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.

Alternative worlds - Worlds of the Imagination - welcome, and please enjoy the site.

chronicles network: science fiction and fantasy forums Supported by the chronicles network

Books by GENRE:

Alphabetical by Author Name:

a | b | c | d | e | f | g | h | i | j | k | l | m | n | o | p | q | r | s | t | u | v | w | x | y | z

Alphabetical by Book Title:

a | b | c | d | e | f | g | h | i | j | k | l | m | n | o | p | q | r | s | t | u | v | w | x | y | z |

Latest Reviews

April 10, 2014

Operation Shield-Joel Shepherd

Operation Shield
Joel Shepherd
Pyr, Apr 8 2014, $16.95
ISBN 9781616148966

On Droze, Cassandra Kresnov retired from the Federation’s military to work as a field operative for the Federation Security Agency. Sandy’s mission is to free android super-soldiers like she once was who were illegally created and are lethally misused by corporations as expendable pawns.

However, a clever adversary leads a vicious campaign naming her as a vile enemy of the GIs she tries to rescue. Complicating matters, the League takes away from her the three orphans she considers adopting. When a battle between the Fleet and the League occurs leaving many casualties especially among the GIs seeking asylum, the Federation Grand Council demands full retreat as they want to avoid at all costs another war.

The latest Cassandra Kresnov military science fiction (see 23 Years on Fire, Crossover and Killswitch) is a complex timely thriller with many more subplots than briefly described above; Joel Shepherd cleverly interweaves real issues into this action-packed storyline. Besides the dandy Sandy prime plot, especially fascinating are the effort by some politicians to change the Constitution in order to restrict the rights of others and the related hit on a lawyer working to expand the constitutional rights to the GIs. Add in the fascinating arrival of a non-soldier GI along with Sandy’s contemplating retiring into motherhood leading to a strong entry with plenty to follow.

Harriet Klausner

October 23, 2013

The Osiris Curse-Paul Crilley

The Osiris Curse
Paul Crilley
PYR, Oct 15 2013, $17.99
ISBN: 9781616148584

Late in nineteenth century London, someone murders Nikola Tesla and steals the inventor’s WMD schematics. Encouraged by Sebastian Tweed’s father Barnaby, he and his partner Octavia Nightingale investigate the homicide in order to obtain the weapons’ plans before the killer deploys them.

The teenage sleuths quickly find a stunning connection between the Tesla homicide and the disappearance of Olivia’s mother over a year ago. More clues lead the daring duo to The Hermetic Order of Set whose members attempt to assassinate them. Sebastian and Olivia flee on the luxury airship Albion heading to Tutankhamen’s View Hotel built inside the Great Pyramid knowing that the history texts are wrong and England is in peril.

The second Tweed and Nightingale steampunk investigative thriller (see The Lazarus Machine) is an engaging save the Victorian world young adult adventure. The teenage amateur sleuths are fascinating heroes as they try to save England while shocked by what they have learned about the history of the world. Although the romantic elements between the lead couple feel more of a requirement that takes away from an otherwise entertaining alternate historical suspense with fun steampunk inventions in the name of progress, readers will enjoy the teens’ heroic escapades.

Harriet Klausner

July 4, 2013

The Outcast Prince-Shona Husk

Filed under: Author: H,Fantasy,Title: O

The Outcast Prince
Shona Husk
Sourcebooks, Jul 2 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9781402280160

Lydia Callaway inherited irreparable Callaway House, home of illicit affairs, from her late grandmother, but though she wants to restore it to its glory, she may have to sell it as her mother received all the money. As it is she hosts a garage sale to bring in needed cash. Caspian Mort, a rare fairy changeling born on earth rather than in Annwyn, walks around assessing and touching things with reverence as his psychometric ability shows him the object’s history. He offers to buy a mirror that used to creep out Lydia’s mom as a portal it can look into Annwyn where a power struggles has disrupted the kingdom.

Fairies search for Caspian who prefers his life with the mortals. A Gray, seeking the mirror, stalks him and his father the beleaguered king demands The Outcast Prince come to his ancestal home. As Caspian and Lydia become acquainted, the residue of the past acts as a matchmaker. Falling in love, though wary after Natalie, Caspian vows to keep his Lydia safe from the Annwyn conflict seeping into the mortal realm.

Leaving Goblins in The Shadowlands, Shona Husk begins a romantic fantasy series starring fairies who are amoral by human standards. The protagonists are a fabulous pairing who because of the demand on Caspian become star-crossed while if they met earlier would have been ignored. The storyline opens leisurely introducing the species (but fails to develop interracial and intra-racial relations), key players (for instance Caspian’s touch adds fascinating anecdotal history) and the scenarios in two realms. Readers will enjoy the opening Annwyn thriller as civil war amongst the fairies seems imminent.

