Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Witches, Vampires, Urban Fantasy and Magic

In The Company Of Witches
Joey W. Hill
Berkley, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425250846

Mikhael Roman the Dark Guardian arrives at the brothel on the southern plantation house run by Raina the witch and hybrid succubus. The enforcer pursues Isaac the incubus, who stole something from Lucifer. Feeling obligated Raina protects Isaac though she is a bit perturbed that her prefect hemline was burned in the battle with the hunk Mikhail and that People Magazine may not make house calls.

Mikhael believes Raina's loyalty is misplaced as Isaac has a long rap sheet culminating with his latest stunt that has Lucifer steaming. As the Dark Guardian tries to persuade the witch to release her ward into his custody, both are troubled over their attraction to one another as each understands that can only lead to trouble. Still Mikhael tries to balance his work with his love for Raina and by extension her “family” of demons who feed off the energy emitted by customers without them paying the ultimate price which would be bad for business.

The second witch romantic urban fantasy (see Something About Witches) is a wonderful exciting gender (and species) war between two beloved enemies. Fast-paced, the cheeky Raina and the determined Mikhail argue, fuss and kiss in a delightful amusing erotic tale in which love conquers all; at least amongst the paranormal. Harriet Klausner

Deadly Is The Kiss
Rhyannon Byrd
Harlequin HQN, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373776801

Ashe Granger the Formyndare warrior of the Deschanel vampires is resolute when it comes to performing his mission to protect mankind. The only crack in his determination is his destined mate Juliana Sabin who is locked away with her family in an isolated impenetrable prison for crimes of treason. However, Ashe conceals his need to rescue her from his peers and the Council with an out of sight almost out of mind tenet.

His resolve implodes when Juliana arrives in London to beg him to help her. She explains an unknown individual enabled her to escape incarceration though the Wastelands. Furthermore, Juliana insists she and her family are innocent of the sedition charges and that someone wants them dead before they can prove they did not commit acts of treason. Desperately wanting to believe her, Ashe knows he is biased, but rationalizes if she is telling the truth, a dangerous conspiracy is brewing.

The first “post” Primal Instinct fantasy romance (see Rush of Darkness and Rush of Pleasure) is an exciting thriller that focuses on the Deschanel vampire cultures. Though it helps to have read entries from the previous series to better understand the Byrd mythos, this is a fast-paced action-packed tale starring destined mates investigating a deadly truth. Harriet Klausner

Royal Street
Suzanne Johnson
Tor, $14.99
ISBN: 9780765327796

As Katrina begins its assault on New Orleans, Gerry St. Simon the city Sentinel orders Junior Wizard Sentinel Drusilla “DJ” Jaco to leave the city, which she does. As the storm loses its fury, the aftermath has left a wrecked region as more than the levees were breached when the border with the Beyond crumbled too.

With her mentor having vanished, the Congress of Elders directs DJ to return to New Orleans because all hell is walking the streets. Upon her return, Jean Lafitte tries to kill her, but Alexander Waring an FBI terminator arrives to dispatch the pirate for now. DJ thinks her new partner has the body of an Adonis and the brain of an anchovy as he comments she looks more like Glinda than Merlin. As she searches for her teacher, a serial killer haunts the already devastated city while the enemy from Beyond grows in power forcing DJ and Alexander into seeking strange bedfellows as allies.

Royal Street is a great urban fantasy that uses Katrina to create a breach between realms. DJ’s tour of the city shows more than just the cost in lives and property as psychologically New Orleans seems down for the count. The movement of paranormal species from Beyond into the city is deftly handled as DJ, Alex and others find themselves in a fight against a powerful essence who uses the no longer Big Easy as a springboard for power while the elders (mindful of classic Green Lantern silver age comic books insist on adhering to the rules (the means vs. the end argument).
Harriet Klausner

Glamour in Glass
Mary Robinette Kowal
Tor, $24.99
ISBN: 9780765325570

In 1815, newlyweds Jane and David Vincent travel to Blinche, Belgium on a working honeymoon paid for by a glamour commissioned by the Regent. The couple plans to compare magical glamour techniques with a colleague of David, M. Chastain and create a glass container to hold glamour inside.

However, their idyll collapses when David ignores his new wife and excludes her on a paying gig. At the same time Napoleon returns from Elba, trapping visitors in France and its neighbors like Belgium. Feeling isolated, Jane wants to go home alone, but soon finds herself in peril and David is locked away as agents of Bonaparte want to deploy the Vincents (and other adepts) magical skills in the pending battlefield.

The second Glamour regency fantasy (see Shades of Milk and Honey) is a charming espionage thriller starring an unconfident heroine who still thinks of herself as a plain-looking twenty-eight years old jealous of her beautiful sister Melody's looks; so she expects to lose her husband to a real glamorous woman. The exciting storyline continues to provide details to glamour application methodology, but less of the science and more of the practical. Combining an unsure female lead with Napoleon back in town, fans will be spellbound by Glamour mage Mary Robinette Kowal.
Harriet Klausner

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