Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fire Season, Revenant Eve and The Shattered Dark reviewed

Fire Season
David Weber and Jane Lindskold
Baen, $18.99
ISBN: 9781451638400

Teenager Stephanie Harrington was euphoric when she obtained an internship in the junior forestry program on Meyerdahl. However, she became depressed when her family including her relocated to Sphinx, which had no such program. The seventeen-month winter and her boring peers at the Two Forks School are uninterested in her passion xeno-biology which adds to her despondency. Stephanie investigated the stealing of celery. That led to her meeting and bonding with Climbs Quickly the treecat. The Chief Forester named her and her only human friend Karl Zivonik is a provisional forest ranger (see A Beautiful Friendship).

Stephanie persuades Karl to allow her to use his family's aircar to practice flying. As the provisional forest rangers and Climbs Quickly fly, the treecat smells smoke. They inspect the fire and rescue twin treecats Left-striped and Right-striped who they bring to her father, a veterinarian.

Xenoanthropologist Dr. Whittaker arrives from Urako with his team and his son Anders to study the treecats. He distrusts the government including the Sphinxian Forestry Service to put the interests of the native population above those of the humans. Thus he leads his unit on an exploration of an abandoned clan site only to have their air-vehicle sink into the ground leaving them stranded while struggling to survive as forest fires ignites.

The second Stephanie Harrington Star Kingdom young adult science fiction thriller is a superb prequel to the Honor Harrington saga. The key cast is fully developed regardless of species or national origin. The storyline is great when the focus is on the interactions between the two species or the exploration of the planet; however, the teen relationships seem stereotypical. Still fans will enjoy exploring Sphinx with Harrington as our guide. Harriet Klausner

Revenant Eve
Sherwood Smith
DAW, $25.95
ISBN: 9780756407445

Southern California Professor Kim Murray prepares for her marriage to the Statthalter Marius Ysvorod, who will soon be the Crown Prince of Dobrenica. Her ancestors come from the small European nation, which recently regained its independence from the Soviets.

However, her happiness runs out of time when Kim finds herself in 1795 France as the spirit guardian to hybrid AurĂ©lie de Mascarenhas of Saint-Domingue. The twelve year old girl is the only person who sees Kim. The college teacher realizes the stakes are whether she, her parents and grandparents exist if she fails to escort her charge to Dobrenica. This means the child must travel across dangerous anarchistic post-Revolutionary France. However, AurĂ©lie’s family has plans for her and the French demand she spy for them as her fulfilling her destiny seems unlikely while both grow close with a profound understanding of Vrajhus, the Blessing, and the Nasdrafus.

The exciting Revenant Eve works on two fronts: as a terrific time travel thriller and as a Dobrenica entry (see Coronets and Steel, and Blood Spirits). The mentor and the mentee are fully developed so that the trials and tribulations of both seem genuine especially in light of what is at stake within the deadly era. Fans will relish this exhilarating thriller while newcomers will find this a fine taste of Dobrenica. Harriet Klausner

The Shattered Dark
Sandy Williams
Ace, $7.99
ISBN: 9781937007812

McKenzie Lewis attended college but differed from the other students in that she is a shadow reader who can see the fae and their movements between earth and the Realm. Called insane, McKenzie became apprentice to fae sword master Kyol. Together they supported the fae king against the rebels. Fae rebel leader Aren kidnapped McKenzie and she learned the truth that the side she supported was brutal and oppressive. The king and his top general died, but the fae remain divided and the civil war continues.

Though she loves Aren and adores Kyol, McKenzie looks forward to a normal life. However, even that proves out of reach when her BFF Paige vanishes and McKenzie must save her but the cost could be those she risked her life to protect.

The second Shadow Reader urban fantasy is a superb thriller as both sides in the dispute recognize the significance of the heroine’s skill and will do anything including an abduction of an innocent to insure cooperation. McKenzie ponders whether she can trust anyone as betrayal haunts her every step. With a strong romantic triangle adding to her dilemmas, fans will appreciate McKenzie’s fast-paced odyssey. Harriet Klausner

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