On the Oceans of Eternity: A disappointing finale

On the Oceans of Eternity by S.M. Stirling

On the Oceans of Eternity is the final novel in S.M. Stirling’s NANTUCKET series. In the first novel, Island in the Sea of Time, which I really enjoyed, a strange electrical storm caused the entire island of Nantucket to be transported back in time to 1300 B.C. It was entertaining to watch the island’s citizens make this discovery and deal with the resulting personal, cultural, economic and political changes. Then, one of the citizens, William Walker, decided to use his modern knowledge and technology to attempt to establish himself as emperor in this “new” world. He left the island to search for people he could rule.

The second book, Against the Tide of Years, felt very much like a middle book. We watched the islanders trying to usher in an industrial revolution, but most of the plot fo... Read More

The Beyond: Not as inventive as its predecessors

The Beyond by Jeffrey Ford

The Beyond is the last book in Jeffrey Ford’s WELL-BUILT CITY trilogy. This bizarre story began with The Physiognomy in which Cley, an arrogant and cruel physiognomist, is sent by the evil ruler Drachton Below on a mission to the mining town of Anamasobia. While there, Cley makes a bad decision which destroys the beautiful face of Arla, the woman he has fallen in love with. This humbles and devastates Cley (drastically changing his personality for the better) and leads to the destruction of Drachton Below’s Well-Built City.

In the second book, Memoranda, we find Cley in a new life — acting as herbalist and midwife in the village of Wenau. When Drachton Below, still living in the ruins of his Well-Built City, poisons the people of Wenau, Cley is the only person who can help, but he has to go into Below’s warped mind to find the antidote. He gets som... Read More

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Our favorite HP novel

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is easily my favourite of the Harry Potter books. Harry is in his third year at Hogwarts, and the big news is the escape of dangerous and deadly wizard Sirius Black from Azkaban prison. Harry learns that, for some reason, Sirius is after him. To increase security at Hogwarts, Dumbledore has reluctantly allowed the Dementors — ghostly cloaked beings that suck the happiness from a person's soul and eventually drive them mad — to guard the castle. The book uncovers the mystery of who Black is and why he is so keen to find Harry at Hogwarts, while also dealing with the regular shenanigans of a Hogwarts school year.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is where J.K. Rowling tightens up her act. The plot is excellentl... Read More

Redeeming the Lost: Short on redeeming qualities

Redeeming the Lost by Elizabeth Kerner

Sometimes authors lose the plot. In Redeeming the Lost, Elizabeth Kerner loses... everything.

She loses what restraint she had on her overly flowery writing style. It reached a point where some of the language was laughable and ridiculous, and often it looked like there were several words missing from sentences. Kerner is one of those fantasy authors that unfortunately can't fight the desire to show off her knowledge of archaic language.

She loses the pacing. In actuality about 72 hours passes from start to finish of the book. Lanen has been kidnapped and so everyone... stands around and does nothing!? They chat and eat and mourn her kidnapping, but that's about it. And that redeeming the title mentions? Happens before 100 pages are up. And the way it's done makes no sense whatsoever, nor does Kerner offer up an explanation.

She loses t... Read More

Daja’s Book: Prepare for a lot of warm-fuzzies

Daja’s Book by Tamora Pierce

Daja’s Book is the third book in Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic series, which has also been published as The Fire In The Forging. The quartet of books centers around the trials and tribulations of four teenage mages, separated for a variety of reasons from their families and brought to live together at Winding Circle in order to control their magic and hone their crafts. With each one roughly collaborating with an element (obviously fire, in this case), the four students form a strong bond together when they find that their unique magics can be combined and unleashed in unexpected ways. It is this extraordinary friendship that emerges between the four impossibly different young people that forms the backbone and major theme of the series.

Sandry, Briar, Tris and Da... Read More

Wild Blood: Wonderful blend of folklore and fairy myth

Wild Blood by Kate Thompson

Wild Blood is the final book in Kate Thompson's Switchers trilogy and deals with the inevitable choice that her young heroine Tess has to face: at the age of fifteen her Switcher powers come to an end, and she can choose either to remain human or to become any one of the animals that she can transform into permanently. To make things worse, her parents are going on holiday without her, and have sent her to stay with her Uncle Maurice, Aunt Dierdre and three cousins.

Life on the farm isn't too bad considering Tess now has a huge environment to explore, but she misses her fellow-Switcher Kevin who she needs to help her make a final decision. Furthermore, there are strange things happening at the farmhouse: odd-looking animals, shadowy figures in the woods and suspicious activity from her bad-tempere... Read More