Book Reviews July
BOOK REVIEWS BY NORMALEEN of Prescott Public Library
The Breach/Cold Country/Deep Sky
I loved this series. It is a very quick read as there is lots of dialogue. A cop who got out of prison goes hiking and finds "Whisper," which implants an idea in his mind to save a pretty scientist and he finds out about "The Breach." It is a portal where strange tech comes out, but the government scientists aren't sure if the gadgets are from the future or a different dimension, and of course, there is a plot to destroy the world. This series reveals things about human nature that are both wonderful and awful and is well-matched by the cool tech (both good and bad) that they have to deal with. The action stays tight and the character development and motivations are believable. Our hero wants to help and what he finds out about the plot and about himself is really mind-bending. He could have been a monster but he tells himself not to be. The second and third ones continue the story ratcheting up the action and the cost to our hero may be more than he can bear.
Irwin, Stephen M.,
The Broken Ones (2012)
After each person gets saddled with their own personal ghost, the world goes crazy as people try to deal with something so out of their usual experience. Detective Oscar Mariani doesn't know who his ghost is or why it chose him, but he still tries to do his job. A series of ritualistic murders of disabled girls causes him to search out the possibly bad cop who he thinks is involved. But what he finds is way bigger than that. Characters feel like real people and the concept and development of the world-building is great. Probably there will be no sequel though as this had a complete ending.
The Hum and the Shiver (2011)
This is my new favorite author. Mix Fae with Appalachian Hill Folk, add in music and a wounded Iraq war heroine and you've got a great combination. First Daughters, flying fae, two warring clans and a death omen that can't find its target make for fascinating reading. The HUM is what you feel when a Tufa loves you and the SHIVER is what you feel when one hates you. The family dynamics are tight and the genealogy of the Fae traveling from England before Columbus to settle in North Carolina is an unusual take on fairies too. The sequel, Wisp of a Thing should come out in July 2013 but is already generating a positive buzz.
High powered telepath who is also a recovering Satin addict tries to find serial killer who is using telepathy to kill people who have talent. He has to figure out why and how and who and the Guild that controls ESP persons may be responsible. Lots of great characters and the plot line is very intricate. In the 2nd book, his job is on the line as budget cuts to the police department mean he has to increase his cleared case rate and make his contribution worth keeping him. Great use of illegal biotech with interesting development of his backstory. Not really similar in story line, but maybe in atmosphere, to the Harry Dresden series; but if you liked those you will probably like these too.
Low Town (2011)
Great fantasy mystery similar to Fafhrd & the Grey Mouser or Harry Dresden but our protagonist is on the other side of the law until the death of small girl forces him back on the side of the law as he investigates sorcerers, noblemen, crooks, all of which bring back memories he would rather hide. Great book by a new author. Can't wait for more.
Babylon Steel (2012)
Madam of a whorehouse who used to be Goddess's Avatar tries to find a missing girl, but finds more there that she has to handle. She finds out the other Avatars from her home plane are looking for her ring to help them become real Gods and she has to stop them without falling prey to the primal desire to return to Godhood. Great supporting characters and lots of them aren't human, with an interesting take on an Arabian/Medieval world. Sex trade is really underplayed but is funny where she uses it.
by Greg Lundberg
Reviewed by J.J.M. Czep
Greg Lundberg creates a grand universe of amazing technology and creepy aliens. I am not typically a reader of science fiction, but I really enjoyed Metamorphosis. The blend of high technology and ancient artifacts was well done. Greg does a great job of detailing how things work in his universe, without boring the reader. Half the fun for me was learning the science.
The story has the usual suspects; the genius rebel kid, the pretty but smart romantic interest, and the heroic leader. And, the heros; Ben, Jennifer, and Commander Eric Forest, face off against the arrogant alien warlord and his horde of followers. This is not to say the characters are poorly done; to the contrary, I enjoyed Greg's use of the characters and the depth he adds to the standard. While much of the relationship twists are expected I feel that was the point in this book.
It really is all about the world building. From the technology and the engineering behind the spacecraft and other tools - including the witty AI, Jack - to the history surrounding the alien races, every detail is considered. I would love to pick Greg's brain concerning the research that had to have gone into this story.
It is no wonder though that the tech is at the fore, Greg's other passion is engineering and it is clear in Metamorphosis.
Blackstrap's Ecstasy: A Corsair Captain's Log
by J.J.M. Czep
Reviewed by Greg Lundberg
Gennie, Madblade, thief, Blackstrap, Solange de LeRenard, Cinta...all complex personalities of one Blackstrap Gennie, Captain of the pirate ship Ecstasy. Born to wealth and privilege only later to be cruelly orphaned by the French inquisition, the young noble girl Solange makes her way in a world fraught with danger and terror. Her ship is attacked and her benefactor killed, leaving Solange to choose between a pirate's life and death. Having nothing to lose and no family to go home to, she chooses life as a pirate; bonding to her fellow shipmates and changing her name. Given the opportunity to lead a boarding party, Gennie wins for herself a ship, a crew, and the title "Pirate Captain" of the newly christened ship Ecstasy. Now Blackstrap Gennie can travel the seas to whatever destination she or fate decides. Cross her at your own peril, she's unpredictable and deadly with a blade, a gun, or an empty bottle of the finest rum (you're paying, of course). It's a pirate's tale told by J.J.M. Czep.