Monday, February 27, 2006

Shadows in the Darkness by Elaine Cunningham

This novel straddles the line between Urban Fantasy and Mystery. The heroine, Gwen Gelman, is now a PI having left the police department under a (undeserved) cloud. Her current case involves a missing 14 year old girl and is quite gritty. Actually the entire novel/story has a grittiness to it that moves it toward the dark fantasy end of the spectrum. But this just makes the story more solid and effective.

The fantasy comes in first when the reader finds out that Gwen has visions and ‘intuition’ on her side in solving cases/mysteries. The fantasy is deepened by questions about who Gwen actually is and the introduction of an ‘Elder Race’.

The writing is polished and smooth. The characters are characters and interesting people. The story/mystery is multilayered. This novel is a compelling read. I look forward to getting my hands on the second book about Gwen (Shadows in the Starlight) and the opportunity to learn more of her heritage and the ‘Elder Races’.

Monday, February 20, 2006

King's Own by Lorna Freeman

This is the direct sequel to the 1st book of the Borderlands Covenants and is every bit as well written a great read as the first. I like that she continues to introduce interesting characters to interact with the central character, Rabbit. This story is involving and contains a surprise twist which opens up the end of the book to very interesting possibilities for the next novel(s) in this saga of the Borderlands.

The story is set in Freston and spans just a few days – a few very eventful days. My only criticism is the jarring off-key notes of the early interaction between Rabbit and Commander Thado which seemed total out of place, especially as not explanation was given for these interactions. The plot is such that you are kept unsure/unknowing of what is truly going on onto the author chooses to reveal it to us – very nicely done.

I read that books 3 & 4 have been sold and I wait as impatiently for book 3 as I had waited for the second novel. This was a fun read with an ending that opened some very interesting possibilities for the future storyline. I truly look forward to see where the author takes us, her characters and the story.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Now this is enjoyable urban fantasy. Well done urban fantasy is among my favourite reading material. The way the author sets up the existence of the Fantastic and weaves it into our ‘real world’ is part of what makes it such a good read. In fact Briggs has done such a fine job of realizing her characters and the world that the story is driven forward by the realities of her created reality. You will understand that statement once you have read the story, but any attempt on my part to explain it would chance ruining the story for the new reader. Let me put it another way. Briggs world is so well done one would not be surprised if one f her characters arrived at you door.

The writing is, as you would expect from Briggs, smooth and polished. The storyline is intriguing. The characters are people, real people, so well drawn are they by the author. The story pulls you in and along for the ride from the start. As noted above, the world is well thought-out, interesting and entirely plausible. It has werewolves, vampires and other interesting inhabitants – including out heroine, a shape changer of native ancestry raise by a werewolf pack, a fine mechanic.

Truly a not to be missed read. One can only hope that we get to return to this world soon – and often.