Monday, November 26, 2012
Mercedes Lackey, Cathy Benedetto, and Ryk E. Spoor reviewed
Elemental Magic: All-New Tales of the Elemental Masters
DAW, Dec 4 2012, $7.99
This solid nineteen short story collection focuses on Mercedes Lackey’s historical Elemental Masters fantasy with all entries no later than 1919. In Oahu, “Makana” (by Fiona Patton) tries to emulate his foster father, a fabulous fisherman but cannot be one with the waves. In ancient times, Kyria and Meto are sailing to their marriage when the sirens call in “A Song of the Sea” by Diana L. Paxson. In 1885 Fire Mage and Daily Clarion reporter Jane Emerson notices the little match girl at a time when arsons threaten New York City in Michele Lang’s “The Phoenix of Mulberry Street.” As McKinley is shot, injured black war veteran Nathanial obtains growing paranormal powers at a time his rage explodes due to overt racism in Georgia (Ron Collins’s “The Collector”). In “I Have heard the Mermaid Sing” by Mercedes Lackey, Miriam the air mage struggles to help a family friend earth mage in coastal Maine. Overall this is an enjoyable anthology in which Ms. Lackey’s fans will appreciate though the strife for the most part is kept to a limited personal conflict (i.e., racism, feminism, etc.). Harriet Klausner
The Eyes of Sandala
BlackWyrm, Oct 31 2011, $15.95
Inside their extinct volcanic Crater home in the Sea of Death, the Shala know they are to protect the humans living in the five nations on the continent of Sandala. Recently strange happenings worry the Shala that the five centuries of peace is coming to an end. Shala TahJeen Teir has a vision that affirms this belief and Sealand on the southeastern coast has closed its borders to its three neighbors.
Fearing what is happening with reports of marauding bands all over the continent, Dania King Sorbonne sends out former Sentinels like Devon to learn the truth. He journeys across Palaton and Sealand reaching the coastal city of Seadawn as an armada from the eastern sea invades the coastal city. From the western sea, another armada invades Dania. As betrayal haunts the Shala, TahJeen struggles to adhere to the prophecy he prefers to ignore in order to mount a counterattack against the invaders and their Quisling allies; having his 7-foot plus back is Ariann.
The first Sandala thriller is an exciting military fantasy though typical of the sub-genre. The storyline is fast-paced throughout though the climax sets up the next entry with little closure to The Eyes of Sandala. Still fans will appreciate the adventures of Devon and TahJeen in a realm where five hundred years of peace has left few if any ready for hostilities. Harriet Klausner
Ryk E. Spoor
Baen, Nov 6 2012, $14.00
The prophecy of the cyclical Chaoswars plunging the Zarathan planet into a dark age appears on the brink of happening again; as apparently the Gods have spoken once more. At a gala in small Evanwyl near the western coast, the aristocratic family of Kyri are betrayed and murdered though she escapes leaving her beloved country behind in chaos; praying to return to free her people one day. Exiled Prince Tobimar Silverun hopes to one day return to his homeland Skysand in the Northeast.
Both flee across the lone known continent as she seeks an ancient armorer to create her a special sword to lead warriors against the forces of the dark that have devastated Evanwyl and he believes he will never go home even as he become a master swordsman. When they meet, each feels they have found a lost kindred soul. Soon a third champion, tiny Poplock Duckweed, joins them.
The keys that make this strong fantasy a great read are the vivid dark world of Ryk E. Spoor and the fully developed cast as the audience visit a planet on the brink while the good, the bad and the ugly seem genuine due to moments of reflective thought amidst the action. Fast-paced, readers will demand more escapades against the forces of the dark by the heroic trio on Zarathan as well as hints of previous Chaoswars leaving a fertile realm for further adventures of other champions. Harriet Klausner