Monday, May 7, 2012

Two Interesting Reviews

Range of Ghosts
Elizabeth Bear
Tor, Mar 27 2012, $25.99
ISBN: 9780765327543

The Khagan of Khagans is dead. His descendants went to war to replace the late Great Khagan as ruler of the Khaganate. Temur fought on the side of the losers as he followed his brother into combat in the fratricide civil war. He awakens in the bloody battlefield surrounded by corpses and knowing he is the rightful blood heir to his divided family’s kingdom, but with no power to achieve what is his. Needing to escape, Temur joins a horde of refugees running from the war zone. While fleeing he meets fellow refugee Edene, but blood ghosts abduct her; he vows to rescue her somehow.

Once-Princess Samarkar was heir to the Rasan Empire until her half-brother was born. Her father exiled her as an expendable pawn in marriage to the Prince of Song, but there relationship ended in deadly combat. The royal widow wants nothing further to do with the blood of man so she climbed the thousand steps of the Citadel of the Wizards of Tsarepheth to learn if she had magical skills. Now a wizard Samarkar and Hrahima the tiger-woman who rages at her people’s god join Temur in his quest to rescue Edene and kill those who mass murdered a city; as war seems everywhere with no regard to casualties along the Celadon Highway

This is a great opening act as readers feel they live in the war riddled kingdoms. The cast is strong especially the lead protagonists whose point of view enhance the bloody conditions in the Bear where the sky over each kingdom reflects the respective ruler’s gods and a magic practitioner pays a high cost to perform. However, the key is the diversity between the kingdoms interwoven inside an exhilarating fantasy that fans will appreciate. Harriet Klausner

Living Proof
Kira Peikoff
Tor, Feb 28 2012, $24.99
ISBN: 9780765329301

By 2027, the United States outlaws the destruction of an embryo with the crime being first-degree murder. The Department of Embryo Preservation monitors all fertility clinics in the country. However a backlash towards DEP is growing in strength as people oppose the government getting involved in personal lives

In Manhattan, the Washington Square Center for Reproductive Medicine run by Arianna Drake is thriving. Former priest Gideon Dopp, who heads DEP, wants to expose Drake’s clinic for breaking the law. Two agents found nothing, but that does not prevent Dopp from using Drake as a pawn; his rationale is she is the daughter of an anti-DEP fanatic. He sends former Newsweek investigative reporter Trent Rowe undercover to obtain the proof of ethical transgressions using any means necessary.

With the Personhood pledges and the push for constitutional amendments from ironically those who insist they want no government intrusion (after the birth), Living Proof is a timely hyperbolic extrapolation of the religious right winning the reproduction war. Though the storyline follows the path readers expect it to take, Kira Peikoff provides a thought provoking cautionary tale that if unchecked the battlefield currently being fought over the rights of embryos will go to the womb checkers. Harriet Klausner

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