Alternative Worlds: Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Reviews

03rd April 2015

Fantasy and sci-fi book reviews

Alternative Worlds 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.

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Latest Reviews

March 28, 2014

Vampires…Need Not Apply?-Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

Filed under: Author: P,Fantasy,Title: V

Vampires…Need Not Apply?
Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
Forever, Mar 25 2014, $8.00
ISBN: 9781455546992

While on vacation in Mexico, affluent Spanish physicist Dr. Antonio Acero remains haunted by a woman pleading with him to free her. When he locates a mysterious Mayan tablet that allegedly will prevent the Apocalypse, obsessed Antonio tries to deploy the relic to open the gate restraining his enigmatic incarcerated female. Instead of success, an accident leaves Acero blind.

For seventy long lonely millennia, Ixtab the goddess of suicide has avoided the touch of humans after she accidently caused the death of her beloved. Wearing her veil to conceal her face and garbed in Goth mourning clothes, Ixtab arrives to help Antonio with his quest and regain his eyesight. To her astonishment, the philandering Spaniard not only looks like her memory of her one true love, but somehow survives touching her.

The latest Accidentally Yours romantic fantasy (see Accidentally in Love with…a God?, Sun God Seeks …Surrogate? and Accidentally Married to…a Vampire?) is a fascinating tale due to the lead Goddess’ dilemma that will remind readers of the X-Men’s Rogue. The hero thinks “Heaven Must be Missing An Angel” (Tavares) though he meets her while blind and she hides her visage behind her veil which in his mind means she must be hideous. Series fans will enjoy this fast-paced entry with over the top humor as the overarching theme of mad Cimil making life interesting moves somewhat forward.

Harriet Klausner

May 26, 2013

Creator II: Human Behavior Explored-Allen Pollens

Creator II: Human Behavior Explored
Allen Pollens
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Feb 8 2013, $14.99
ISBN: 9781482011067

In 2014, the Guardians of the Universe ordered Professor Thomas Scribner to act as human witness to an inquiry. Seven pass judgment on the eighth, the Creator of planet Earth whose experiment went wrong due to the psychopathic selfishness of the individuals making up the dominant sentient species. If ruled a colossal failure the free will test subjects will be terminated (see Creator: Apocalyptic Sci-Fi Epic, Earth’s Human Behavior Confronted).

In 2015, Harvard University History Professor Jeffrey Lerner agrees to go back in time to study human behavior in order to isolate the cause(s) that has led to endless violence; his findings are due to the Guardians of the Universe in 2024. From his home in Sudbury and with help from his teaching assistants Hank and Kathy, he makes his first stop in 3900 BCE, Jerusalem where he meets with Priest Jacob, Saul, David, Judith, Samuel and Laban where he uses the name Jethro and learns about the origins of the True One God religion(s) of Abraham and his offspring as well as female subjection to the rule of man.

The second Creator science fiction epic continues the look at irrational bellicose human behavior throughout history with a focus on key religious events in creating the Abrahamic religions and seeking why women were less than cattle. Though this entry can stand alone, reading book one enhances the understanding of the Guardians especially the Creator. With a fantastic late Hail Mary time travel twist to attempt to save mankind (and his heart), readers will relish this insightful look at humanity beginning with the origin of the Adam and Eve legend; as the Guardians paraphrasing H. Rap Brown believe that “violence is as (human) as cherry pie.”

Harriet Klausner

April 24, 2013

Prophet of Bones-Ted Kosmatka

Prophet of Bones
Ted Kosmatka
Henry Holt, Apr 2 2013, $27.00
ISBN: 9780805096170

In 1954 at the University of Chicago, scientist Willard F. Libby invented Carbon-14 dating. Six years later he won the Nobel Prize for debunking Darwin and the evolutionists when he proved the Earth is 5,800 years old. At the same time public school student Paul Carlsson, abused as is his Chinese mother by his violent but brilliant father, enjoys studying mice.

