Friday, November 30, 2012

Heaven To Wudang-Kylie Chan

Heaven To Wudang

Kylie Chan

Harper Voyager, Nov 27 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062210340

Hong Kong based John Chen is also Xuan Wu the Dark Lord of the Northern Heavens. His Dark Lady Emma Donahue has proven to more than just have his back as she fought at his side and with him missing to defeat the demons of Simon Wong; with the help of Leo the bodyguard she also kept his rebellious teenage hybrid daughter Simone safe after he vanished.

However, neither John nor Emma has time to rest and heal as allies of Wong remains out there as does Kitty Kwok. As Wudang Mountain turns extremely dark, the enemy creates identical replicas to trap and kill ailing Emma, defiant Simone and amnesiac Xuan Wu, who returned home sometimes as a human and as a turtle.

The third Journey to Wudang Chan’s mythological fantasy (see Hell to Heaven and Earth to Hell) is an exciting thriller with plenty of over the top of Wudang Mountain action. The protagonists are solid but display little growth (except for Emma) since their introductions in the previous Dark Heavens trilogy (see Blue Dragon, Red Phoenix and White Tiger); while the antagonists prove to be strong adversaries. At times the poignancy slows down the plot, but fans of the saga will relish Emma’s exhilarating escapades.

Harriet Klausner

The Eldritch Conspiracy-Cat Adams

The Eldritch Conspiracy

Cat Adams

Tor, Jan 8 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9780765328748

Siren Princess Adriana and Rusland King Dahlmar agree to a political marriage of convenience to the delight of their respective families. However, the Guardians of the Faith oppose the merger as their mission is Siren genocide. They have killed several individuals with close ties to the royal bride.

The family enlists Adriana’s cousin hybrid vamp-siren Celia Graves as a bodyguard bridesmaid with the threat from the Guardians growing. Celia proves her value when she prevents an assault on the bride’s wedding party at a bridal salon. Adriana returns home to prevent a coup from occurring while Celia stalks the terrorists and the mage abetting their ethnic cleansing agenda. She also needs to set aside time to find a dress for the wedding.

The latest Blood Singer urban romantic fantasy (see Blood Song, Siren Song, Demon Song, and The Isis Collar) is a superb thriller starring a fabulous soul-searching heroine who wonders where she belongs as a no longer human hybrid. While she ponders her place in one of three societies, the impact of feeling like an outsider on her personal life is negatively immense. Fans will appreciate her latest escapades as she hopes to make it to the royal wedding in a kick butt dress after sending the Guardians and their mage to well-deserved graves.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Conjurer's Boy-Michael Raleigh

The Conjurer's Boy

Michael Raleigh

Harvard Square Editions, Nov 1 2012, $15.95

ISBN: 9780983321668

Their father had them move five times in six years. However, as the Cuban Missile Crisis is the big news, high school student Thomas Faye learns from his mother that his dad deserted them. Stunned, Thomas wanders around smoking Salem while trying to comprehend why. Eventually he enters a second hand store filled with junk where he meets the owner Arthur Farrell the magician wounded WWII veteran with healing power and angry homeless Meyer the survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto atrocities.

They mentor Thomas who begins to open his eyes to the world few can see as he seeks to understand what normal is and why fate set in motion his trek back in 1962. He begins his solo journey using and discarding roles along the way with his only link being his two spirit guides and a disturbed Rachel.

This profound coming of age low keyed fantasy is an engaging thought provoking tale starring a fascinating lead character who, after meeting his mentors, needs to know why him. With a nod to the higher levels of the expanded Maslow’s Hierarchy, The Conjurer's Boy is a delightful tale of the human need to achieve self-esteem and cognitive awareness, but first one must belong somewhere.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Luck of the Draw-Piers Anthony

Luck of the Draw

Piers Anthony

Tor, Dec 24 2012, $25.99

ISBN: 9780765331359

Magic relocates ailing octogenarian widower Bryce from Mundania to Xanth where he becomes a twentyish person who can see the future. Princess Dawn informs the confused Bryce that Demons placed a bet on him and others over who will win the affection of sixteen years old Princess Harmony; he being a long shot. Furthermore she explains his quest is dangerous but he has no choice as he is compulsively spellbound to compete although he feels some remorse as an ex-geriatric with a young man’s bod but the mind of a geezer courting a teen.

