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

March 13, 2014

Running With Wolves-Cynthia Cooke

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

Running With Wolves
Cynthia Cooke
Harlequin Nocturne, Mar 4 2014, $5.75
ISBN: 9780373885923

In the Cascades, the Colony’s wolf shifters’ leader Malcom assigns loyal member Jason Stratton to find and escort to the pack a former chief’s daughter to bring peace and consolidate the alpha’s power as his mate. Jason locates a confused Shay Mallory, who has recently dealt with weird happenings and still misses her late father who protected her while warning her to beware of strangers.

Feeling treasonous due to his attraction to Shay, Jason explains to her she must mate with a shifter; but she rejects the notion of being bound with a man she never met. As he escorts Shay and her companion Buddy to the enclave, enemies attack them several times. To save her life, Jason mates with Shay so she can shift though he expects once he gets her to safety, Malcom will kill him.

The keys to why Running With Wolves is a strong romantic fantasy are Cynthia Cooke’s supernatural world populated with the paranormal seems genuine and the hero is a caring passionate person preferring to make love not war. Action-packed, readers will enjoy joining the protagonists on their dangerous road show to love.

Harriet Klausner

January 16, 2014

Revolution-Mercedes Lackey, Veronica Giguere, Martin Cody and Dennis Lee

Revolution
Mercedes Lackey, Veronica Giguere, Martin Cody and Dennis Lee
Baen, Jan 7 2014, $25.00
ISBN 9781451639322

The meta-humans of Echo and CCCP managed to halt the blitzkrieg Invasion by the Nazis in spite of the seemingly superior ultra-powerful weaponry of the invaders. However, inside of Echo a revolt has broken out over the merit of romance writer and techno-mage Victoria Victrix Nagy’s Overwatch recording of events while one of Bulwark’s Misfits Harmony leaves her mentor in a comatose state (see World Divided). Two other Misfits Bruno and Scope hunt Harmony who has turned into a Blacksnake assassin.

As Nagy improves her Overwatch program while stealthy testing it on CCCP, EMT Bella Dawn Parker AKA Belladonna Blue the healer tries to save Bulwark’s life; as Seraphym enters his dreams to lay out his possible futures to him. At the same time General Shen Xue lives inside the body that once belonged to CCCP operative Fel Li who’s trapped inside the Jade Emperor’s sword Whisper possessed by Xue. The General accosts Echo owner Dominic Verdigris III while his bodyguard Khanjar tries to intervene but fails. However Xue and Verd reach an accord.

As with the second entry (see World Divided), action in the third Secret World Chronicle is a bit muted compared with the opening Invasion as the hostility remains from within and with Echo’s adversarial rival Blacksnake rather than the Nazi/Thule threat. The key to this enjoyable fantasy remains with the superhuman filled with flaws that reduce their super qualities to mere human. The engaging storyline emphasizes the shaky political bedfellows who make for Revolution at a time when unity is critical.

Harriet Klausner

December 2, 2013

Red Rising-Pierce Brown

Red Rising
Pierce Brown
Del Rey, Jan 28 2014, $25.00
ISBN: 9780345539786

Unlike his older brother Kieran, his sister Leanna and their Mother; sixteen year old Darrow watched stoically when the Golds tried and convicted his father, and the Greys hung his dad with the felon’s loved one’s pulling his feet to overcome the scarcity of gravity on Mars. Along with his family, as part of the lowest strata consisting of underground Red miners, Darrow works in hell digging for valuable helium-3 so that his offspring may have a better life on a terraformed surface.

When Darrow’s wife Little Eo learns the lies the elite has told about the hostile surface conditions as living planet-side is safe abundant with cities; she somberly sings a banned hymn. The upper strata convict and hang her. Grieving the loss of his spouse and childhood best friend, Darrow seeks revenge. The rebellious Sons of Ares offer him an opportunity, which he accepts. Following surgery and intense weeks of training, Darrow gains admission to the exclusive Institute. There he struggles to adjust at a school in which power is the only prize coveted by the surface aristocratic students and faculty while the losers’ lament are death or servitude; and students like Darrow are expendables at any time.

With a nod to the Hunger Games, Red Rising is an action-packed science fiction thriller that never slows from the moment Father is executed for dancing. Though the premise offers nothing new, this fast-paced Martian thriller grips the audience as the lowly Red surfaces driven by a bone marrow deep purpose to change the social order that he used to believe in.

Harriet Klausner

October 24, 2013

Revealed-P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

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

Revealed
P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
St. Martin’s Griffin, Oct 15 2013, $18.99
ISBN: 9780312594435

In Tulsa, the immortal Neferet is lost to Zoey and her House of Night companions (see Hidden). However, Neferet has a greater thirst for victory with revenge a powerful motivator for this ancient one used to always winning. She needs a body, but for one like her easily obtained through the blood of these lesser being mortals she kills without remorse.

Neferet begins her return engagement with a gruesome kill that angers the humans residing in Tulsa. The irate mortals demand a reckoning with the vampires starting with the House of Night occupants. The teen students led by Zoey know they must not just vanquish their evil adversary this time; they must prevent the malevolent from ever retuning. At the same time Zoey and her friends also must persuade the humans they will not harm them before a bloody incident happens.

The latest House of Night older teen urban fantasy is an engaging entry though the storyline has a déjà vu theme and the overarching plot fails to advance. Zoey and crew struggle with Neferet’s lethal actions that lead to the city outraged with all vampires racially profiled and blamed for one evil apple. Long time series fans will enjoy Neferit’s comeback tour.

