Currently Browsing: sci-fi/fantasy

Review: Geist

Review: Geist Geist Author:Philippa Ballantine Release Date: October 26, 2010 Publisher: Ace Fantasy Book of the Order #1 ISBN: #978-0441019618 Genre: Fantasy Format(s): paperback (304 pgs), e-book I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purposes of an honest review. From the back cover:      Between the living and the dead is the Order of the Deacons, protectors of the Empire, guardians against possession, sentinels enlisted to ward off the malevolent haunting of the geists…       Among the most powerful of the Order is Sorcha, now thrust into partnership with the novice Deacon, Merrick Chambers. They have been dispatched to the isolated village of Ulrich to aide the Priory with a surge of violent geist activity. With them is Raed Rossin, Pretender to the throne that Sorcha is sworn to protect, and bearer of a terrible curse.       But what greets them in the strange settlement is something far more predatory and more horrifying than any mere haunting. And as she uncovers a tradition of twisted rituals passed down through the dark reaches of history, Sorcha will be forced to reconsider everything she thinks she knows.  Even if she makes it out of Ulrich alive, what in the hell is she returning to? What I’m talking about:      Welcome to Arykham, where the presence of ghosts and spirits (geists) are unfortunately commonplace. But thankfully, the geists conform to a set of known parameters, and the Order protects the citizens from ultimate danger. The setting of the book, Arykaham, is historical in nature – no electricity, and horses, ships and dirigibles are the modes of transportation, etc. The society is run by an Emperor, with the Order acting as a quasi-religious group that protects the world from the geists.      The book opens with Sorcha and her husband fighting off a powerful geist attack on a crowd.  In this initial attack, Sorcha’s husband is brutally injured by the geist – something that goes against the “known rules” for the Otherside. With her husband (and partner) disabled, Sorcha is given a new partner and sent north to help the town of Ulrich.      Enter novice Merrick Chambers. He has a history with Sorcha, although she doesn’t know it. He is untested and a bit scared. But soon the pair discovers that all of the “known rules” for the Otherside are being tossed out the window, which forces them to rely on and trust...
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Review: "A Tangled Web" – Harvest Moon

Review: "A Tangled Web" – Harvest Moon “A Tangled Web” from the Harvest Moon anthology Author: Mercedes Lackey Release Date: September 28, 2010 Publisher: Luna (Harlequin) Five Hundred Kingdoms series ISBN: #978-0373803224 Genre: Fantasy Format(s): paperback, e-book I received an electronic galley copy of this book from the Net Galley for the purposes of an honest review. NOTE: I only read the first novella in this anthology. After reading the first (review below) and starting the second, I found the stories complex and difficult to follow. Due to time constraints, I did not finish the book. I am not classifying this book as a DNF because I did complete the first story and have a review.  If I find time to read the other stories, I will finish the review for the entire book (they do seem interesting!) From the author’s website: Kidnapping Persephone should have been an easy task. But in the Five Hundred Kingdoms, nothing’s ever simple and the wrong blonde goddess is stolen by mistake, leaving Prince Leopold without his new bride. At least until he braves the realm of the dead to get her back… What I’m talking about: This is an interesting and fun re-telling of the famous Persephone and Hades tale from Greek Mythology.  In this story, Persephone and Hades are in love and try to find a way to be together. Hades sends Thanatos, the god of Death, to “kidnap” Persephone and bring her to the underworld-reasoning that her mother, Demeter, could not take her away if “death” claimed her. Well, unfortunately, Thanatos claims the wrong goddess which causes plenty of grief for everyone. While the story was simple, cleaver and cute, it was tough to follow. I know a little Greek mythology and no Norse mythology – both of which are prominent in this story.  Names are tossed around and situations inferred as if I should have an understanding of it all.  I felt completely lost at times, especially at the beginning.   Although I never fully overcame some of the confusion, I still enjoyed the tale.  Ms. Lackey’s portrayal of the Greek gods is entertaining and refreshing… They are still self-involved, but more simple and oafish than their usual vindictive depictions. The Norse goddess Brunnhilde and her husband Prince Leopold are a welcome addition to the tale. They are logic and order to the chaos of Olympus when Persephone (and Brunnhilde) are taken to the underworld.  This is an enjoyable story. My Rating:  Liked it, there were...
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Why I love Fantasy (aka Paranormal Romance)

Why I love Fantasy (aka Paranormal Romance) I have always gravitated towards all things fantasy and sci-fi. I started watching the original Star Trek with my dad at a very young age. We also loved Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, and later Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Stargate SG-1. I watched movies like The Last Starfighter, Tron, and Enemy Mine.  I saw the original Star Wars movie when I was 7. We saw it in the theater 3 times and that’s a lot for “back then.”  My reading tastes have also followed suit. Books that I love include Dune, Jurassic Park, and all stories by Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett.  My mom and most of my friends never understood how I could enjoy something that “isn’t real.” But I argue that life is too hard and “real” at times not to enjoy some reverie.  What I love about fantasy: Anything goes and it’s believable. Take a look at one of my all time favorite books, Dune.  There are giant worms that live on a desert planet. Their waste is the drug of choice in the entire known universe. It’s an absurd idea when I say it like that, but in the book, it’s so real and exciting.  Social issues can be addressed in sometimes sneaky ways. The science fiction film genre has long served as a useful vehicle for “safely” discussing controversial topical issues and often providing thoughtful social commentary on potential unforeseen future issues. Presentation of issues that are difficult or disturbing for an audience, can be made more acceptable when they are explored in a future setting or on a different, earth-like world. (taken from Wikipedia) Take a look at Pixar’s hit Wall-E… A seemingly simple futuristic cartoon for kids. But the adults all know what’s going on – it’s a commentary on obesity, laziness and pollution. There are even underlying themes of over-mechanization (and echo’s of Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey).  Escapism.  Come on! There are so many great places you can go and don’t have to deal with real life. Science fiction and fantasy films can take us far away: Aliens, Star Trek(s), Avatar.  They can thrill us at home either now or in the future: Independence Day, The Fifth Element, Mad Max. They can be very serious: Children of Men, V for Vendetta, I am Legend. And they can make us laugh: Running Man, Galaxy Quest, Men in Black. So how does this translate into my love of Paranormal Romance...
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