Given the mighty weapon of a pen, Bryce on his mission with two allies; Rachel the talking German short-haired pointer and nineteen year old Mindy join him. However, as he enjoys his fountain of youth and loves to draw, the teen object of his desire rejects his and her other suitors.

The latest Xanth fantasy (see Well-Tempered Clavicle) is duh a fun pun filled entry. Fast-paced with amusing (and some awful) bon mots, fans of the series will enjoy the Luck of the Draw.

Harriet Klausner

The Hermetic Millennia-John C. Wright

The Hermetic Millennia

John C. Wright

Tor, Dec 24 2012, $25.99

ISBN: 9780765329288

Crew members of the starship Hermetic discover the alien warehouse, which contained advanced knowledge and an energy source way beyond what humanity knew. Menelaus Montrose and Zimen "Blackie" Del Azarchel had two diverse visions of a future earth. Whereas Montrose wants his home planet to thrive with the shared discovery and prepares to challenge the alien menace, Blackie feels the need to reengineer the species to make them worthy of the warehouse owners the Domination of Hyades when they return in eight millennia to determine whether enslaving mankind is worthy of them. Blackie wins the first round as he persuades other crew members this is the only way their species survives the return.

Meanwhile Menelaus turns to cryo sleep to be there when the Domination of Hyades return to harvest earthlings in eight millennia and his wife Rania travels in deep space to confront the Hyades' executive leader. Only thirty-five years into his sleep, Sir Knight awakens him. Apparently, Blackie's Blue Men horde assaulted the tombs where Montrose and others lied dormant. Obviously Blackie continues to prepare earth for the return of the Hyades with him as overseer of the humans.

The second crew of the Hermetic science fiction thriller (see Count to a Trillion) is an exhilarating complex tale as rhere are two visions that compete for mankind’s future. Convoluted and difficult to read with so many competing concepts involved, readers who appreciate a profound look at the impact on society by a quantum advance in science and technology will enjoy this strong saga.

Harriet Klausner

Unnatural Acts-Kevin J. Anderson

Unnatural Acts

Kevin J. Anderson

Kensington, Dec 24 2012. $15.00

ISBN: 9780758277367

Residents of the Unnatural Quarter work dead end jobs trying to eke out a living especially during the graveyard shift. A golem, who like his compatriots cannot read, enters the office of Chambeaux and Deyer which includes African American lawyer Robin Deyer and her zombie private investigator partner Dan Shamble. He complains about sweatshop conditions at Smile Syndicate in order for Golems to make trinkets for the tourists to partners African American lawyer Robin Deyer and zombie private investigator Dan Shamble, and their office manager Cheyenne the tireless ghost. Learning his name is Bill as inscribed on his back, the golem demands human rights for the inhuman.

The Smiling Syndicate buys Goblin Tavern while a senator pushing the Unnatural Acts Act leads a crusade against the inhuman abominations with a protest against the production of Shakespeare in the Dark. While Robin works the rights issue and Cheyenne the office, Dan juggles his caseload between protection of an interracial couple and a madame mummy, and investigating something evil happening in the Unnatural Quarter; however his biggest concern is the renovation of Goblin Tavern.

The latest Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. (see Death Warmed Over) is a superb satirical paranormal thriller. Filled with jocularity, Kevin J. Anderson lampoons societal morality of discriminatory convenience with this delightful tale as the natural and the supernatural contain nasty unequal opportunity a-holes.

Harriet Klausner

Lullaby-Amanda Hocking


Amanda Hocking

St. Martin’s Griffin, Nov 27 2012, $17.99

ISBN: 9781250005656

In order to keep her family and friends safe, teenager Gemma Fisher decides to swim with the sirens though she plans to control her evil unlike her new sisters (Penn, Lexi and Thea). However, leaving behind her loved ones was an extremely difficult decision, but controlling her urges seems increasingly impossible as her supernatural prowess grows stronger and her compulsion to kill turns obsessively.

Gemma's boyfriend Alex, her older sister Harper, and Harper's boyfriend Daniel refuse to give up on bringing her home. The trio knows that will entail the seemingly impossible act of eliminating the three surviving sirens. Stunningly, they bring Gemma home, but the siren trio pursues those who abducted one of them with plans to exterminate their newest sister’s loved ones.

