Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Hodge Podge from Harriet

The Eye of the World: The Graphic Novel Volume 2
Robert Jordan, Chuck Dixon and Andie Tong
Tor, $24.99
ISBN: 9780765331625

The Trollocs surprisingly attack remote Emond's Field while Myrddraal targets three villagers (Rand al'Thir, Matrim Cauthon and Perrin Aybara), who conclude they are the focus of the hostilities so to save the townsfolk from further slaughter they flee. Egwene al'Vere, Moraine Damordred the Aes Sedai, Warder Al'Lan Mandragoran and Thom Merrilin the Gleeman join the frightened lads. None know why the enemy wants this threesome (see The Eye of the World: The Graphic Novel Volume 1).

Lan leads the riders on the North Road heading to Tar Valan home of the Aes Sedai while Moiraine uses her power to keep her traveling companions and their horses from tiring. The Trollocs Pursue, but the deadlier Draghkar finds them. Lan realizes the Myrddraal knows where they are. They reach Taren Ferry where they pay Hightower to take them to the other side. On the sixth day the weary group makes it to the large city of Baerion where innkeeper Master Fitch welcomes then and the Children of the Light do not. Nynaeve al'Meara the Wisdom of Emond's Field joins the band on the run vowing to bring the three lads home safe.

The second graphic adaptation of Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World is an exciting fantasy that captures more of the essence of the original novel. The travelers have diverse personalities as Rand suffers from nightmares; while Lan trusts no one though he shows reverence to the Aes Sedai who mentors Egwene; and the Gleeman warns the naive country lads to watch what they say even within the band. Although the confrontational action is limited, Chuck Dixon’s adaptation and Andie Tong’s illustrations are excellent. Harriet Klausner

Forged in Fire
J. A. Pitts
Tor, $26.99
ISBN: 9780765324696

In the Seattle area Sarah Beauhall muses about her difficulty previous months since the blacksmith and budget movies props guru working on Elvis versus the Goblins forged a sword that turned out to be the Nordic legendary Gram (see Black Blade Blues). Since then, all sorts of supernatural creatures accost her and her significant other Katie over ownership of the blade that allegedly Sigurd used to slay Fafnir the dragon Jean Paul. She now believes it as she and her friends defeated a dragon twice (see Honeyed Words).

However, Sarah has no time for R&R with Katie because a necromancer serial killer deploys deadly magic in Washington State. She knows all of the dead and Sarah concludes this evil adversary who has no compunction about killing the innocent is stalking her and must be stopped by her before more die. However Sarah remains ignorant of another insidious threat to the well-being of herself, her beloved Katie and their allies and friends.

The third Sarah Beauhall urban fantasy is an exciting action-packed thriller that works because of Sarah and her cohorts still struggling to rationally accept an altered “physics”. The storyline is fast-paced while the prime villain is a powerful diabolical threat to the heroine. Although the climax is abrupt, fans will enjoy Sarah’s daring feats Forged in Fire. Harrier Klausner

Blood of the Empire
Tracey Hickman
DAW, $24.95
ISBN: 9780756407322

The five heroes arrived on dragons but it is the human Drakis on Marush who has rallied the diverse rebel species like the manticore, dwarves and humans, etc. to revolt against their oppressive conquerors the elves of the Rhonas Empire. Drakis is considered the Man of Prophecy who will lead the overthrow of the Rhonas Empire. However, he is a man with doubts and a heavy heart as he has seen personally the cost of the insurrection with the death of his beloved Mala. Without Drakis as the rallying point the revolt will end in crushing defeat.

His fellow dragon riders (Lyric the human, Jugar the dwarf, Ethis the Ephidrian crimerian and Urulani the Forgotten Ones free human encourage him to take charge of the Army of the Prophet though each has their own hidden agenda for joining the freedom cause. However, the keys to victory especially deploying Drakis plan are Braun the human wizard who is working on negating the aether wells source of elven magical power and Soen the elven inquisitor seeking the truth though that outs him questioning the Imperial Will of Queen Chythal.

The final Annals of Drakis fantasy (see Citadels Of The Lost and Songs Of The Dragon) is a great tale due to the strong cast starting with the hero who has doubts sending so many to die (kind of like Ike leading up to D-Day). Drakis, encouraged by Urulani and Soen, begins to understand that “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend” (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance) as he reluctantly leads the final encounter. Fast-paced with a strong cast, fans will relish this saga. Harriet Klausner

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