Monday, June 10, 2013

Steadfast-Mercedes Lackey


Mercedes Lackey

Daw, Jun 4 2013, $25.95

ISBN: 9780756408015

After the deaths of her parents, grieving Katie the acrobat felt paralyzed. Andy Ball, the Ball Circus owner where the Langford trio worked, told her to marry a strong man. So Katie married the strongman Dick. However, over the next few months he abused his wife, who asked Andy for help. He advised her to give her mate better sex. Katie fled and fortunately was taken in by the small family Traveler troupe as she expected Dick will pursue her in a rage.

Currently Katie is the performing assistant to top level illusionist Lionel Hawkins. She realizes her boss is not just a stage illusionist though he conceals his real magic of an Elemental Magician who deploys Air Elementals. Likewise Lionel and his associate Jack the doorman conclude she is unaware that she is a Fire Magician even as Dick is coming to collect his wife.

The latest Elemental Masters alternative Edwardian romantic fantasy is an entertaining adult fairy tale though the Elementals act out of character (rarely chatting). The villain is not one of the stronger (pun intended) malevolent ones, but fans will root for the heroine to find her groove and no longer Running Scared confront her brute of a husband.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Eight Million Gods-Wen Spencer

Eight Million Gods

Wen Spencer

Baen, Jun 4 2013, $25.00

ISBN: 9781451638981

In New York City, Nikki Delany has two obsessions. First she needs to escape from her control freak mom the US Senator who tries to have her committed as she believes her daughter is a psychotic, dangerous to herself. Second she compulsively needs to write on any surface. Her BFF since childhood, Miriam thinks her college roommate is eccentric but their other roommates Yip and Yap the dogs accept her as a boring member of the family. Thanks to the canines. Nikki escapes her mother’s latest effort to lock her away.

Two months after her latest mommy dearest episode, Nikki joins Miriam in Osaka. While eating out, she tells Miriam about the death of a character in her novel when two cops arrest her as she described the murder of an American with a blender. Nikki has an alibi but Miriam reported the incident to the consulate so mother should arrive soonest. As she searches for the truth of how someone stole her homicidal idea, Nikki realizes that her writings foretell the future. Also Nikki ponders if she is insane as she has an invisible companion claiming to be the spirit of a samurai living in a stolen katana taken from a temple; with her loyal sidekick she wonders to whom of the Eight Million Gods the spirit worships. Matters turn crazier when she meets Leo Watanabe of Shiva.

The key to this strong urban fantasy is whether mom’s assertion her daughter is insane or whether the protagonist actually writes about murders before they happen and runs into all sorts of paranormal phenomena. Fast-paced and filled with action, readers will enjoy Wen Spencer’s super thriller as the heroine keeps the storyline focused while the audience wonder psychotic or paranormal.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Girl With The Iron Touch-Kady Cross

The Girl With The Iron Touch

Kady Cross

Harlequin Teen, May 28 2013, $17.99

ISBN: 9780373210855

In 1897 London, automatons apparently working for the remnants of the evil Machinist kidnap Emily O’Brien because of her mechanical skills. They demand she place the brain of Leonardo Garibaldi into automaton 312; their late master’s creation which is more human than mechanical. She refuses as she does not want another battle to the death with another Machinist. When her abductors threaten her straynge friends (Finley Jayne, Lord Griffin King and Sam Morgan), Emily knows she must fake cooperation while stalling the transplant until she escapes or is rescued.

Meanwhile Emily’s three buddies desperately search for her. Finley Jayne pleads with master criminal Jack Dandy to help save Emily; Jack kisses her shaking and confusing her heart as she loves Griffin. The Aether beckons Griffin who fears he is losing his mind, but deals with his sanity alone as expected of an aristocrat. Though more machine than man, a panicked Sam knows his heart and soul propels him to search forever for the female he loves.

The latest Girl With Steampunk Chronicles historical fantasy (see The Girl in the Steel Corset and The Girl in the Clockwork Collar) is a terrific entry that grips readers from the moment Emily is snatched and never loosens that hold unto a final confrontation. Action-packed yet vividly described, teen readers will think they crossed over into an alternate late Victorian London in a coming of age thriller; as the trio and their allies struggle with runaway emotions that could betray the rescue mission while at the same so does the abductee.

Harriet Klausner