The second Watersong urban fantasy (see Wake) is an exciting thriller as two teams vie for the “affection” of Gemma. The key is that the three sirens are fully developed with Thea displaying a fascinating feeling that differentiates her from Penn and Lexi. Filled with action, Lullaby is a fast-paced horror tale.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Thieves of Genesis-William I. Levy

The Thieves of Genesis

William I. Levy

BlackWyrm, Sep 15 2012, $11.95

ISBN: 9781613181348

Irv is driving in Iowa when distracted by boring Heartland music; he fails to see the Hole. In Nexus the Crossroads of the Universe, City Father Timez and his apprentice Calla worry about disappearing humans who are coming home minus a heart. As the pair fight Zarthok “the Merciless” and his gang, Irv and his car drops through a Hole landing on Timez. Calla, after slicing Merciless’ hands, attacks Irv who shocks himself when he uses magic to stop her. Timez comes out of the rubble and assigns Calla and her protector Bumper the assassin to escort Irv to a safe-house.

On their journey, the trio travels through a Hole but fail to reach their destination as someone with power changed the Hole. Instead they land in Post Tarnum earth where the two males become prisoners while Callas is left behind. That changes when a tormentor threatens to capture and torture Calla, which leads Irv into a rage induced magical attack that injures his hands but frees the pair. When they catch up to Calla, she likes her skinny hero being protective of her, but Bumper wonder why this nobody seems be the most powerful mage in the land even if her Irv cannot control his magic.

William I. Levy’s exciting romantic fantasy stars an unlikely hero and a kick butt female warrior. The action-packed storyline is fast-paced throughout while Weng Shu’s words of wisdom at the start of each chapter adds humorous commentary. Although the extremely short chapters (averaging just over four pages per chapter) keeps the cast thin (even Rubensque Calla), readers will have a great time following the misadventures of The Thieves of Genesis.

Harriet Klausner

Medic!-Ian Hardoc


Ian Hardoc

BlackWyrm, Jul 31 2012, $19.95

ISBN: 9781613181294

United Bay Autonomies Lieutenant Dr. Macintyre knows his side lost the war that truly ended war as was previously known as the seeming victors Northwest Alliance was left with an apocalypse. Still he drives behind enemy lines seeking to help any survivors of the doomed Lost Patrol and also gives aid to others. The Medic Macintyre battles Seeker robots who kill randomly due to lacking ethical codes and insane fanatics still are fighting a war in which everyone lost except perhaps war lords; at the same time he brings health care to those in need.

He comes across severely injured UBA Corporal Jacob Markowitz who says he and five others hid in a bunker for three years. He admits he killed his captain as he felt her order was suicide. Macintyre executes Markowitz as enforcement is his other duty. Though an AI red ambulance, Macintyre remains wary yet optimistic that humans will come out of the ruins stronger though he also fears the brutal suppressors remain violently in charge.

This is an exhilarating post-apocalyptic thriller starring an intriguing AI who sees life in a stark black and white code; as he is prepared to provide medical care to the ailing yet also mete out justice to those who deserve punishment in his mind. The thrilling storyline takes too long to deliver the prime premise; yet fans will appreciate the non-stop action and the Hardoc landscape vividly bleak as readers will believe they ride the Macintyre ambulance tour guided by the Medic!

Harriet Klausner

Bard’s Oath-Joanne Bertin

Bard’s Oath

Joanne Bertin

Tor, Nov 27 2012, $25.99

ISBN 9780312873707

For millennia, the Dragonlord dragon-human shape-shifters have ruled the world with a caring kindness. However, in this paradise evil ambition emerges.

Years ago, a loved one’s death left the heart of Master Bard Leet filled with rage and loathing as he vowed vengeance against those he blamed including his brother-in-law. He became adept at dark magic until he deployed his plan by using a blood-drinking harp that musically enslaves listeners to do anything even murder. Evidence overwhelmingly proclaims horse breeding Bard Raven Redhawkson of a homicide though he swears he does not recall killing anyone. Dragonlord Linden Rathan believes his friend would never commit murder so he investigates the homicide; even as the human leaders prepare to execute Raven.

