Calling on Dragons: Weakest book in the series

Calling on Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Warning: Contains spoilers for previous books in this series: Dealing with Dragons and Searching for Dragons.

Calling on Dragons is the third book in Patricia C. Wrede’s ENCHANTED FOREST CHRONICLES series for young readers. I loved the first book, Dealing with Dragons, for its fun quirky plot, but mainly because of the way Wrede turned the princess and fantasy tropes on their heads. Princess Cimorene decides she does not want to do princess things such as etiquette and embroidery, and she doesn’t want to marry a silly handsome prince, so she runs away and becomes the right-hand man of the King of the Dragons (who happens to be female). I found this refreshing for a children’s ... Read More

Xenocide: Intense, emotional, thought-provoking

Xenocide by Orson Scott Card

Xenocide is the third book in Orson Scott Card’s award-winning ENDER WIGGEN saga. In the first book, Ender’s Game, the child Ender Wiggen was trained to wipe out the alien “buggers” who were planning to destroy the earth. The second novel, Speaker for the Dead, takes place years later when Ender visits the planet Lusitania where Xenologists are studying two non-human species: the pequininos, who have an unusual life cycle, and the descolada virus, which is fatal for humans but necessary to the pequininos. In addition, Ender has brought the buggers’ hive queen to Lusitania so she can rebuild her species. When the human Starways Congress finds out what’s happening on Lustinania, it sends its fleets to blow up the planet. Speaker for the Dead ends with Ender’s sister Valentine, who write... Read More

The Empress of Earth: I’m going to miss Silence Leigh

The Empress of Earth by Melissa Scott

I wish — oh, how I wish — I could say that Melissa Scott's Silence Leigh trilogy ends on its highest possible note. While The Empress of Earth does at long last offer the long-awaited payoff of the journey to Earth, that payoff may disappoint some readers. Some tedious and labored writing and a surprisingly conventional approach to space opera kept me from appreciating the book as well as I did its two prequels, particularly the rousing Silence in Solitude. The appeal of Scott's trio of lead characters is still solid, however. Readers who've made it this far will want to know Silence's destiny. And it's precisely that sort of character appeal that carries you over the novel's lulls.

Having finally won from the Satrap of Inarime, now the new Hegemon, the right to use his ancient portolan guide to find the long-lost star roads back to mothe... Read More

The Son of Summer Stars: Unicorns get back their dignity

The Son of Summer Stars by Meredith Ann Pierce

In the last book in the Firebringer trilogy, we finally come to the event that the two previous books have been steadily building toward: the retaking of the unicorns' ancestral home from the treacherous wyverns. As the prophesied 'Firebringer', Prince Alijan is looked to as the means of regaining their Hallow Hills and Jan is certainly up to the challenge. Having finally made peace with the marauding gryphons, and finding happiness in his beloved Tek and their twin children, Jan has readied his tribe to march out to their homelands and do battle.

But there is one matter of business not yet dealt with — that of Korr, the mad once-king of the unicorns. Knowing his father to hold a terrible secret, Jan vows its discovery and leaves the herd under the power of Tek whilst he chases his father across plains and deserts. It ... Read More