is a troubled youth sight unseen.
Attending the Shadow Falls camp for teens with supernatural powers, she also likes the two campers, hunks Lucas and Derek. While she can’t make up her mind about the boys, Lucas’ werewolf pack makes it for them as she is declared taboo. Additionally an ancient vampire stalks her and her new ghost, suffering from amnesia, haunts her with warnings that death is coming.
The third Shadow Falls young adult urban fantasy (see Awake At Dawn and Born At Midnight) is an engaging thriller Kylie (and readers) begins to learn the shocking truth about her genealogy. The protagonist also finds out that true friendship as she has with her roommates Miranda the witch and Della the vampire enhances ones power by strengthening confidence and self-esteem. Paraphrasing Robin Ward’s song, this is the most wonderful (and frightening) summer of her life. Harriet Klausner
A Crown Imperiled
Raymond E. Feist
Harper Voyager, $27.99
Jim Dasher and his espionage unit conclude Midkemia appears on the verge of deadly chaos and there seems to be nothing they can do to prevent what looks inevitable as hostilities explode almost everywhere. Meanwhile the Moredhel dark elves fear the arrival of the powerful feral Taredhel elves of the stars. Desperate War Chieftain Arkan enters the realm of man to bring back to the land of elves Pug the Magician, prophesied to save his realm.
Pug, accompanied by Sandreena and Amirantham, asks the Conclave of Shadows for help; but fails to obtain any definitive support and the trio seeks what is behind all the mounting evil that appears the be destroying Midkemia. Demons breach the realm from the outside while various coups in neighboring states leave the Kingdom fractured as unrest grows from within.
The second Chaoswar fantasy (see A Kingdom Besieged) is an entertaining Riftwar thriller containing several subplots tied together by Dasher and his crew. Filled with twists and a strong look at political and military intrigue Midkemia and its neighboring lands, this is a fast-paced entry that readers will enjoy. Fans of the long running saga will wonder what darkness next will befall the people of Midkemia and especially ponder how present events tie back to the past.
Del Rey, $25.00
The Olympics include the Gladiator blood-sport in which genetically created competitors fight to the death. The only rule is no human DNA is allowed as strict testing will lead to disqualifications and ruined reputations.
Geneticist Silas Williams has led the Americans to the gold in every previous contest and there is no reason to believe he and his team will not do likewise again. However, this year, instead of Silas creating the entry, an AI was programmed to do so with one business rule¨ survive the competition at all cost. However, the new representative proves diabolical, bellicose and amoral as it heeds the prime directive by killing anyone, gladiators and human, in the way. Additionally the out of control monster enjoys dining on humans. Silas and xenobiologist Vidonia Joao must find a way prevent further mayhem by unlocking the American entry’s genome code.
The cast is solid as even the creation seems genuine while the subplots nicely converge into a strong tense finish. Taut throughout, but especially when the AI completes the mission, The Games is a terrific tale even though reader will anticipate the PERT chart path of this exciting cautionary science fiction; as Ted Kosmatka makes his intriguing modernization of Frankenstein a gold medal winner. Harriet Klausner
Upon A Mystic Tide
Bell Bridge, 15.95
After several years of separation, married couple, New Orleans radio psychologist Dr. Bess Cameron and investigator John Mystic, has their lawyers battle over a divorce settlement. Bess wants nothing while John wants her to have everything. They meet at Seascape Inn in Sea Haven Village, Maine to finalize their divorce.
Though angry at Bess for failing to attend the funeral of Elise, who was like a mother to him, John knows he does not want their marriage to end as he still loves his wife though he remains uncertain why she left him. Bess still loves her husband, but believes he loves someone else as he chose the case of Elise’s missing daughter over her. Resident Tony the ghost not only calls Bess at her show, he speaks to John in the man’s head. To insure Bess can no longer run, Tony disables her car. Tony and his sidekick inn proprietor Miss Hattie plan to make this couple communicate.
The reprint of the second Vicki Hinze (written as Victoria Barrett) Seascape contemporary Maine romantic fantasy is a whimsical engaging tale as the paranormal matchmaker works his magic on the recalcitrant married couple. The storyline is character driven by the living couple and the matchmaking spirit who with his human helper struggles to bring this couple in love back together. Although the story line stands alone, it behooves the audience to read Ms. Hinze’s entertaining Beyond the Misty Shores (written as Ms. Barrett) and The Perfect Stranger by Rosalyn Alsobrook to better understand the magic of Seascape. Regardless, readers will enjoy their visit to this coastal Maine B&B. Harriet Klausner