Years later, the Axiom Corporation sends ancient DNA expert Carlsson to join an archeological dig in Indonesia. He and others find bones that shatter their beliefs as the tests prove them to be older than the Libby accepted theory of the earth. Axiom Corporation CEO Martial Johansson wants the discovery to remain buried so sends goons to kill those at the excavation site. Paul escapes initially but when caught he learns the secret of the bones and much more.

Prophet of Bones is an exhilarating action-packed thriller that grips the audience even before the protagonist heads to Indonesia. The storyline is fast-paced and switches from the fascinating DNA science fiction mystery to a more standard albeit thrilling horror tale especially on Flores with a stunning late twist. Though readers will question Johansson’s decisions, we also will relish joining Paul as he makes one incredible discovery after another while trying to stay alive to tell the world what he found.

Harriet Klausner

April 4, 2013

Let the Dead Sleep-Heather Graham

Let the Dead Sleep
Heather Graham
Mira, Mar 26 2013, $24.95
ISBN: 9780778315056

In New Orleans, Danni Cafferty is in a hospital room as her father lies near death. Heartbroken she tells her dying dad she loves him and needs him to stay with her. He abruptly tells her he failed her when he delayed telling her of her inheritance; as he allowed his love for her to let her live a little longer as a normal. Before collapsing, her father insists she keep his curio shop she inherits and protect his ancient lore tome.

Not long after her father’s death, a distraught woman enters the shop to demand Danni take away an evil statue that killed her husband and will kill her next. Danni arrives at the woman’s home to learn she committed suicide and meets former NOPD cop turned private investigator Michael Quinn; the statue is gone. After informing her he collaborated on cases with her late dad, Michael further explains to her he is looking into strange deaths related to a Renaissance statue stolen from the grave of a malevolent monster. They team up in search of the missing artifact though both fear what will happen to them if they obtain this evil without precautions like having Catholic and Voodoo priests accompanying them.

The first Cafferty & Quinn romantic urban fantasy is an engaging tale though the love subplot between the protagonists seems more of an intruding sub-genre requirement. The New Orleans hunt for the malevolent killing relic is fun to follow even without a Krewe of Hunters for readers to rely on; as Heather Graham opens up her new series with an entertaining paranormal thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Red Moon-Benjamin Percy

Filed under: Author: P

Red Moon
Benjamin Percy
Grand Central, May 7 2013, $25.99
ISBN: 9781455501663

As his National Guard father deploys on a military peacekeeping mission operation inside the Lupine Republic, which is rich with uranium, teenager Patrick Gamble flies home to be with his mother. While in the air, a lycan goes berserk; killing everyone in the in the seating area except Patrick. He survives the bloody assault by hiding underneath a pile of corpses. The media calls him the “Miracle Boy” while a militant Lycan liberation army claims the attack that shocks the nation.

Soon afterward, Lycan Claire Forrester watches in horror as government agents raid her family home killing her parents and forcing her to flee from her suburban lifestyle as her uncle’s militant group claims credit for the air assaults. At the same Oregon Governor Chase Williams takes advantage of Lycan fears to make a run for the White House based on his strong take the fight to the enemy position; though he conceals a secret that would derail his presidential ambitions. As discriminatory laws to control Lycan become increasingly the norm and the voices of rage drown out reason, society proves that “violence is as American as cherry pie” (H. Rap Brown).

The keys to this strong urban fantasy is that the biology and medical causes of the lycan prion seem genuine and the plot’s reflecrions of real American movements from the civil rights to the GWOT, etc. The expected romance between Claire and Patrick adds depth to the de facto racism each has seen as their respective species violently prevent inter-relationships. Filled with gory action, yet loaded with a strong social-political message on basic human rights, Red Moon is a terrific thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Let the Dead Sleep
Heather Graham
Mira, Mar 26 2013, $24.95
ISBN: 9780778315056

In New Orleans, Danni Cafferty is in a hospital room as her father lies near death. Heartbroken she tells her dying dad she loves him and needs him to stay with her. He abruptly tells her he failed her when he delayed telling her of her inheritance; as he allowed his love for her to let her live a little longer as a normal. Before collapsing, her father insists she keep his curio shop she inherits and protect his ancient lore tome.