Harriet Klausner

February 23, 2013

The Office Of Mercy-Ariel Djanikian

The Office Of Mercy
Ariel Djanikian
Viking, Feb 21 2013, $14.99
ISBN: 9780670025862

Three centuries ago in reaction to Malthus proven right by 59 billion residents, domed biospheres like America-Five were created. Soon after those who went inside, the Alpha release the Storm that causes pandemic destruction reducing the planet’s population to a few hundred thousand and making the surface hostile. Inside, there is abundance. To achieve their merciful vision of World Peace, Eternal Life, and All Suffering Ended, America Five established the Office of Mercy. Their mission to perform mercy killing sweeps of the starving tribes just outside their dome in order to end the suffering of these plighted poor souls.

Twentyish Citizen Natasha Wiley an Epsilon is assigned to the Office of Mercy as a tracker of the tribes who venture within fifty miles of the dome. Her boss and love interest Jeffrey a Gamma assigns her to reset monitoring sensors on her first venture outside the dome while reminding her that the key to stepping outside is to adhere to the Ethics Code especially no rapport with the tribes. However, her trek outside the dome does not go according to procedure.

This futuristic dystopian thriller is an exciting plausible tale in which the heroine finds the beliefs that she and all of Epsilon and those Generations before them has grown up with contain false premises (sort of like learning the Ten Commandments were a Genesis hoax). Somewhat a coming of age story inside a somewhat muted action storyline, readers will appreciate the 1984 logic of the America Five’s “burden” of saving the external masses by mass mercy murders.

Harriet Klausner

February 13, 2013

Omega-Susannah Sandlin

Filed under: Author: S,Fantasy,Title: O

Susannah Sandlin
Montlake Romance, Feb 5 2013, $12.95
ISBN: 9781612183596

Vampire Tribunal leader Mathias Ludlam remains frustrated over his failure to destroy the Penton community established by Aidan Murphy as a haven for vampires and untreated humans to live together in harmony and a home to his traitorous son Will. However, diabolical Mathias uses his defeats as a means of winning the final fight against the Alabama abomination. He persuades the reluctant Vampire Tribunal to deploy an all-out assault on Penton for the crimes they committed against their kind; cleverly concealing his duplicity in causing their reactions.

The residents retreat into Omega, an underground bunker. Will assigned to protect the humans as his vampire allies cannot risk his symbolic capture, though he longs to fight alongside his vampire brethren. Ordered to help Will is former US Army officer Randa Thomas who was forcibly changed. She sees her partner as an elitist dilatant while an upset Will seethes over being underutilized. As the attack begins, Will and Randa prepare to fight to the death.

The third Penton Vampire Legacy (see Redemption and Absolution) is an exciting romantic urban fantasy. Randa remains a dedicated soldier as a vampire just like she was when she was human; however, Will owns the paranormal storyline (and in many ways the series) with his constant growth. With a deep look inside the heads of the key players during the Omega crisis without crimping the action, sub-genre fans will relish Susannah Sandlin super vampire mythos.

Harriet Klausner

October 21, 2012

The Ogre and Other Stories-William Levy

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

The Ogre and Other Stories
William Levy
BlackWyrm, Jun 4 2011, $11.95
ISBN: 9781613181034

This is an entertaining adult fantasy anthology in which William Levy sets the tone in his introduction with his comments on Julie “Catwoman” Newmar (as adolescent males wanted to make her purr and teen females envied her statuesque purrfect feline form). In the “Dragon at Mackenzie’s farm”, Coleridge insists he is not a wizard to the investigating sheriff. Erv Largo is introduced to lovely Ms. Tessa and knows instantly by his bodily reactions she has sex “Appeal”; note that no bananas were hurt during this tale. Only eight years old, Lida is given the “Burden” to watch over her younger siblings in the hidey hole while a wizard and four fighters arrive to take her parents as prisoners to the king. If you have a queasy stomach you don’t want to know “What They Did To Me On My Summer Vacation.” The Martian Girl’s green body had male eyes (and other parts) bulging, Posey begins to rise from the third shift convenience store clerk position in “Out Of Space.” Finally there are the seven engaging Ogre entries to round out a fascinating short story collection.

Harriet Klausner

September 1, 2012

Order of the Seers-Cerece Rennie Murphy

Order of the Seers
Cerece Rennie Murphy
LionSky Publishing, Sep 4 2012, $15.00
ISBN: 9780985621001

In 2008 in Oregon, Lilith Knight drags her older brother Liam to the carnival. She explains to him that their mom told her to take him here. When they finally go home, he finds his mom dead having been shot and the neighborhood desolate on a nice Sunday morning. His mom’s note to Liam is to run and protect Lilli.

Using his mom’s notes she left for them, Liam knows the Guild hunts Seers; and ergo killed his mom and will try to capture his sister. Thus for twenty-one months, the siblings stay on the lam as they go from site to site staying out of sight. Though time has passed, Liam knows he will carry his last sighting of his late smiling mom to his grave as he believes she saw what was coming to her. He realizes Lilli’s emotional burden is much greater than his eyeing the aftermath, she hopelessly “witnessed” the murder. The pair meets other seers in Iowa as Marcus and Alessandra escaped from the Guild. While Liam and Alessandra fall in love, the foursome join a commune preparing for war with the Guild.

