Long Hot Summoning: Diana tackles an evil shopping mall

Long Hot Summoning by Tanya Huff

Long Hot Summoning (2003) is the third and final book in Tanya Huff’s KEEPER’S CHRONICLES. It’s advisable to read the first two books, Summon the Keeper and The Second Summoning first.

Claire’s sister Diana has just graduated from high school and is off on her first summoning. It leads her to the local indoor shopping mall, where she discovers that evil forces are quietly infiltrating the mall, where they hope to gradually create a segue into our world. Diana is the strongest keeper alive, but even she is not confident enough to take on the mall problem by herself, so s... Read More

Planetary: Leaving the 20th Century, Volume 3

Planetary: Leaving the 20th Century, Volume 3 by Warren Ellis & John Cassaday

In this third volume of PLANETARY stories we not only get to step back for a moment and have a bit of a look at the adventures of Elijah Snow in his century of existence trying to keep the world strange, but we also get more details on the Four and their intersection with the Planetary organization prior to the current story arc. Ellis is able to play in a lot of cool sandboxes as a result and the genre mashing continues much to my personal glee!

Issue 13 – “Century”: Just how did Elijah Snow form the Planetary organization and why did he do it? Well, not all of the answers will be provided here, but we get an intriguing glimpse at young Elijah Snow circa 1919 as he tracks down the members of a secret organization from the 19th century whose goal was to “better mankind” from behind the scenes. Elijah doesn’t like that kin... Read More

The Hidden Coronet: Excellent ending whets the appetite

The Hidden Coronet by Catherine Fisher

The Hidden Coronet is the third book of Catherine Fisher’s Relic Master series, following The Dark City and The Lost Heiress. While book one was quite strong, the sequel was solid but a bit disappointing, hurt by somewhat weak plotting and worldbuilding. The Hidden Coronet is much stronger and a welcome return to the quality of The Dark City.

It begins with several tense scenes — one involving Galen and Raffi trying to rid a house of an evil presence and the other concerning the attempted rescue of several prisoners, including a Keeper, sentenced to hang by the Watch. Eventually, Raffi, Galen, Carys, and the Sekoi from the first two books are back together, their numbers augmented... Read More

Midnight Over Sanctaphrax: Better than first, not as good as second

Midnight Over Sanctaphrax by Paul Stewart

Midnight Over Sanctaphrax falls into the middle of the first three books of the series. While Twig's character is enlarged upon and other interesting ones added, the book falls too easily into the same episodic nature of the first book, where one peril follows closely upon another with none of them ever explored in enough depth so that they truly feel dangerous or suspenseful.

The nature of the basic plot, Twig searching for his lost crew after his skyship explodes and hurls them in different directions, also unfortunately lends itself to a sense of dull repetition as he searches, finds, sends off for safekeeping, and searches once again with the same results.

At times the plot of Midnight Over Sanctaphrax is somewhat contrived and at others may call for a bit too much suspension of disbelief, but overall it's imaginative a... Read More

Wolf Queen: Complicated

Wolf Queen by Tanith Lee

Wolf Queen (or Queen of Wolves in some publications) is the third of four books in the Claidi quartet, a series of books that are told in diary-form by the young heroine Claidi and her travels throughout a fantasy land. In the previous installments, Wolf Tower and Wolf Star, she has escaped slavery, destroyed a corrupt system, found her true love, been kept prisoner in a moving castle and escaped once more in a controllable star. Throughout all of these amazing adventures, Claidi has kept a record in her book, and untangled much of the mystery surrounding her birth and destiny.

Now all she wants to do is be reunited with her beloved Argul, and has used the floating star/tower Yinyay to track down the Hulta people, of which Argul is leader. ... Read More

The High King’s Tomb: Meanders for a long time

The High King's Tomb by Kristen Britain

From early on in The High King's Tomb (2007), alarm bells started going off in my head. It doesn't take very long, if you've read the other two books (and you should have), to realize that a "grab the reader by the throat" event is conspicuously absent from the beginning of the story. There's one in the first book, there's one in the second book, but The High King's Tomb starts out on a noticeably meandering path.

And it continues to meander, without a great deal of urgency, for a long time. A lot of events happen, some of them interesting in relation to the world Britain has created, but overall none of them seem hugely relevant to solving the tensions of the main plot arc. In fact, they just seem to add in a bunch of new tensions without solving any old ones. Uh oh.

It takes a long time for the reader to understand why thi... Read More