Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Library Journal genre review round-up
(November 15th issue)

Here ya go:
Dragon Harper by Anne & Todd McCaffrey (Del Rey): * Starred Review * "Nearly 500 years have passed since humans landed on Pern, and, according to their records, another fall of deadly Thread, a lethal rain of spores from space, is only a few years away. As young Kindan struggles with his studies at Harper Hall and sets his sights on becoming harper to the dragonriders of Benden Weyr, he and his friends become aware of a mysterious and usually fatal plague infecting the holds of Pern. Despite their own vulnerability, the apprentice harpers and healers battle against time to find a cure before the sickness spreads to the dragonriders. In their third collaborative effort (after Dragon's Kin and Dragon's Fire), McCaffrey and her son Todd delve into Pern's early years as they continue the story of Kindan, whose talent with the dragon kin of Pern has brought him to the attention of holders, harpers, and dragonriders. Strong storytelling and compelling drama, along with memorable characters, make this essential for any library patronized by fans of Pern and its dragons." (Dec. 2007)

Coyote Season by Michael Bergey (Five Star): "The trickster spirit Coyote decides that his powers need updating and that to be effective in the modern world he must master the contemporary magic that is science. Soon his efforts land him in trouble not only with the CIA, who want to talk to him or, perhaps, use him for research, but with other, stranger foes whose motives are not so easily discerned and whose goals have nothing to do with any good purpose. The sequel to New Coyote brings a modern twist to an ancient and mythic creature—the eternal trickster with the best of intentions and the worst of results. This comic fantasy belongs in larger libraries and where trickster tales are popular." (Nov. 2007)

The Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe (Night Shade): "A princess is missing, and her father, King Felix of Balaton, wants her back; when his wizards fail to find her, King Felix hires private investigator and sword-for-hire Eddie LaCrosse. Along the way, LaCrosse stumbles upon another royal family in distress—a murdered heir and a queen suspected of the crime—and the solution lies in a past that Eddie would rather forget. Bledsoe's debut novel begins a fantasy detective series featuring a wisecracking, noble-hearted hero and a world of moon priestesses, cheap spells, and real monsters, some in human form. Fans of Glen Cook's Garrett novels or hard-boiled detective fiction will appreciate this well-crafted gem of a tale. For most libraries." (Nov. 2007)

The High King's Tomb by Kristen Britain (DAW): "Long ago, the Arcosian Empire had failed to conquer the neighboring realm of Sacoridia. Mornhavon the Black, the tyrant of Arcosia, though immortal, was imprisoned in Blackveil Forest behind a magical structure known as D'Yer Wall. Now the wall lies breached, Arcosia threatens once again, and Mornhavon, though transported magically into the future, may yet return to command his troops with his dark magic. Charged to defend Sacoridia and to recover old magic, Karigan G'ladheon and the other Green Riders find themselves faced with a new threat—this one from within their borders. Continuing the epic tale begun in Green Rider and First Rider's Call, Britain's latest combines familiar characters with new allies and enemies as it builds to a crucial point in the history of the land. Readers of epic fantasy and series followers will want this finely honed, skillfully crafted tale. For most fantasy collections." (Nov. 2007)

The Sorcerers' Plague by David B. Coe (Tor): "Grinsa, hero of the "Winds of the Forelands" series (Rules of Ascension; Seeds of Betrayal; Bonds of Vengeance; Shapers of Darkness; Weavers of War), has been banished because he is one of the Qirsi Weavers, a user of multiple types of magic. With his family he travels to the southern continent, looking for peace. Instead, he finds a land filled with warring clans and, worse, a plague that attacks the powers of the Qirsi race. Turning his attention to a different part of his fantasy universe, Coe weaves another saga of high drama and personal heroism that should please fans of epic fantasy. A good choice for most fantasy collections, particularly where the first series had a following." (Dec. 2007)

The Wrath of Zar by Shayne Easson (Westbank): "Village-raised Adan Caynne discovers, through a series of unexpected disasters, that a larger destiny awaits him. At the same time in the city of Corrona, Prince Riordan is betrayed by those he trusts and blamed for his father's murder. Finally, Princess Karyna of Wyndhaven is torn from her true love and sets out to follow a trail of blood in hopes of finding him. Behind the scenes, feeling that their time has come at last, ancient demons arise once more to wage dark war upon a once-peaceful land. This fantasy debut by Calgary native Easson launches a saga of war and treachery, where demons threaten all that is good and a few stalwart heroes must prevail against them. A good choice for large sf collections or where epic fantasy is popular." (Nov. 2007)

Eclipse One: New Science Fiction and Fantasy, edited by Jonathan Strahan (Night Shade): "From Andy Duncan's opening tale of a parish priest's encounter with a precocious little girl and her pet chicken, Jesus Christ ("Unique Chicken Goes in Reverse"), to the final story, by Lucius Shepard, of an unforgettable relationship with a Russian woman as enigmatic as the country of her birth ("Larissa Miusov"), the 15 original stories gathered here defy easy categorization as either sf or fantasy but push the borders of both genres to surprising extremes. Contributions by a variety of veteran and new writers including Peter S. Beagle, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Bruce Sterling, and Gwyneth Jones round out an unusual collection of speculative fiction that belongs in libraries where short stories are popular." (Nov. 2007)

