Friday, 22 April 2011

Beyond the Pale by Mark Anthony

Book 1 of The Last Rune Series

Mark Anthony was one  of the first fantasy writers I discovered and I've always wished this author would release more books

Grace is a Dr and she gets dragged into a strange world after witnessing a man with an iron heart attack and kill people in her hospital.  Travis owns a pub and his friend gifts him with control of Runes before he also gets dragged into the same strange world as Grace.  Individually these two meet folks that help them adjust to this strange place and the almost medieval way of life. However, there is magic and strange creatures that also exist and a Dark ruler is trying to escape a prison to bring about a terrible winter and the end of normal existance.  Grace learns she is gifted with a touch of magic too and she uses her influence with a local King to rally other leaders against the coming threat. Travis has become one of a dieing breed of Rune Speakers and his gift is dangerous with him being so inexperienced.  Eventually the pair meet up and band together to stand against the Pale King's minions.

Rating 4/5

Chimera by Rob Thurman

Book 1 of Chimera Series
Stefan has been looking for his brother for years, after he was abducted from their home as a child.  He's father is a member of the Russia Mafia and in order to have money to find his brother, he also joins the Firm.  After many years he eventually gets word of a teenager that looks like his brother and breaks into a government like facility were children are being experimented upon. He escapes with his brother, who calls himself Michael and they go on the run from the mad scientist who trained and brainwashed Michael to be the perfect killer.  Not only has he been altered mentally, but biologically he can kill with a single touch.  But Michael isnt a born killer and has resisted the brainwashing.  Most the story covers the Stefan and Michael's journey on the run from the scientist, in their search for their father.  So plenty of action thoroughout, and the science behind chimera experiments on the children isnt too overwhelming.  A good story, with a possible opening at the end of further books

Rating 3.5/5

No Present Like Time by Steph Swainston

Book 2 of Fourlands Series
This book is written from Jant’s point of view as was Swainston’s first book.  This gives the plot a modern, hip kind of feel as Jant is the wild card in the Circle.  He’s the bad boy who gets into trouble, breaks the rules and plays around with drugs.  His addiction to drugs does make the story ramble a little, as his perceptions are confused and disorientated. I would much prefer another way for Jant to be able to read the Shift. But generally I enjoyed his story and his interactions with the older members of the Circle.  We learn more about some of the older members of the Circle, but the Emperor is still very much kept shrouded in mystery and his motives aren’t any clearer.
I’ve read comments that these immortals don’t learn the lesson’s of life and they should act differently after living so long instead of being bogged down in life’s petty indulgencies.  But that would make for a boring story!  And I don’t find it too difficult to believe that immortals get hung up on the same issues as we mortals do too.
The newest member to the Circle is naïve and generally bewildered throughout this story, though Swainston is very good at writing the fight scenes and portrays the sword skills of these immortals very well.
Once again, Jant drifts into the Shift during his drug binges and we are shown more of the strangeness and hinted at how the different worlds linked to the Shift are all connected.  The Insects don’t play should a big part in this story. This book focuses on the greed of men and their need for power, wealth and position, which courses wars and strife in this book.  Generally the fighting in the instalment isn’t as large in scope as the Insect scenes of the previous book.  But they are still gritting enough to be entertaining.  Overall I enjoyed this 2nd book by this author and look forward to her next release.

Rating 4/5

Year of Our War by Steph Swainston

Book 1 of  Fourlands Series

The main character, Jant, is a messenger of the Emperor and an immortal.  Only a few are granted immorality by the Emperor and they must have a special gift to offer.  Jant's mixed heritage enables him to fly, the only man that can.  For centuries the Fourlands have battled against insect invasion, losing ground and cities to the large bugs some years and gaining them back in others. King Dunlin means to wipe out the insects forever and with the help of the immortal's hopes to liberate the fourlands.  However, a terrible battle finds Dunlin in the Shift and the insects taking over the fourlands.  A very gritty story, with unusual characters and creepy creatures.  The shift is a fascinating place, that Jant's drug addiction enables him to reach.  Jant is not necessarily a likeable character, but does create some interesting scenes.

Rating - 3.5/5

Wraeththu Omnibus by Storm Constantine

There are 3 stories in this omnibus, The Enchangements of Flesh & Spirit,The Bewitchments of Love & Hate and The Fulfilments of Fate & Desire.  The first stories introduces the most interesting characters and probably the most important of the trilogy, Pell and Cal.  Pell is discovered by Cal, a Wraeththu and taken away to a remote city.  The Wraeththu are biosexual creatures that are taking over were man is dying away.  Most of these creatures were once human, having being changed to Wraeththu through contamation of the blood.  All the character refer to themselves as the male gender, despite physically being both.  The first story focuses on Pell's and Cal's relationship after Pell is turned by Thiede, the most powerful of them all.  There are some political themes in these stories, as Thiede manipulates Pell into become the spirtual leader of the budding Wraeththu breed. The 2nd story follows Cal's recovery with the Varrs clan after his forced seperation from Pell.  He becomes Terzian's consort, but causes a rift with the Leader of the Varr's family.  This follows Swift's childhood and following adulthood and how he comes to terms with the destructive affect of Cal's influence on his family.  The first story is told from Cal's POV and how he drifts from town to town on a spiritual journey to eventually make his way back into Pell's life.  The last book was the slowest and not so interesting as the others. The political interfighting became tedious by that time, and Cal's constant journeying did seem pointless.  There is a strong sexual element throughout all the stories, though the author does describe the ritual with strange words so it isnt so shocking.

Rating - 4/5
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...