Not long after her father’s death, a distraught woman enters the shop to demand Danni take away an evil statue that killed her husband and will kill her next. Danni arrives at the woman’s home to learn she committed suicide and meets former NOPD cop turned private investigator Michael Quinn; the statue is gone. After informing her he collaborated on cases with her late dad, Michael further explains to her he is looking into strange deaths related to a Renaissance statue stolen from the grave of a malevolent monster. They team up in search of the missing artifact though both fear what will happen to them if they obtain this evil without precautions like having Catholic and Voodoo priests accompanying them.

The first Cafferty & Quinn romantic urban fantasy is an engaging tale though the love subplot between the protagonists seems more of an intruding sub-genre requirement. The New Orleans hunt for the malevolent killing relic is fun to follow even without a Krewe of Hunters for readers to rely on; as Heather Graham opens up her new series with an entertaining paranormal thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Red Moon-Benjamin Percy

Filed under: Author: P,Fantasy,Title: R

Red Moon
Benjamin Percy
Grand Central, May 7 2013, $25.99
ISBN: 9781455501663

As his National Guard father deploys on a military peacekeeping mission operation inside the Lupine Republic, which is rich with uranium, teenager Patrick Gamble flies home to be with his mother. While in the air, a lycan goes berserk; killing everyone in the in the seating area except Patrick. He survives the bloody assault by hiding underneath a pile of corpses. The media calls him the “Miracle Boy” while a militant Lycan liberation army claims the attack that shocks the nation.

Soon afterward, Lycan Claire Forrester watches in horror as government agents raid her family home killing her parents and forcing her to flee from her suburban lifestyle as her uncle’s militant group claims credit for the air assaults. At the same Oregon Governor Chase Williams takes advantage of Lycan fears to make a run for the White House based on his strong take the fight to the enemy position; though he conceals a secret that would derail his presidential ambitions. As discriminatory laws to control Lycan become increasingly the norm and the voices of rage drown out reason, society proves that “violence is as American as cherry pie” (H. Rap Brown).

The keys to this strong urban fantasy is that the biology and medical causes of the lycan prion seem genuine and the plot’s reflecrions of real American movements from the civil rights to the GWOT, etc. The expected romance between Claire and Patrick adds depth to the de facto racism each has seen as their respective species violently prevent inter-relationships. Filled with gory action, yet loaded with a strong social-political message on basic human rights, Red Moon is a terrific thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Let the Dead Sleep
Heather Graham
Mira, Mar 26 2013, $24.95
ISBN: 9780778315056

In New Orleans, Danni Cafferty is in a hospital room as her father lies near death. Heartbroken she tells her dying dad she loves him and needs him to stay with her. He abruptly tells her he failed her when he delayed telling her of her inheritance; as he allowed his love for her to let her live a little longer as a normal. Before collapsing, her father insists she keep his curio shop she inherits and protect his ancient lore tome.

Not long after her father’s death, a distraught woman enters the shop to demand Danni take away an evil statue that killed her husband and will kill her next. Danni arrives at the woman’s home to learn she committed suicide and meets former NOPD cop turned private investigator Michael Quinn; the statue is gone. After informing her he collaborated on cases with her late dad, Michael further explains to her he is looking into strange deaths related to a Renaissance statue stolen from the grave of a malevolent monster. They team up in search of the missing artifact though both fear what will happen to them if they obtain this evil without precautions like having Catholic and Voodoo priests accompanying them.