Shadowbridge by Gregory Frost (Del Rey): "Born on a world of bright seas crossed by glittering spans that provide homes for the planet's population, the girl called Leodora finds her true calling as a shadow puppeteer, collector, and performer of the stories of each culture she encounters. Disguised as a man, Leodora performs as Jax, the greatest shadow puppeteer since the legendary Bardisham, her mysterious father; only her two companions, the drunkard Soter who once served Bardisham and the young musician Diverus, touched by the blessing or curse of a nameless god, know the truth—and their knowledge could mean death for them all in a world that does not accept women as keepers and performers of the stories of their lives. Frost (Lyrec; Fitcher's Brides) brings elegance and grace to a novel that explores the importance of memory and imagination in the forging of a destiny. This first entry in a new series set in the unusual fantasy world of Shadowbridge is a good purchase for all fantasy collections." (Dec. 2007)

Damselfies: An Ancient Mirrors Tale by Jayel Gibson (Synergy): "In the Seven Kingdoms, only one Damselfly remains; the rest of her kind have been butchered by evil men who fear the potent magic of these winged women. Aided by Ilerion, a nobleman unlike the Damselfly hunters, Arcinaë must wage war to save her kind from extinction. Continuing the story begun in The Wrekening and Dragon Queen, Gibson sets her saga of survival amid persecution in a richly detailed universe populated by many races as well as fantastical creatures and bathed in the light of magic. A solid addition to most fantasy collections." (Nov. 2007)

Host by Faith Hunter (Roc): "In Hunter's third postapocalyptic fantasy (after Bloodring and Seraphs), seraphs and demons now inhabit Earth along with the few human survivors who have had to cast their lot with either light or darkness. Thorn St. Croix represents a third kind of human, a neomage with powers thought demonic by the fundamentalist orthodoxy of the kirk but allowed to exist, with proper licensing, by the Administration of the ArchSeraph. Thorn's job is to protect the humans of Mineral City, but when a greater Power of Darkness loosens his bonds, she faces her most severe trial yet. Hunter has created a remarkable interpretation of the aftermath of Armageddon in which angels and devils once again walk the earth and humans struggle to find a place. Stylish storytelling and gripping drama make this a good addition to most fantasy collections." (Nov. 2007)

Cauldron by Jack McDevitt (Ace): "By the middle of the 23rd century, starflight has become a thing of the past, relegated to private eccentrics as inefficient and fiscally unjustifiable, until a young man, John Silvestri, approaches the Prometheus Foundation claiming to have produced a star drive that makes travel to distant stars almost instantaneous. Demonstrating his claim, John enables the Prometheus Foundation to journey to the heart of the galaxy, a seething tumult of stars, strange omega clouds, and an enormous black hole—the Cauldron. Accompanying John and a chosen few scientists and researchers is Priscilla Hutchinson, a former pilot for the now-defunct Academy of Science and Technology and an expert on the many dangers that threaten their journey. Nebula Award winner McDevitt's novels featuring Hutchinson (Odyssey) display his talent for character building and seamlessly blending hard science with sf action/adventure. Highly recommended." (Nov. 2007)

A Rose from Old Terra: A Novel of the Scattered Worlds by Don Sakers (Speed-of-C): "When former librarian Jedrek nor Talin, now attempting to recover failing technology from the defunct Terran Empire, receives a single yellow rose by special courier, he must travel to Old Terra—Earth—to come to the assistance of his old circle of librarians. A voyage to deep space to repair ancient communications equipment places Jedrek and his companions in the middle of a situation that could erupt into interstellar war and destroy human civilization forever. Author and librarian Sakers adds to his "Scattered Worlds" series (Weaving the Web of Days) a tale of adventure and intrigue as only a group of librarians can do it. A good addition to most sf collections and sure to be popular with library staff everywhere." (Nov. 2007)

Reader and Raelynx: A Novel of the Twelve Houses by Sharon Shinn (Ace): "Summoned to the palace to use his "reading" skills to see into the hearts of the suitors for the hand of the Princess Amalie, the mystic Cammon falls in love with Amalie despite his knowledge that their love is forbidden. When the king's subjects rise in rebellion, however, thoughts turn to survival—for the king and for the woman he loves. Shinn (Archangel) continues her powerful and richly detailed "Twelve Houses" series (Dark Moon Defender) with a tale of dangerous love and open rebellion. Libraries should purchase where the series or the author has a following." (Nov. 2007)

The Third Lynx by Timothy Zahn (Tor): "In the future, intragalactic transit is carried out by Quadrail, a transportation system maintained by robotic, spiderlike creatures that answer to a woman named Bayta. Frank Compton, an ex-government agent-turned-private investigator, becomes involved in his most important case yet as he tries to confront the hive-minded Modhri, whose "host bodies" could be anywhere and who are determined to wreck the fragile union of galactic civilizations. In this sequel to Night Train to Rigel, the award-winning author of numerous Star Wars novels has created his own freewheeling, fast-talking galactic traveler. For most sf collections." (Nov. 2007)

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