The Outskirter’s Secret: An interesting book too long for its story

The Outskirter’s Secret by Rosemary Kirstein

The Outskirter’s Secret, Book Two in the STEERSWOMAN series by Rosemary Kirstein, was originally published in 1992. It was reissued, along with the other two books in the series, in 2014. This review may contain spoilers for The Steerswoman.

At the end of The Steerswoman, Steerswoman Rowan had made an intuitive leap about the nature of the Guidestars, celestial objects that fill the night sky in her world and are a point of amazing stability. Rowan not only figured out the origin of the objects, but conjectured that one had fallen, and that the wizards had something to do with it. As The Outskirter’s Secret opens, she and her O... Read More

Children of the Night: Not rewarding enough

Children of the Night by Mercedes Lackey

Children of the Night (1990) is the second novel in Mercedes Lackey’s DIANA TREGARDE trilogy, following Burning Water. Each of the novels can stand alone, so you don’t need to read Burning Water first. In fact, it could be argued that this one is a better starting place because it’s set earlier in Diana’s life and we learn more about her in this novel. I should mention that though this series is a trilogy, there are also several short stories about Diana that can be found in magazines or collections.

Diana Tregarde reluctantly writes insipid romance novels (but not enough to make a living at it) and, since she's a witch and a Guardia... Read More

The Fall of Hyperion: A grand finale

The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons

Having carefully woven each strand in Hyperion, in The Fall of Hyperion Dan Simmons braids them together into a singular narrative that fantastically concludes the tale. With whip-crackling energy throughout, the fate of the Hegemony, Ousters, and the Shrike are revealed. All of the questions Simmons created — what will happen to Sol’s daughter? Will Kassad get his revenge on the Shrike? Will the Consul be able to open the time tombs? And ultimately, what is the Shrike? — are answered in more than satisfying fashion. Moreover, the mysterious disappearance of the tree-ship captain, Het Masteen, is not only explained, but fits perfectly within the framework of Hyperion to affect things as no reader could foresee. With this and other details, Simmons shows the subtlety of his story’s design, and proves himself a master storytell... Read More

The Hunter From the Woods: Mediocre compared to McCammon’s other work

The Hunter From the Woods by Robert McCammon

Robert McCammon’s werewolf WWII British spy, Michael Gallatin, is back in a collection of short stories that surround the events in McCammon's best-selling book, The Wolf’s Hour:

“The Great White Way” — Young Michael Gallatin has left the Russian forests and his pack. He finds refuge with a gypsy circus but is soon entrapped in a deadly love triangle.
“The Man from London” — Michael has been adopted by a small Russian village. In turn, as a werewolf, he provides them with fresh meat and protection. A secret agent has come all the way from London to recruit Gallatin into British special operations and the war has come with him.
“Sea Chase” — In the guise of a sea-man, Gallatin has been assigned to watch over a weapons engineer and his family as they try to escape Nazi Germany aboard an old freighter.
... Read More

Sadar’s Keep: Continues an excellent story

Sadar’s Keep by Midori Snyder

Sadar’s Keep continues the story that began in New Moon.

Three of the four young queens had been found by the end of the first book, and the army that is slowly pulling together around these young woman is starting to find some unusual allies. Midori Snyder focuses the story around the preparations for battle at Sadar’s Keep between the army of the uprising, known as the New Moon, and the Oran military. Sadar’s Keep is also the site of the battle between the current Fire Queen Zorah and her queens 200 years earlier, and Snyder uses that to fill in the back history, making this new fight an echo of the previous battle. And we realize that the previous queens are trying to take control of the current queens and fight through them again, making this fight more than just an echo.

Snyder writes very complex characters in Read More