Harriet Klausner

April 17, 2013

Reaper’s Legacy-Tim Lebbon

Filed under: Author: L,Title: R

Reaper’s Legacy
Tim Lebbon
PYR, Apr 9 2013, $17.95
ISBN 9781616147679

Several years have passed since the 2017 Doomsday terrorist attack left London an isolated Toxic City (see London Eye) surrounded by Chopper troops trying to keep survivors inside and other people outside as the rest of Britain believes no one lives within this wasteland. Unbeknownst to the outside world, government experiments on surviving Londoners have been conducted leading to humans morphing into beings with supernatural powers.

Lucy-Anne continues to have strange futuristic dreams. She and Rook head north in search of any of her family especially her brother who might have survived Doomsday and the aftermath. Her boyfriend Jack knows they are changing having been healed by Rosemary after true-believer Jenna stabbed him and was subsequently touched by Nomad. As his Irregulars teammates begin to die; he, his best friend Sparky and Jenna search for Jack’s father, Reaper and Lucy-Anne. At the same time researcher Miller knows of Nomad’s touch and wants to dissect Jack while the government no longer deploys the containment policy; instead the final solution countdown has begun.

Rotating between the two strong prime subplots, Reaper’s Legacy continues to build on the enigmatic conspiratorial events of London Eye. Loaded with action that moves forward the exciting storyline, this thriller also sets the stage for Contagion. Fans will appreciate this dark dystopian urban fantasy (with sci fi elements) as Tim Lebbon turns London into a Toxic City wasteland.

Harriet Klausner

April 4, 2013

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

December 18, 2012

Rising Sun-Robert Conroy

Rising Sun
Robert Conroy
Baen, Dec 4 2012, $25.00
ISBN: 9781451638516

The attack on Pearl Harbor left America especially its Navy reeling in shock and dismay as much of the Pacific Fleet especially the vaunted battle ships were destroyed by the Japanese air assault. Still morale remains high fueled by a need for retaliation. In June 1942, anticipating a glorious victory the US Navy prepares to engage the enemy near Midway. However, before the prime sea battle, Japanese subs sink two American carriers (Enterprise and the Hornet) and their planes and crew. The Japanese Imperial Navy wins an overwhelming victory in the Battle of Midway.

Former assistant principal, Admiral Spruance’s staffer Lieutenant Tim Dane survives the sinking of the Enterprise. At a hospital in Hawaii he meets civilian Nurse Amanda Mallard who is helping him recover from his injuries. Meanwhile the United States struggles to rebound from this pivotal defeat. The Japanese Army invade Alaska and the Navy blockades Hawaii. Admiral Yamamoto, who told the Emperor Japan cannot win the war, orders constant bombing of the American West Coast cities to try to end the hostilities by bringing the fighting to civilians, further crippling morale. As America fights back; Spruance adopts Dane proposal to fully take the war to Japan while the FBI investigates alleged enemy activity inside the country.

The latest Robert Conroy alternative WWII military thriller (see Himmler’s War) focuses on changing the outcome of a pivotal point due to an unfortunate plausible happenchance (if you are the Americans) at the Battle of Midway. However, the overarching premise feels similar to 1942 although that novel used Pearl Harbor as the change agent. Still readers will appreciate Rising Sun as Mr. Conroy brings his exciting version of the war.

Harriet Klausner

November 28, 2012

A Red Sun Also Rises-Mark Hodder

A Red Sun Also Rises
Mark Hodder
PYR, Dec 4 2012, $17.95
ISBN: 9781616146948

The bookworm priest Aiden Fleischer and the social outcast Miss Clarissa Stark the hunchback are transported to the planet Ptallaya of the two yellow suns. The duo meets the indigent sentient species the peaceful Yatsil.

The natives read the mind of Clarissa and create a London from her image of the great earth city. To honor her, the Yatsil add her onto the Council of Magicians; they make Aiden a city guard though he wonders if this is an honorary title as crime never occurs here. That is until the day equivalent to months on their home world finally sets and the evil red sun arises in the sky bringing out the blood gods.

Without a Burton or Swinburne in sight (see Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon), Mark Hodder provides a strong psychological fantasy thriller with a nightmarish version of Victorian London as the base for destruction. The Yatsil are a fascinating race of mimics who use Clarissa’s angry version of her hometown to construct a new London on their orb before morphing into a powerful good and evil confrontation as the two earthlings must look within at their less stellar acts before they can fight the enemy.

Harriet Klausner

November 16, 2012

Rogue Rider-Larissa Ione

Filed under: Fantasy,Title: R

Rogue Rider
Larissa Ione
Forever, Nov 20 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780446574488

The angel Reaver removed Reseph’s memory of the terror he caused on earth as one of the Four Horsemen, Pestilence. Reaver sends Reseph back to Earth.

Jillian Cardiff fled Florida for blizzard conditions after the demon assault that left visible scars on her body and even worse on her soul. On her way back to her remote mountain cabin, Jillian finds a hunk lying naked in the snow. She helps him inside her lodging while learning he remembers nothing except he thinks his name is Reseph. The pair is attracted to one another, but their idyll ends when demons murder neighbors. As hunters arrive to kill the demons, Reseph reawakens to the paralyzing guilt of what he wrought as Pestilence.

The final Lords of Deliverance romantic fantasy (see Immortal Rider, Eternal Rider and Lethal Rider) is a superb finish to the strong The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse saga. The protagonists are star-crossed as lovers as he unleashed the demon horde that practically destroyed her. Fans will relish the climax as redemption seems a mountain too high for guilt-wracked Reseph with what he caused to humanity.

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(http://www.britecorp-hosting5.co.uk/advertising/advertisers.php): 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 'http://www.britecorp-hosting5.co.uk/advertising/advertisers.php' 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