is a science fiction and fantasy book review site, written and published by accomplished reviewer Harriet Klausner. For more information, please check the About page.
Please feel free to use the links below to navigate to book reviews alphabetically, either by Author Name, or Book Title, or else use the main left-hand links to main genres, or most recent reviews.
Alternative worlds - Worlds of the Imagination - welcome, and please enjoy the site.
Supported by the chronicles network
May 22, 2013
Children of the Gates
Baen, May 7 2013, $13.00
“Here Abide Monsters:” On this apparent parallel earth where elven roam, creatures in flying saucers abduct and enslave newcomers. Avalon the herald offers safety at a cost to recent travelers from various earth ages who unfortunately fell through the Gate; they must give to him part of their soul.
“Yurth Burden.” On the Zacar plains dwell the Raski farmers while in the mountain reside the Yurth with their Upper Sense. The two races are in a constant state of hostility with horrific wars occurring. When a Raski warrior Stans follows a Yurth woman Elossa on her coming of age quest, he knows he must kill her.
Children of the Gates contains reprints of two wonderful 1970s tales. Yurth Burdon is especially timely leaving the audience to ponder the long term impact of racial hatred.
Eric Flint and Ryk E. Spoor
Baen, May 7 2013, $
After the Ceres disaster, the second space race seems over for the privately-owned Ares Corporation (see Threshold) though former Fed Madeline Fathom manages to land their disabled vessel Nebula Storm on Europa. Also crash landing on this moon of Jupiter is the European Union ship Odin. Neither craft can leave Europa though the crew of Nebula Storm hopes to find a way to fix the broken reactor or come up with an alternate solution.
Madeline, paleontologist Dr. Helen Sutter, sensor expert A.J. Baker and the rest of the survivors from both ships know the immediate mission is to stay alive though neither side trusts the other with good reason. At the station on the Martian moon Phobos, grieving the loss of his friends and his wife Helen, Interplanetary Research Institute of the United Nations Director Nicholas Glendale must make decisions on the mission; though he knows the EU caused the deadly explosion he cannot prove it and needs the alliance to remain in place. However, he is taken aback when Madeline sends him an encrypted message saying hello from sunny Europa. Meanwhile the stranded crews must work together as they explore this Jovian moon heading to the icecap seeking water underneath it while dealing with an orb filled with deadly radiation.
Though one must read Threshold and preferably Boundary to understand how the crews landed in this predicament, fans will enjoy this engaging science fiction thriller because much of the storyline focuses on survival and exploration in a hostile environment. However those twin themes also means the overarching plot moves forward slower than a glacier until the last quarter of the epic. Still fans will enjoy surviving on Europa.
May 16, 2013
Dark Star Dawning
ImaJinn, Apr 30 2013, $14.99
Victoria Hart grew up a wanderer as her mother could not stay in any one place for very long. When Tori managed to stay in a residence for more than a cup of milk, she was with a foster family. She relishes settling at one address in Hope, Ohio where she runs an antique shop.
Widower Captain Reese Taren arrives in Hope seeking the Heart of Destiny, an artifact he does not believe exists but his Emperor sent him to find it to save what is left of his world from alien invaders. He kidnaps Tori who Reese thinks is the key to destroying the feral enemy he loathes for killing his wife, child and others. However, he never expected her to be his Heart of Destiny, but knows what must happen to his beloved to save a world and perhaps a universe.
Dark Star Dawning is an entertaining science fiction romance starring a heroic male and a bewildered female feeling out of her element within a worlds collide setting. Fast-paced, readers will enjoy the dilemma the lead couple confronts as the risk for Tori is almost certain death, but doing nothing means billions die. Although the plot contains several inconsistencies, Elyse Hendricks provides an engaging sci fi love story.
Shield of Sea and Space
PYR, May 7 2013, $18.00
The Tesseract magic practitioner Vidarian Rulorat wants to avoid conflict for two powerful motives: his partner Ariadel and their newborn. However, desires do not always happen in real life as Vidarian knows his time at Calphille is ending soonest due to the devious machinations of the Alorean Import Company merchant cabal who want to control all magic on Andover. The affluent diabolical Alorean Import Company has goaded kingdoms into wars leaving nations bankrupt and in debt; forcing Vidarian to leave court seeking allies against the merchant cabal.