Order of the Seers is an intriguing science fiction novel that makes its prime premise of people with a genetic code to see the future seem genuine starting with the realization that the mom knew what was coming to her. The storyline is action-packed from the moment the siblings go home and never slows down as the Guild stalks them and others to exploit their gift/curse. With a strong cast, readers will appreciate the first OOTS thriller as this Seer predicts a fine novelist future for Cerece Rennie Murphy.

Harriet Klausner

July 5, 2012

Odd Apocalypse-Dean Koontz

Filed under: Author: K,Horror,Title: O

Odd Apocalypse
Dean Koontz
Bantam, Jul 31 2012, $28.00
ISBN: 9780553807745

Odd Thomas communicates with ghosts and has visions including seeing before meeting Annamaria who talks in an odd cryptic vernacular. They recently met (see Odd Hours) and soon after accept an invitation to spend time as guests at Roseland where they are placed in a stone tower and warned not to leave at night. Also with the pair is breathing Raphael the Golden Retriever and Boo the German shepherd ghost dog.

Odd encounters a despondent woman on a horse who using pantomime to tell him that her son who is at Roseland is in trouble. After the ghost leaves, Odd continues his walk where he sees weird copper lazy eights all over the compound while also meeting the odd residents who tell him to flee immediately. Heeding the pleas of the ghostly mother and Annamaria, Odd knows he faces evil if he is to save the offspring.

The latest Odd paranormal thriller is an enjoyable entry as wherever the hero goes trouble follows. The storyline has a gothic feel to it especially Roseland, which in many ways is the prime support “character”. Though there are too many external references (Psycho ghost Mr. Hitchcock excluded) that slow down the latest encounter with evil, fans of the series will appreciate the adventures of Odd, Annamaria, the canines and Tiny Tim with a late twisting pregnant pause that seems will have shocking future revelations.

Harriet Klausner

June 29, 2012

An Officer’s Duty-Jean Johnson

An Officer’s Duty
Jean Johnson
Ace, Jul 31 2012. $7.99
ISBN: 9781937007690

Powerful Space Force Navy psychic Ia can slip in and out of the time streams and see centuries into the future. Knowing that three hundred years from now, a near invincible enemy enters the galaxy destroying everything in their hunt for energy, Ia finds only one time line in which the destruction of the Milky Way does not occur. Thus she enlisted in the military when she turned eighteen as the first step towards insuring the one positive outcome happens (see A Soldier’s Duty).

Ia returns to her home heavyworld Sanctuary in order to insure the safety of her family and makes sure her brother wins the lottery at a time when religious disputes begin to turn hostile. The money will be used to for Sanctuary to survive one of the wars in which her home world plays a pivotal role. Ia plays a role in a series of armed conflicts with her goal to save billions of lives if every step in the time stream happens. Ia is a part of the Blockade Patrol keeping the amphibian race the Saliks blocked up in their sector. However, she knows they plan to break through the blockade; she must prevent this from happening because if they succeed her efforts to follow that one time stream ends in the earliest stage.

Known for her romantic fantasies (see the Sons of Destiny), Jean Johnson continues to display the width of her talent with her second exciting Theirs Not to Reason Why military science fiction thriller. Fans of Honor Harrington will appreciate heroic Ia who gives up the life she wants and the man she loves to prevent a futuristic galactic wide catastrophe, which, if unimpeded, would occur after she is dead. Fast-paced with terrific battle scenes and deep characterizations, Ia brings a sense of urgency to this deep tale.

Harriet Klausner

June 14, 2012

Once Burned-Jeaniene Frost

Filed under: Author: F,Fantasy,Title: O

Once Burned
Jeaniene Frost
Avon, June 26 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061783203

The accident scarred Leila but also allows her touch to kill as she controls electricity and can do psychometric readings. She works the carnival circuit until four vamps kidnap Leila because they need her uncanny ability to find Vlad Tepesh the firestarter vampire. Their plan is to kill him.

Leila applies her psychometric skills but finds herself telepathically communicating with an irate Vlad. He kills her abductors, but wonders who was behind the plot. Vlad also recognizes the mortal’s uniqueness so he refuses to free her as he feels he can use her in his search. Leila, who has missed touching, finds he survives her touch so puts up little an argument.

This is the first Night Prince urban fantasy starring a fascinating Cat & Bones secondary character with quite a history. Leila brings the electrical charge to this fast-paced action thriller as she and the first person she can touch without electrocuting them since the accident team up to try to find the villain behind the assault on the vampire who one must never call Dracula. Jeaniene Frost has stated an offshoot series with a winner.

Harriet Klausner

Next Page »

Warning: include(): http:// wrapper is disabled in the server configuration by allow_url_include=0 in /home/altworld/public_html/wp-content/themes/classic/index.php on line 284

Warning: include( failed to open stream: no suitable wrapper could be found in /home/altworld/public_html/wp-content/themes/classic/index.php on line 284

Warning: include(): Failed opening '' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/lib/php:/usr/local/lib/php') in /home/altworld/public_html/wp-content/themes/classic/index.php on line 284