Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Romantic Fantasies

Edge of Oblivion
J.T. Geissinger
Montlake Romance, 12.95
ISBN: 9781612184197

The Ikati convict shapeshifter Morgan Montgomery of treason for her recent blunder (see Shadow’s Edge). Feeling guilty for what happened due to her colossal mistake, she knows and accepts that treason means automatic state execution.

Instead Ikati Queen Jenna gives her a last chance reprieve to prove her loyalty. She has two weeks to find and eliminate their enemy the Expurgari. Accompanying her is Xander Luna the loyal top assassin, whose assignment is to kill Morgan if she fails on her quest. On their dangerous journey, Xander and Morgan begin to fall in love, but she believes, as he should, that will not prevent him from executing Plan B if necessary.

The second Night Prowler romantic urban fantasy is an engaging suspense thriller with a similar underlying premise as in Shadow’s Edge with readers wondering whether Xander can execute his beloved. The affected dialect of the Ikati anchors the Geissinger mythos with a freshness that needs some adjustment to accept from the audience. The romance between the lead couple adds tension to an entertaining quest fantasy. Harriet Klausner

Jacquelyn Frank
Ballantine, $7.99
ISBN: 9780345517692

In Saugerties, New York, while talking to her brother Jackson, Docia Waverley walks across a bridge over where the Esopus River meets the Hudson. Suddenly a passenger in an SUV pushes her over the railing. An annoying voice in her head welcomes her to the Ether by giving her a choice between her death and returning to earth but sharing her body with the voice. Docia accepts the terms of her Egyptian hostess.

Simone wants Docia dead and that person sends killers to finish the job. A stranger Ram saves her life, but confuses her when he welcomes her as his returning Queen. However though sworn to protect her and his best friend the king, Ram’s two souls want Docia’s two souls even as an ancient war remains heated.

The first World of the Nightwalkers romantic urban fantasy is a terrific expansion of Jacquelyn Frank’s mythos with the introduction of a new species. The Bodywalkers forge beneficial partnerships with dying mortals that enable each to survive. The storyline is fast-paced from the moment the heroine is shoved from the bridge and never slows down as readers learn of the ancient hostilities and meet the Bodywalkers. Harriet Klausner

The Emperor's Soul
Brandon Sanderson
Tachyon Publications, $14.95
ISBN: 9781616960926

They capture Shai the Forger as she attempts to steal the emperor’s Moon Scepter by replacing it with a perfect replica that she created, which rewrites its history. Emperor Ashravan’s advisors like Councilor Gaotona and Frava the Arbiter debate what to do with the abomination they normally would execute for her thieving and her despicable magic. However, Frava persuades Gaotona they can use their prisoner in this time of crisis.

Gaotona and Frava know that once the hundred day mourning period for the deceased empress is done, either their ruler appears in public or the empire will implode into lethal chaos with the end of the Heritage Faction rule. They demand Shai forge a new history for Emperor Ashravan who is near death since an assassin removed his consciousness. If she refuses she dies so she buys time by acquiescing knowing she has never done anything like what her captures demand of her.

The Emperor’s Soul is an engaging leisurely paced fantasy in which Brandon Sanderson makes true believers of fans in the magic of forging though the dialogue between Shai and Gaotona. Told mostly by her viewpoint, Shai is an antihero who seeks opportunity in all her endeavors including her current incarceration gig. The other prime player Gaotona is not fully developed beyond how Shai sees him. Still fans will enjoy their battle over creating The Emperor's New Clothes. Harriet Klausner

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