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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cauldron of Ghosts by David Weber and Eric Flint



This is an Honoverse novel.  That simply means the setting is in the Universe created for the terrific Honor Harrington series.  This book deals with The Mesan Alignment a secret society on Mesa that has been playing puppet master over the nearby star systems.

I have trouble keeping track of the Honorverse.   I do like both Weber and Flint as authors.   I, inadvertently, read this book out of order so a great deal of it was confusing.   If I hadn't read all of the Harrington books I would have been annoyed.  

The story is good but a bit wordy.   The action aspect is not as apparent as in many of the Flint stories.   it was a good book but not up to the Honor Harrington standards. 

Web site:  http://www.ericflint.net/


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Touchstone by Melanie Rawn


Touchstone is a behind the scenes look at theatrical production powered not by animation but magic.   Touchstone is a theatre group struggling for success and identity. 

Ms. Rawn has done a masterful job in presenting an eclectic cast of characters.   She provides insights to their personalities and how they became the people they are.   Allusions to societal ills such as discrimination, poverty, perversion are made without being done with a heavy hand.

Blye is a perfect illustration of the "glass" ceiling facing even contemporary women.   The author does a good job drawing parallels with real life in spite of the fantasy format.

This is the first book in a trilogy, I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

I recommend the book.


Web Site: http://www.melanierawn.com/
 This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Awesome Jones by AshleyRose Sullivan



See the review at Selah Janel's Blog.


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Dragon Society by Lawrence Watt-Evans



This is book two of the Obsidian Chronicles.   It starts with a bang and keeps moving at a fast pace.   Arilian, now known as Lord Obsidian continues his quest of vengeance.  He discovers that passion and revenge are not necessarily what he really seeks.

Arlian seems to develop a more mature conscience in this book.   He also turns some friends into enemies and some enemies into friends.  The interpersonal relationships have a duplicity or perhaps complexity that provides a thought provoking assessment of Dragonhearts. 

There is plenty of action and violence with a great deal of soul searching.  

I look forward to reading the final volume in the trilogy.

I recommend it.

web site:  http://www.watt-evans.com/

Dragon Weather review of book one. 

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Conspiracies by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill



This is most definitely a YA book.   That is not to disparage it but a caution that it may be a bit juvenile and if that turns you off , you should be aware of that fact. Spirit White is still magic-less at a pseudo Hogwarts Academy that appears to be infiltrated by the bad guys.

The story is as much a relationship story between friends as a urban fantasy.   The core group of Spirit's friends are impacted by the arrival of alumni claiming to be there to protect the students from the forces of evil.  The identity of the forces of evil seem to be tied all the way back to the legend of Arthur and Merlin.  

There are some confrontations and very mild violence but there are deaths.  The story is more captivating than the first book in the series.  

I recommend the book.

web site:  http://www.mercedeslackey.com/
                 http://www.sff.net/people/eluki/

See my review of Legacies book one of the series. 

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The High Druid's Blade by Terry Brooks



Another tale of Shannara with familiar settings and some what familiar characters.  This tale is after the heroics of the Elfstones.   A small town young man laments the day to day drudgery of his chosen occupation.  The responsibilities of taking care of his mother and sister loom large in his life.  His heroic ancestors are just tall tales or are they?

I know I was a lot younger when I read a lot of Terry Brooks.  Perhaps they have always been Young Adult and I just didn't notice.  This book seems like a YA book, not a criticism but just a feel about the way the book is written.   The love of a brother for a sister is shown well, complete with the normal frustration shown between siblings.   Leofur could have gotten more word time.  I am looking forward to (hopefully) seeing more of her in a possible (seems likely) sequel.   Arcannen is a respectable villain but perhaps more complex than first seen.   I look forward to seeing these characters grow in future books. 

The formula of the young padawan being forged into a noble warrior is very familiar, enjoyable but familiar.  Paxon Leah is likeable as a main character.   The world of the Druids is always entertaining.


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Monday, May 5, 2014

A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge

Vinge is a real world, honest to goodness Computer Science professor.  His books are accurately described as hard science fiction.  This story describes a space faring group of merchants, the Qeng Ho, benefiting from the time dilation effect of interstellar travel.   They are traveling to a stellar anomaly and encounter a rival group of travelers.  Friction ensues.

The Qeng Ho see the universe through the long view.   They visit customers (populated planets) and often when they return after a century or more they see the decline or the acceleration of a civilization.   Their travel to the On/Off Star is predicated on scientific curiosity and the necessary profit motivation.  They encounter a race that has recovered from a civilization decline and are on their way back up.   Both space faring groups have different plans for the budding alien race on Arachna.   The budding race, not surprisingly, has plans of it's own.

Conflict between competitors is not unusual but the conflict here is beyond the ken of business is just business.  This is really a three way story with points of view from all three participants.   Adding flavor is the Leonardo Da Vinci of Arachna, Sherkaner Underhill.   His drive and vision have a multiplier impact on the story line.  There are highlights and low lights of viciousness and compassion for emotional counter play.
  
I highly recommend it.

Fan Based web site:  http://mindstalk.net/vinge/ /


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Hard Duty by Mark E. Cooper



This is book one of the Merkiaari Wars.  A survey ship stumbles across a radio transmission that isn't the Merkiaari.   Desperate for allies in their stalmated war with the Merkiaari, they make contact with the Shan.   The Shan have had their own experiences with the Merkiaari and are as distrustful as the humans.  

The survey ship Canada is ill equipped to make first contact with an alien race.  They send home for help and get a ship load of academics who quickly discover that reality is different than the classroom.

The story within the story deals with the Vipers.  Vipers are enhanced humans who were the deciding factor in keeping the Merkiaari from overwhelming mankind.   The fighting abilities of the Vipers and the vastly enhanced skill set also keeps them from re-melding with normals.   Their commander uses them as troubleshooter to keep order in the human empire.

The Shan are an interesting alien race that the author has done a nice job in a contrast and comparison with humans and the ensuing interaction.   The book has plenty of action and I hope to read more from Cooper.

I recommend it.

web site:  http://www.impulsebooks.co.uk/blog/


 This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.