Deathstalker: War: I’m giving up on DEATHSTALKER

Deathstalker: War by Simon R. Green

This review may contain spoilers for the first two DEATHSTALKER books, Deathstalker and Deathstalker: Rebellion.

I’m going to have to give up on DEATHSTALKER, which I feel bad about since Tantor Audio sent me the first four books. The first one was okay but they’ve gone downhill since then and are, most egregiously, much too similar to Simon R. Green’s NIGHTSIDE series.

In Deathstalker: War (1997) the rebellion continues. Our heroes are still working to unseat the empress by fomenting rebellion on multiple planets. With a... Read More

Inheritor: Characters and drama reign supreme

Inheritor by C.J. Cherryh

Something must be done about the art decorating the covers of C. J. Cherryh’s unheralded FOREIGNER series. No offence to Michael Whelan, Dorian Vallejo, or any other of the artists who’ve been chosen to provide cover art, but their Golden Age depictions of alien life simply do not suit the temper of the books. Shame on DAW. Cherryh writes with subtlety and sensitivity regarding intercultural relations that the comic book renderings of guns and fantasy animals simply fail to parallel. Making matters worse, the crowd willing to buy the books based on such art will more than likely end up disappointed. The books’ focus on character and societal development toward peace and cultural understanding is far from scene after scene of gun fights and explosions. Like placing a scantily clad Barbie doll with elf ears and flaming sword on a... Read More

The Gates of Sleep: Lush and engaging, but it loses steam

The Gates of Sleep by Mercedes Lackey 

The Gates of Sleep by Mercedes Lackey, part of her ELEMENTAL MASTERS series, is a fun, harmless read based loosely on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale.

Growing up, I had always been drawn to Mercedes Lackey books, mostly because of the lush cover art, usually drawn by Jody Lee. But then, unfailingly, I’d read the blurb and decide not to read it; they usually sounded too involved, too conspicuously “high fantasy,” or otherwise cheesy and formulaic. (I love high fantasy, but I must have been a hipster when I was a kid because I couldn’t stand it if the book seemed like it was trying too hard.)

So I was pleasantly surprised by how engaging I found this book. Lee’s artwork is the perfect companion to Lackey’s prose, which is rich and descriptive. The world she creates for Read More

Dark Whispers: A solid continuation of Cara’s adventures in Luster

Dark Whispers by Bruce Coville

The third book in THE UNICORN CHRONICLES by Bruce Coville continues Cara Hunter’s journey through the land of Luster as she attempts to find a way to defend the unicorn population from an ancient feud involving her own family members. After discovering her heritage as the descendant of a woman who is cursed with eternal life due to the unicorn horn trapped within her heart (and therefore determined to drive them to extinction), Cara agrees to a mission given to her by the Queen of the Unicorns. In the Unicorn Chronicles there is a prophecy that states: “In the darkest hour, of their darkest day, the unicorns must face, their own darkness,” as well as a few veiled clues to something called the Whisperer. Cara’s task is to seek out the centaur king in the hopes that he has more information about what all this means.

There are other subplots going on at the same... Read More