2004.04


Crescent Moon: Did Not Finish

Crescent Moon by Lori Handeland

Crescent Moon (2006) is a werewolf romance, fourth in Lori Handeland’s NIGHTCREATURE series. Diana is a cryptozoologist who is desperate to discover an unknown species, to fulfill a promise she made to her late husband. Her quest brings her to the Big Easy in search of the loup-garou werewolves that are reputed to lurk in the swamps. It also brings her to the attention of the brusque and secretive, yet sexy, Adam Ruelle.

I was interested in Crescent Moon mainly because it was set in New Orleans, a city that I love. Unfortunately, it never grabbed me and I ended up setting it aside. My problems with the novel can be boiled down to three main issues: a lack of sense of place, a distracting error about wolf behavior, and too little cohesiveness between scenes.

I’ve been spoiled by a lot of ... Read More

Attack of the Fiend: Getting a bit repetitive

Attack of the Fiend by Joseph Delaney

Attack of the Fiend is the fourth novel in Joseph Delaney’s THE LAST APPRENTICE / THE WARDSTONE CHRONICLES series for children. Interested readers will want to read the previous books before reading this one (and probably before even reading this review, since it may contain spoilers for previous books).

As I’ve noted in my previous reviews, this series is gruesome and scary and thus will be absolutely thrilling for some young readers. Children who are easily frightened should probably stay away unless they’re undergoing some sort of exposure therapy.

... Read More

The Apocalypse Codex: Bob takes on an American televangelist

The Apocalypse Codex by Charles Stross

Charles Stross continues to entertain with The Apocalypse Codex, the fourth novel in his LAUNDRY FILES series. I suppose you could read this without reading the first three books, but it’d be better to start with book one, The Atrocity Archives. For this review, I’ll assume you’re familiar with the story so far.

Bob has been unintentionally working his way up in the Laundry, the secret British agency where computer scientists, mathematicians, and physicists have, by accident, become sorcerers. For every case he’s been on, Bob has sort of bumbled his way into a successful outcome just by using his brains and creativity. Now he’s being groomed for a leadership position, so he needs some people skills. A lot of his preparation involves sitting in boring management training classes and seminars where he has to use role... Read More

Captain’s Fury: Vaguely enjoyable

Captain’s Fury by Jim Butcher

Warning: Contains spoilers for previous books, though probably nothing you didn’t already guess.

Captain’s Fury, the fourth book in Jim Butcher’s CODEX ALERA series, takes place two years after the events we read about in Cursor’s Fury. Tavi is still the captain of the Alera’s First Legion which is still fighting a war with the Canim who have sailed to Alera and burned their ships behind them. While Senator Arnos, who has arrived to take command of the war, wants to destroy the Canim, Tavi hopes to negotiate a peace. The Senator and Lady Aquitaine, his ally-of-the-moment, want to get rid of Tavi, too, and they’ve got a variety of plans for that.

Isana knows it’s time to tell Tavi who he really is: Gaius Octavian, son of Princeps Gaius Septimus, who died the day Tavi was born. She worries that Tavi will be angry when he finds out how she de... Read More

Orb, Sceptre, Throne: Esslemont’s most enjoyable MALAZAN book

Orb, Sceptre, Throne by Ian Cameron Esslemont

It has been a real pleasure to watch the development of Ian Cameron Esslemont as a writer. Both Night of Knives and Return of the Crimson Guard were solid offerings but burdened with problems of pacing and character, though Return of the Crimson Guard showed some improvement. Each seemed pretty clearly the product of a new author. Stonewielder, the third of Esslemont’s MALAZAN novels was a big jump forward in terms of quality and craft; though it shared some of its predecessors’ flaws, they were less frequent and less detrimental to the overall reading experience. I’m happy to say that trend continues with Esslemont’s newest — Orb, Sceptre, Throne — which I found to be his most thoroughly enjoyable book yet, though it had a few... Read More

Shadowheart: Great ending

Shadowheart by Tad Williams

Shadowheart is the concluding fourth volume of Tad Williams’ most recent trilogy (yes, yes, I know), following Shadowmarch, Shadowplay, and Shadowrise. The last was originally intended to finish the series but instead was split in half, leading to Shadowheart. The first book, Shadowmarch, started off a bit slow and had some issues I thought with pace and cliché. Shadowplay was a large improvement in nearly all facets, Shadowrise kept to the higher quality, and Shadowheart, I’m happy to say, mostly ends it all in strong fashion.

The plot, which has been wide-ranging in terms of geography and multiple plot strands, has narrowed to a single point, centeri... Read More

A Fistful of Charms: Least favourite so far in a great series

A Fistful of Charms by Kim Harrison

Let's take a look at my track record. I live in a church with a vampire who is the scion of a master vampire who would just as soon see me dead. I date her old boyfriend, who used to be said master vampire's scion, and my ex-boyfriend is a professional thief who calls demons and trades information about me for tips to steal artifacts that can start an Inderland power struggle.

This is the shape of Rachel Morgan's life as we go through A Fistful of Charms, the fourth book in Kim Harrison's series about the Hollows and the Inderlanders who inhabit it.

In fact, in this story we take a road trip away from Cincinnati. Rachel receives news that Nick (her old flame) and Jenks' son Jax are in trouble, and sets out to help them. Since Ivy is supposedly unable to leave Cincinnati — otherwise Piscary gets pissed — Rach... Read More

Elphame’s Choice: Rough (and Elphame’s supposed to have brown skin)

Elphame's Choice by P.C. Cast

I think I'm just not meant to read P.C. Cast. Maybe I'm just anal-retentive; maybe I just have too much trouble shutting off the "mythology geek" section of my brain. I crack open a Cast novel, and instead of sinking into the story, I find myself thinking, "Celtic mythology doesn't have centaurs," or "Apollo would make a lousy Prince Charming," or in this case, "Elphame's a place name, darn it, not a character name! It means fairyland." Elphame's Choice is so called because its heroine is named Elphame, and this never quite stopped being distracting.

Elphame is a descendant of the heroine of Divine by Mistake. She lives a cushy but lonely existence as the daughter of Epona's Chosen, and wants to strike out on her own and find her destiny. She finds it in the form of MacCallan Castle, which once belonged to her ancestors but was destr... Read More

The Alchemaster’s Apprentice: Fun for everyone

The Alchemaster's Apprentice by Walter Moers

First, my hearty thanks to the translator. I saw Walter Moers’s previous novel, The City of Dreaming Books, in the Berlin Airport in German. As a German linguist, I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to translate prose like this. Simply amazing.

Walter Moerstakes us back into the world of Zamonia, but this time to a completely different city and with all-new characters. You don’t really need to have read previous books because he provides enough background as the story flows. The Alchemaster’s Apprentice is really a wonderful, if slightly darker, addition to the Zamonian world.

Our hero, Echo, is a Crat, which is much like a cat only with special abilities: Crats can understand and speak any language, they have extreme grace and dexterity, and they have eidetic memory — they can remember co... Read More

The Phoenix Unchained: Standard, but entertaining, “lite” epic fantasy

The Phoenix Unchained by Mercedes Lackey

I picked up The Phoenix Unchained, the first novel in The Enduring Flame trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory because I haven't read Lackey before (and I wanted to) and this book was available for download in audio format (and I needed something for my commute). The Phoenix Unchained is a sequel to The Obsidian Trilogy which, unfortunately, is not available (yet) on audio, and which I haven't read. However, I had heard that this new trilogy can stand alone, so I decided to give it a try.

The Phoenix Unchained begins as best friends Tiercel and Harrier are attending their city's celebrations of legendary events that happened in Read More