The first Dragonlords fantasy in years (see The Last Dragonlord, Dragon and Phoenix) is an engaging investigative thriller that enables the audience to see close up the Bertin world enhanced by the concept that the music is the magic. Although the storyline is low-keyed as Leet’s scheming seems minor (unless you are the victim or the accused), fans will enjoy Rathan’s magical murder mystery tour.

Harriet Klausner

The Sum of Her Parts-Alan Dean Foster

The Sum of Her Parts

Alan Dean Foster

Del Rey, $15.00, Nov 27 2012

ISBN 9780345512024

Namericans Dr. Ingrid Seastrom and Whispr the emaciated thief continue their effort to understand the data thread made from a material that cannot exist. Each has different motives as Seastrom hopes this is the beginning of saving a planet ravaged by centuries of manmade abuse and Whispr seeks to sell it to the highest bidder.

Genetically enhanced to be an army of one ruthless killer Napun Molé stalks them, they trek across Africa trying to reach a the South African Economic Combine (known as SICK) research facility in the Namib Desert where experiments have occurred. Embarrassed by his failures to assassinate the pair (see Body, Inc. and The Human Blend), Molé needs to kill them as much as for his self-esteem as for his mission. Besides the raging psychopath Molé, Seastrom and Whispr struggles from a lack of water, vicious animals seeking to make them meals and other predators wanting to control the filament.

The action-packed final Tipping Point futuristic industrial espionage science fiction satire is a fast-paced thriller that is fun to read though the constant danger and rescue seems over the top of Namibia’s Brandberg Mountain. Still fans will enjoy the misadventures of the doctor and the thief as the world has gone beyond the Tipping Point of what a human is.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Moonshifted-Cassie Alexander


Cassie Alexander

St. Martin’s, Nov 27 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9780312553401

Edie Spence works as a nurse on floor Y4 of County Hospital. The patients on this floor are diversly paranormal. She and her friend Charles head to Rock Ronalds for lunch. They enter a crosswalk as does a silver haired man on the other side of the street. A truck slowing down for the light abruptly accelerates and hits the pedestrian. Charles and Edie rush over to help the injured Hit and Run victim; a werewolf still is alive due to the quick response of the nurses, but remains in critical condition.

After Anna the living vampire visits her to tell her she will be at a gala, Edie rests before starting her next shift where she learns her new patient is Karl Winter, the werewolf king. His daughter Helen, nephew Lucas and pack member Jorgen arrives demanding information from Edie who offers nothing to them. They howl at her and warn her to keep their king alive or else. Attracted to Lucas, Edie trusts none of the weres as bellicose adversarial packs are at war with one another.

The second Edie Spence urban fantasy (see Nightshifted) is a fabulous paranormal thriller starring a fascinating heroine who tries to stay outside the fray, but no one including dead relatives allows her to remain detached. Fast-paced from the moment the hit and run occurs and never slowing down, readers will relish a visit in the fabulous realm of Alexander the Great while looking forward to the next entry in the life of Edie Spence, nurse to the paranormal.

Harriet Klausner

Ashes of Twilight-Kassy Tayler

Ashes of Twilight

Kassy Tayler

St. Martin's Griffin, Nov 13 2012, $9.99

ISBN: 9780312641788

In 1878 English astronomers detected a comet heading straight to earth. Mankind constructed the great glass Dome to protect the royals and selected others from the comet that ultimately burned the sky.

One hundred and ninety-eight years after people moved inside the Dome, some residents want out. Alex a Shiner tells his friend Wren that “The sky is blue” outside the Dome before he tries to escape the smog-laden city. Alex fails in his attempt; his body burned and placed on display as a warning to other wannabe radicals. However, Alex’s efforts stir Wren to begin a quest with friends at her side even as civil war seems imminent inside the Dome especially with coal running out.

The first Ashes of Twilight post-apocalyptic thriller is a great environmental cautionary tale starring a wonderful coming of age heroine. The Taylor world inside the Dome seems genuine as the residents face the scarcity of the non-renewable energy source at a time when the 1% remains disinterested in what happens to the masses as long as their lifestyle remains intact. Action-packed, fans will appreciate this strong alternate vision of a world struggling to survive two centuries after the great cataclysmic comet changed the planet.

Harriet Klausner