Sunday, July 7, 2013
Demons, Angels and Magic
At the Castle of Dark Dreams on Galveston Island, guest Murmer the demon informs his friend Bain that he needs to find an isolated place to release his music power before he harms someone when he loses control due to his ability if turning into an internal torture. On a beach with no one in sight, he begins his tune.
Newly hired personal assistant to Sparkle Stardust whom she has not yet met, Ivy Lowe is on the beach when she hears the music. She cannot stop herself from dancing until Murmer joins her before freeing her. Ivy dreams of Murmer in spite of her efforts to focus on the job only. Holgarth the Wizard warns her to stay away from the dangerous Murmer whose music leaves others dead. Neither the dark Underworld soulless one nor the innocent human can avoid their attraction. However, Bain needs Murmer’s talent and has plans for Ivy involving the rescue of his love trapped with the Slaugh Sidhe Unseelie horde.
The latest erotic Castle of Dark Dreams romantic urban fantasy (see Wicked Fantasy and My Wicked Vampire) is an enjoyable wicked entry tale starring an intriguing demon whose power leaves fear in just about everyone; yet this nonentity holds her own with him. Though the lead couple’s relationship seems similar to that between the virginal angel and the sinful demon, fans will enjoy this fast-paced star-crossed lovers’ thriller. Harriet Klausner
The Trial of Fallen Angels
James Kimmel, Jr.
Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, $23.95
Brek Abigail Cuttler arrives at abandoned Shemaya Train Station bloody and is somewhat confused about how she got here and what her ten month old daughter Sarah looks like. Luas arrives to inform her that she died when she stopped to pick up milk. The lawyer thinks he is her first legal mentor the late Bill Gwynne. She rejects the notion that she is dead though she misses her child and her spouse Bo.
He escorts her to her to her beloved deceased Nana’s house to prepare her for her afterlife as a defense attorney for souls going before the all mighty Judge. Nana tells her granddaughter that the souls she meets will help her deal with what happened to her on the mortal plane and prepare her to continue her celestial journey. Brek begins her passionate defense of her clients but wonders whether one can receive a fair trial without a jury of your peers when God is sitting in judgment and oversees the procedures.
This exciting allegorical tale uses the Albert Brooks’ “Defending Your Life" premise enhanced by God sitting in judgment of the souls before the celestial bench. The storyline engages the reader while Brek keeps the plot focused as she raises questions of fair play, redemption and forgiveness. Although the key celestial cast is underdeveloped, fans will enjoy Brek’s look at most people who are saint and sinner as she appeals that the judgmental procedures are biased towards the wicked deeds superseding the good ones. Harriet Klausner
Harper Voyager, $14.99
Those with innate magician abilities must reside in Ivory Towers as a witch or a warlock. No one dares defy the rule until Gage Powell. He has issues with his peers over the treatment of the masses as he sees them as individual humans while everyone else living in Ivory Towers looks at them as chattel. Gage does the unthinkable when he opts to leave, insulting his warlock mentor Simon. The Council grants him his freedom but warns him he is not to delve in magic except in self-defense.
In Low Town, Gage opens up Asylum Tattoo Parlor catering to customers who covet something special in their inking. Bronx the troll and Trixie the elf work for Gage. Dying from cancer, Tera asks Gage to tattoo her entire back so when she goes to hell she will be wearing his angel wings. She admits she cannot pay him his costs, but moved by her story he does as she asks, but adds a special to the mix. From that kindness, Gage learns the road to hell is inked with good intentions as everything goes wrong when Trixie’s secret past surfaces and Simon places a bounty on Gage’s head.
Though the premise of a renegade practitioner has been used in urban fantasies, Jocelynn Drake provides a brisk entry mostly because readers will believe in the magic of her realm as the caste system enhances the mythos. Gage is an endearing individual who care about others as he prefers to do no harm. His assistants are loyal to him and likewise him to them. However, Simon’s diabolical scheme makes for a fast-paced thriller that fans will relish. Harriet Klausner