Friday, April 10, 2009

The Host

Stephenie Meyer, The Host review coming soon

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville Series

I received Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville series a while back not knowing what to expect. I put them on my reading list for March and wished for the best. Upon reading them, I realized right away that this was no chick-lit; this was going to be a kick-ass, take no names, urban fantasy series. I absolutely devoured the series and was done with all six before I knew it.

Kitty and the Midnight Hour introduces us to Kitty Norville, a midnight-shift DJ living in Denver who happens to be a werewolf. Dealing with her werewolf pack and who she is, she accidently starts "The Midnight Hour" on her radio show, basically a late-night advice show for anything supernatural. Actions have consequences, and her new radio show does not sit well with the alpha of her pack or the local Denver vampires.

Kitty Goes to Washington is where Kitty must live with the price of celebrity. She gets called to testify in front of congress and in doing so, gets wrapped up in even more problems.

After Washington, Kitty Takes a Holiday in a mountain cabin to write her memoir. Not much writing gets done, instead she has to deal with locals not trusting her and then her assassin "friend" Cormac and their lawyer Ben - who has some problems of his own.

Finally, in Kitty and the Silver Bullet, Kitty's getting some normality in her life, when her mother falls ill. She must return to Denver (where she is not welcomed by her old pack) and try to remain neutral. Things like normality and neutrality don't seem to agree with Kitty and she is caught up not only in a war in her old pack, but also between the city's vampires....and trying to keep her boyfriend safe.

In Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand, Kitty and Ben are now leading the Denver werewolves, keeping peace with the vampires, and decide to get married - Vegas style. The problem with being a famous werewolf is that people know you - and some want you dead.

If only things really stayed in Vegas, maybe Kitty could have returned to a normal life. But a supernatural evil follows Kitty back to Denver in Kitty Raises Hell and truly makes her life miserable. She has to make some incredibly tough choices about whom to trust and live with the outcome of those choices.

Carrie Vaughn has created a fantastic supernatural urban fantasy series based on werewolves, vampires, old magic, and things that go bump in the night. She has created multiple plot-lines that make the individual books satisfying as read-alones, but also keep the series going. I can't wait to find out what happens to all the characters. As far as urban fantasy series, I am putting this at the top of my list along with Jim Butcher's Dresden Files - which while reading the Kitty series, I kept thinking that it would be funny if Kitty fielded a call from some wizard in Chicago named Harry who needed advice on something.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Modern Magic

Modern Magic by Anne Cordwainer is written as a story cycle. The story cycle format is new to me and is one of the first things that you notice when reading this book. For others also new to this, a story cycle is basically a series of linked short stories. What we have here are twelve "episodes" spanning eleven years exploring the lives of John and Liz Prospero in this urban fantasy. Thanks to the use of the story cycle, Cordwainer is able to give us a lot of good fantasy and action in a quick read. The other unique device the author uses is an alternating first person narrative between the two main characters. You get to see both of their point of views and how their personalities affect those around them.

John and Liz Prospero are siblings from a sorcerer family, the Boston Prosperos. Just like in the real world people go bad, and magical users are no different. The Prospero family spend much of their time hunting these magical renegades to keep justice and everyone safe. John, one of the strongest sorcerors in the Prospero line, has to deal with the lot life has given him - the responsibilty and expectation to keep hunting these villains. Liz, born into a sorceror family without having any magic of her own, has her own problems - mainly dealing with the fact that even though she is normal, she can not live a normal life.

In Modern Magic, you will get to see how two very different siblings feel about each other and their fates; it is full of magic (both good and very very evil), adventure, mystery, and some very big surprises. If you like urban fantasy, you won't be able to put this book down.

Note: The above review was based on a book provided to me by the publisher and/or author. As always, I thank them for the opportunity to enjoy some new literature.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn

Alison Goodman, author of Eon: Dragoneye Reborn, is an Australian author who has received praise for her first science fiction work, Singing The Dogstar Blues and followed that up with the crime thriller Killing The Rabbit. Goodman wrote Eon as part one of a fantasy duology with part two expected sometime in 2010.

Synopsis from book: Twelve-year-old Eon has been training for years. His intensive study of Dragon Magic, which is based on Asian astrology, involves two kinds of skills: sword-work and magical aptitude. He and his master hope that he will be chosen as a Dragoneye-an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune.
But Eon has a dangerous secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been masquerading for the chance to become a Dragoneye. Females are forbidden to use Dragon Magic; if anyone discovers she has been hiding in plain sight, her death is assured.
When Eon's secret threatens to come to light, she and her allies are plunged into grave danger and a deadly struggle for the Imperial throne. Eon must find the strength and inner power to battle those who want to take her magic...and her life.

Alison Goodman starts with some rich history and culture of the East, adds in some fantasy elements and creates a one of a kind world, the Empire of the Celestrial Dragons. Her descriptive tales of the 12 Dragons and their associated Dragoneyes, the Hua or life force of the people, and the swordplay makes for a dynamic fantasy novel. Where Goodman rises above the rest is the way she intermingles so many problematic concerns of today into the novel. We get to examine the inner turmoil of ambition, despair and sacrifice, political intrigue, gender roles, and personal prejudices of "lesser" people. The only surprising thing is that this book is found in the Young Adult section - do not let that stop any adults from picking it up - this is one of the best books I have read in quite a while. I have now put Goodman's earlier works on my to-read list and I can hardly wait for the second part of this story.

Note: The above review was based on a book provided to me by the publisher and/or author. As always, I thank them from the opportunity to enjoy some new literature.