Saturday, August 2, 2014
Reviews from Harriet
The Lazarus Machine
Late in nineteenth century, the Ministry rules London with an iron fist. Seventeen year old Sebastian Tweed and his father know to avoid the Ministry while eking out an existence in the city. However everything changes when masked thugs terrorize London and kidnap Tweed’s dad.
One a year ago in London, teenager Octavia Nightingale’s mother vanished. She has diligently but unsuccessful searched for her mom while obtaining information on the thugs who abducted her mother. The two teens meet and team up in their respective quest to rescue their parent as all roads lead underground to the Ministry.
The Lazarus Machine is an entertaining steampunk investigative thriller. The teenage amateur sleuths and a couple abetting them are fascinating heroes struggling against a powerful governmental oligopoly using technology and size to launch plans for the Empire. Although there are more gizmos than Inspector Gadget possesses, which detract from the two teens challenging the invincible Goliath, readers will enjoy this action-packed alternate late Victorian. Harriet Klausner
The Creative Fire
On the generation ship Creative Fire, the Reds run the show while the Grays are the manual labor pool. The Reds deploy the ship’s artificial intelligence and powerful weaponry to maintain the status quo hierarchy while the Grays, in spite of much greater numbers, acrimoniously perform the arduous tasks.
Ruby Martin is a rare Gray who is a Dreamer wanting a free future for herself and her race. She learns that they are bearing their destination of what will be their new home planet, which orbits the star Adiamo. Courageous Ruby carefully challenges the establishment as she believes change is needed. Ruby becomes the focal point of demands for the downtrodden Grays to be freed.
The first Ruby’s Song science fiction thriller focuses on class warfare between a powerful ruling minority and enslaved populace. The story line is great when intelligent quick witted Ruby is front and center; but loses some traction when her fellow male rebels take the lead. Still readers will enjoy Ruby’s quest for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Harriet Klausner
Harlequin Teen, $9.99
Molly Bartolucci’s father owns Big Al’s Zomporium; the place where a person can have someone recently deceased turned into a zombie. Wanting to just fit in at high school, Molly knows her ability to remove souls from bodies makes that difficult. On her sixteenth birthday she learns how hard it is when her boyfriend Rick kisses her, dies in an accident, and she sort of brings him back.
Anubis selects Molly as a reaper. Her long lost missing grandparents arrive sending her to Nekyia Academy for necromancer rookies. Rath the reaper, whose work she recently unraveled, is selected to mentor her. Rick follows her to the school. Soon afterward, students die and her mentor vanishes. Fearing Rick is involved, Molly investigates.
The first Reaper Diaries young adult fantasy stars a wonderful teenage who acts like a sixteen years old person as she struggles with all sorts of tsuris. The storyline is character driven by Molly who narrates the plot through her first person account and her dairy. Although readers obtain incredible insight into her and how she perceives the world (and beyond), the rest of the cast including the two males in her life are only seen though her filter and thus underdeveloped. Still, fans will appreciate unsinkable Molly Bartolucci reaper rookie. Harriet Klausner