The first Cafferty & Quinn romantic urban fantasy is an engaging tale though the love subplot between the protagonists seems more of an intruding sub-genre requirement. The New Orleans hunt for the malevolent killing relic is fun to follow even without a Krewe of Hunters for readers to rely on; as Heather Graham opens up her new series with an entertaining paranormal thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Red Moon-Benjamin Percy

Filed under: Author: P,Fantasy,Title: R

Red Moon
Benjamin Percy
Grand Central, May 7 2013, $25.99
ISBN: 9781455501663

As his National Guard father deploys on a military peacekeeping mission operation inside the Lupine Republic, which is rich with uranium, teenager Patrick Gamble flies home to be with his mother. While in the air, a lycan goes berserk; killing everyone in the in the seating area except Patrick. He survives the bloody assault by hiding underneath a pile of corpses. The media calls him the “Miracle Boy” while a militant Lycan liberation army claims the attack that shocks the nation.

Soon afterward, Lycan Claire Forrester watches in horror as government agents raid her family home killing her parents and forcing her to flee from her suburban lifestyle as her uncle’s militant group claims credit for the air assaults. At the same Oregon Governor Chase Williams takes advantage of Lycan fears to make a run for the White House based on his strong take the fight to the enemy position; though he conceals a secret that would derail his presidential ambitions. As discriminatory laws to control Lycan become increasingly the norm and the voices of rage drown out reason, society proves that “violence is as American as cherry pie” (H. Rap Brown).

The keys to this strong urban fantasy is that the biology and medical causes of the lycan prion seem genuine and the plot’s reflecrions of real American movements from the civil rights to the GWOT, etc. The expected romance between Claire and Patrick adds depth to the de facto racism each has seen as their respective species violently prevent inter-relationships. Filled with gory action, yet loaded with a strong social-political message on basic human rights, Red Moon is a terrific thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Let the Dead Sleep
Heather Graham
Mira, Mar 26 2013, $24.95
ISBN: 9780778315056

In New Orleans, Danni Cafferty is in a hospital room as her father lies near death. Heartbroken she tells her dying dad she loves him and needs him to stay with her. He abruptly tells her he failed her when he delayed telling her of her inheritance; as he allowed his love for her to let her live a little longer as a normal. Before collapsing, her father insists she keep his curio shop she inherits and protect his ancient lore tome.

Not long after her father’s death, a distraught woman enters the shop to demand Danni take away an evil statue that killed her husband and will kill her next. Danni arrives at the woman’s home to learn she committed suicide and meets former NOPD cop turned private investigator Michael Quinn; the statue is gone. After informing her he collaborated on cases with her late dad, Michael further explains to her he is looking into strange deaths related to a Renaissance statue stolen from the grave of a malevolent monster. They team up in search of the missing artifact though both fear what will happen to them if they obtain this evil without precautions like having Catholic and Voodoo priests accompanying them.

The first Cafferty & Quinn romantic urban fantasy is an engaging tale though the love subplot between the protagonists seems more of an intruding sub-genre requirement. The New Orleans hunt for the malevolent killing relic is fun to follow even without a Krewe of Hunters for readers to rely on; as Heather Graham opens up her new series with an entertaining paranormal thriller.

Harriet Klausner

March 31, 2013

Alizel’s Song-Bill Pottle

Filed under: Author: P,Fantasy,Title: A

Alizel’s Song
Bill Pottle
Ellechor Publishing House, Mar 3 2013, $16.99
www.ellechorpublishing.com
ISBN: 9781937844882

Alizel the lowest Unranked angel muses over how fifteen billion years after the event, man stated: “In the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth”; not relatively long after that, man called it the Big Bang though it was not big and there was no bang as there was no air. The mission-less angels, even the highest rank Seraphim Luciferel, was confused as to why He created another world besides Heaven. The official word from the Seraphim was to trust in the Father as all will soon be revealed.

Zebub the Virtue sadistically hurts Verin the Virtue in a duel until Cantos the desk keeper armorer, accompanied by a Principality and a Power, ends the match. An Irate Verin destroys Cantos and the Principality while Zebub does likewise to the Power. The vanished angels end in Containment; while their destroyers fly away free and witness Alizel cries for the first time not in joy. The first murder in Heaven is the genesis of a revolt. When the new realm includes an entity made in God’s image, Luciferel takes over leading the rebellion against the Father. Not long afterward (in heavenly time), those angels ridding themselves of God’s Energy forge a mission to destroy Man, who quickly abuses free will to commit sin.