Vidarian opened the gate between worlds and freed Starhunter the goddess of chaos. She brought back wild magic to Andovar; leading to shape- changers and elemental technologies. The evil cabal needs to cleanse the realm of most of the newcomers in order to control all of the magic so as to complete their plan to rule the world.
The third Chaos Knight fantasy (see Sword of Fire and Sea and Lance of Earth and Sky) is an exhilarating thriller as a final war will determine the future of a world. With a shot at the military-industrial-congressional complex, fans will relish Kate Hoffman’s fabulous mythos as readers will believe in species like gryphons due to the actions of Altair and Khalesh who make the unbelievable believable.
May 13, 2013
Harper Voyager, Apr 30 2013, $7.99
Two decades have passed since the truce agreement with the Sh’daar ended hostilities and led to a cold war rivalry. The earth hero of that war (see Singularity), then Admiral Alexander Koenig is now president; so remains diligently alert for further combat especially in disputed areas as the enemy is known for its bellicose attitude towards other races.
Lately Sh’daar attacks on the Earth Confederation outposts and vessels have begun. Neither President Koenig or other leaders know why the hostilities have started again though most expected it to occur at some time; nor who the alien ally of their feral foe is as the Sh’daar, who trusts no other species, has deployed advanced weaponry they did not previously possess. Trevor Grey commands the Koenig’s old ship the CVS America as he heads into what appears to be the second war zone with neither side cognizant of the Black Rosette.
The fourth exciting Star Carrier science fiction saga (see Center Of Gravity) is an engaging Deep Space thriller as 2424 comes alive in Ian Douglas’ entertaining series of two species at each other’s throat. The storyline focuses on outer space race relationships and what has happened to key participants in the last war. Although there is too much repetitiveness of events especially slowing down the early storyline, fans will enjoy the heating up of the cold war conflict.
The World of the End
Ofir Touché Gafla
Tor, Jun 25 2013, $24.99
As an expert epilogist, Ben Mendelssohn understands the importance of the right ending to a book or movie. Considered a brilliant “righter” he is in demand to write the climax to fiction.
When his beloved wife Marian dies unexpectedly during odd circumstances, Ben cannot accept that finish to their relationship. Unable to cope with her death, he creates the perfect ending to their romance when he commits suicide to be with her in the afterlife. The bullet in his head leaves him in The Other World; a place with cities filled with the deceased living a second existence expertly managed by the “aliases.” Ben finds the Mendelssohn clan all over the place and rejects Marilyn Monroe, but no Marian anywhere. Understanding the need for an expert, a desperate Ben employs the Mad Hop known for finding missing people; unprepared for what he finds out.
The World of the End is a profound twisting parable that looks deep into a person’s soul. Readers will relish Ben’s trek through the afterlife as he wonders whether the love of his first life is meant to be with him in his second. Filled with humorous encounters, this entertaining metaphysical thriller leaves fans wondering about relationships accepted during life, ended with death and questioned in eternal life when one party wants renewal and the other hesitates.
May 11, 2013
As Twilight Falls
Zebra, Apr 30 2013. $7.99
Free-lance writer-photographer Kadie Andrews gets lost in Wyoming while working on a story about ghost towns. She crosses a wooden bridge during a storm but runs out of gas. Her cell phone fails to work. Vampire Darrick Vaughn welcomes her and takes the reluctant human to a tavern for coffee. He then takes her to a vacant house for her to stay. Vaughn claims her as his. However, master vampire Rylan Saintcrow says she belongs to him.
Human Donna tells her no one leaves town. Kadie tries to walk across the bridge but cannot complete the trek. She notices a special house that gives her the chills. At night Vaughn takes her to a restaurant but he does not eat. She joins a reading group where she learns the town contains a vampire coven of eight males and one female. They warn her of Saintcrow who no one has seen in years. Kadie tells Vaughn she wants to leave. He says she cannot and calls her his private stock. Saintcrow arrives and informs her everyone in town belongs to him. Saintcrow wonders why he needs Kadie as she is the first woman he invited into his Blair House. As they fall in love, the couple learns her father is aligned with hunters as he needs Saintcrow’s blood to save his dying other daughter.