Alizel’s Song is a deep “memoir” as Bill Pottle provides a superb retelling of Genesis and much more. Fast-paced, this profound biblical thriller grips the reader from the onset with all the angels, even those that remain loyal, in shock with what the Father has wrought. The unranked angel escorts the audience on a tour of Heaven while describing key events in those early days as Big Bang scientific theory converges with Creationism.

Harriet Klausner

March 27, 2013

The Lost-Vicki Pettersson

Filed under: Author: P,Fantasy,Title: L

The Lost
Vicki Pettersson
Harper Voyager, Mar 19 2013, $14.99
ISBN: 9780062064653

Five decades ago someone murdered private investigator Griffin Shaw and his wife Evie; the case was never solved. On the bottom rung of the celestial ladder, Griff assists the purebreds by collecting the souls of murder victims; in exchange for his cooperation he has permission to investigate the homicides of him and his spouse. Recently, he met Las Vegas reporter Katherine “Kit” Craig when he was to collect her soul; but he broke the rules by failing to do so as he fell in love with the mortal after Anas clipped his wings due to defiance (see The Taken).

A new deadly drug eats away the flesh of the krokodil users. An obsessed Kit believes she and her beloved angel need to prevent further deaths, but Griff must collect the soul of krokodil user Jeap Yang, which angers his mortal girlfriend. Kit interferes, which leaves her vulnerable to fallen angel Scratch. Still, as is her personality, she leads the charge against the powerful Marielitos Cartel.

The second Celestial Blues bittersweet romantic urban fantasy (see The Taken) is a strong tale starring a hard boiled 1950s detective with a soft boiled heart and the “Impossible Dream” reporter “… willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause”; as defined by her and not heaven. With the angelic hierarchy seemingly real, fans will enjoy this super thriller; as the cold case murder mystery, Scratch and the drug war deftly come together.

Harriet Klausner

March 21, 2013

Creator: Apocalyptic Sci-Fi Epic, Earth’s Human Behavior Confronted-Allen Pollens

Creator: Apocalyptic Sci-Fi Epic, Earth’s Human Behavior Confronted
Allen Pollens
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Apr 13 2011, $14.99
www.createspace.com
ISBN: 9781456306700

On June 14, 2014 in New York City, Professor Thomas Scribner receives a summons to appear at an inquiry to bear witness. He is given no choice whether to appear at the inquest as no essence can refuse the Guardians of the Universe. Seven Guardians are passing judgment on an eighth, the Creator of planet Earth where an experiment went wrong due to the psychopathic selfishness of the individuals making up the dominant sentient species. If ruled a colossal failure the free will test subjects will be terminated.

A stunned Scribner sees a wake-up tragedy the next day and knows he must turn humanity around before mankind’s eradication. He persuades student assistants Susan Bellwether and Andrew Brown to help him write the “Words of the Creator” and convince an avarice world to adhere to “The Credo.” As the world devolves over the years, mostly due to religious dogmatic wars and environmental destruction, the Creator increasingly believes the noble experiment failed. Disheartened the Creator creates warning calamities in 2025 and 2035, but few heed the message. Over those same decades, the three messengers, though considered by most as lunatics, continue their efforts to save earth while marrying and having children. However, a sad Creator leans towards pulling the plug.

With a nod to the song In the Year 2525 (by Zager and Evans), Allen Pollens provides a deep apocalyptic science fiction epic centered on Earth’s Creator confronting human behavior in a refreshing profound Creationism-Judgment Day parable. Fast-paced from the moment a bewildered professor finds himself in Times Square to bear witness to a calamity, readers will appreciate this strong tale as the displeased Creator begins the end.

Harriet Klausner

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