Readers will believe vampires run a city in which humans cannot leave (the Eagles’ Hotel California) though with the horror in Cleveland, the concept becomes much more nightmarish. The star-crossed romance is nicely developed as is the transformation of Saintcrow although he is too powerful; ergo limiting suspense.
May 9, 2013
Defender of the Flame
Ad Stellae Books, Apr 20 2013
Starship pilot Lieutenant Terry Radnor is irate and desolate when Fleet headquarters abruptly without explanation reassign him from his assignment at Centuri Ops Center where he was due to command on his next explorer mission to the desolate training base on Titan. He assumes the brass wants him to instruct future pilots to explore space. Drew Larrson welcomes Terry, but warns him he will go stir crazy like all of the other pilot exiles.
After seeing psychiatrist Dr. Aldren, Admiral Derham asks Terry if he would volunteer to be part of a top secret project involving a new type of psychological and physical training. He signs the life-binding Extraordinary Secrets Acknowledgment agreement, but is quickly transferred to the Shepard. As a contented Terry finds his life-calling and Allison, he suddenly loses everything except his need to regain what he once had in order to protect Ciencia.
The third Flame futuristic science fiction (see Stewards of the Flame and Promise of the Flame) is a fabulous twisting outer space thriller that will keep readers wondering what next will happen to the protagonist. Character driven by Terry, readers will enjoy his exploits and also appreciate his ethics as he learns inconvenient truths that tear his core values asunder.
Kevin J. Anderson
Kensington, Apr 30 2013, $15.00
In the Unnatural Quarter, Rusty the full-time werewolf hires zombie private investigator partner Dan Shamble of Chambeaux and Deyer (he being Chambeaux while Robin the African American lawyer is Deyer) to watch for suspicious behavior during cockatrice fighting family night. The client is especially concerned that Monthlies like bad bikers Scratch and Sniff will cause trouble. Shamble assumes the full-time is paranoid due to the prejudice between his type and the Monthlies. However, the action ends when Officer “McGoo” and other cops arrive.
While Robin assisted by Sheyenne the office assistance ghost work a father rights case for graveyard Steve against the Addams Family Practice; Dan investigates the assaults on werewolves that leaves them humiliatingly hairless. Bald werewolves prove less horrific to Dan than dealing with the human horde attending the Worldwide Horror Convention.
The latest Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. paranormal investigation (see Unnatural Acts and Death Warmed Over) is once again a superb satirical thriller as Kevin J. Anderson lampoons societal morality in which feuds over microscopic differences are the norm. Readers will enjoy this entry with added twisting freshness coming from the Unnatural Quarter residents fearing the dangerous denizen of paranormal human fans attending a horror convention.
Next Page »
Sourcebooks, May 7 2013, $6.99
Depressed by not finding her mate as she passes her thirtieth birthday, Pure-blooded Bear Clan Amoveo Marianna Coltari, a Kodiak bear shapeshifter, feels her powers waning. To avoid her race, she hides at the Vampire owned Coven, but Hayden arrives there anyway as he wants her as his Mate. Meanwhile her twin brother Dante (see Untouched) fears the violent Purists will assault his Pure Blood sibling for remaining Mateless with so many of their kind to breed with. Thus he orders human Pete Castro, a former cop who works at Dante’s Inferno Securities, to keep Marianna safe from the Purists.
As they hide from those who want to use Marianna, Pete is attracted to her but will not act on his feelings because his first need is to protect her; besides he believes a purebred human is a lesser species than a purebred Amoveo. Marianna dreams about Pete, which she knows means he is her mate and she will act on her feelings.
The fourth Amoveo Legend paranormal romance (see Untamed and Unleashed) is undeniably a fabulous entry as star-crossed soul mates fall in love while being in the crosshairs of an impending species civil war that will determine dilution or ethnic cleansing purification. With a fully developed cast that makes the Humphreys mythos seem genuine, series fans will appreciate Sara Humphreys’ latest super romantic urban fantasy as the Amoveo Legend saga continues to be great.