Sunday, September 21, 2008

Book Comments Catch-Up, Part the First

Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom - Julie Kenner
Contemporary Paranormal; Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom, Book 1; DNF
I saw this book (or possibly this series) reviewed on a blog recently and thought it looked amusing. I'm a big Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan and loved the idea of what might happen when such a character was a settled wife and mother. However, it only took me about 30 pages to realise it just wasn't my kind of book. I found myself reading along and thinking "oh, this is a funny part" instead of actually being amused. The tone wasn't for me and although I skipped around a bit to pick up a bit more of the story I soon official gave up. A DNF for me, but still a book I expect others would enjoy.

The Spacetime Pool - Catherine Asaro
SF; 8/10
I enjoyed this story about a modern mathematician who gets pulled through a gate to an alternative dimension. She soon finds herself the object of a prophecy concerning two warring brothers, running for her life and caught up in a mystery about the history of this new world. For all it sounds like fantasy, this is actually a science fiction story (with the maths and physics to back up that assertion) and once again Asaro creates a fascinating reality where things are not what they seem on the surface. It's a good little story and worth reading, although at the end I was most left wondering if she'll ever write the (at least) two very obvious other tales that need to be written to explain the mysteries she presented to her readers.

Hostage to Pleasure - nalini Singh
Paranormal Romance; Psy/Changeling, Book 5; 9/10
Nalini Singh continues to develop the characters and world of her Psy/Changeling series. This time the book focuses around Psy Ashaya Aleine and Changeling Dorian (can't remember his last name). When we first met Ashaya in the previous book, I didn't think I was going to like her. She seemed cold and harsh and I couldn't see how Singh was going to turn her into a sympathetic character for her own book. Of course, I should have had more faith. Ashaya turns out to be a fascinating character, one way on the outside and another completely on the inside. She needs to learn to integrate the two and slowly does so over the course of the book. What is different about Ashaya is that she has chosen Silence (or an approximation of it) for herself and Dorian has quite a job to convince her the alternative is an option for her. As for Dorian, the Changeling who cannot change, I loved him the first time I met him, way back in Slave to Sensation and I love him just as much here. He's carrying a lot of rage and guilt and to find himself attracted to a Psy just exacerbates both, meaning he too has a significant journey to make before he can find a happy ending. Singh does her usual wonderful job of blending world-building, outside plot, character development and relationship development without going to extremes in any particular direction. I also loved the ending of the book. She had a choice to make on whether or not to allow Dorian, latent since birth, to gain the ability to change shape. To have him learn to shift would really have been too pat considering he'd been latent all his life, but while making him stay latent would probably be more realistic, it would also be desperately sad for Dorian (and for me the reader, who wanted him to learn to shift, but didn't want it to feel like Singh was tying up the resolution with a pretty ribbon for the sake of it). Again, I should have trusted more. Singh finds an alternative solution that works perfectly. Now I'm hanging out for her next books - Angel's Blood, which is the start of a new series that sounds like it has an equally unique spin on the world-building, and Branded by Fire the next Psy/Changeling book, both due out next year. (Although I do have to say that the think the titles to the Psy/Changeling series are pretty awful.)

Heart Fate - Robin D. Owens
Fantasy Romance; Celta, Book 7; 8/10
I found this latest book in Owens' Celtan series to be slow going. I wasn't quite sure if it was me, a flaw in the book or intentional. I have come to the conclusion that it was intentional. This is a slow, gentle book without the swifter more dramatic action of some of the others in the series. Both the main characters are wounded and this book is as much, or possible more, about their healing than it is about their romance. Lahsin is only 17 but was married to a brutish older man at fourteen. As the story begins she runs away, determined to escapse and make her own life. Tinne, the hero, is a little older and, as the story opens, forced to face up to the fact that his marriage is over. The two, HeartMates although only Tinne knows this, meet at a hidden, abandoned estate where both find a sanctuary and a chance to heal. They do so slowly, neither interested in another relationship but gradually discovering a precious friendship with the other. This is a romance as well, so it isn't a spoiler to say these two end up together, but for all that it was relatively quick I didn't find it rushed. It worked well for me, that their HeartMate bond pulled them together even as they were both cautious about another relationship. And in the end it is Lahsin that makes the decision for them, simply by choosing to follow her heart. But she had to do the work first be to in a position to do that, as did Tinne. So a quieter, slower addition to the series, but one I enjoyed. I do like these books and I'm glad to hear Owens has sold several more.


Robin D Owens said...

Whew! There have been so many expectations about this book that I didn't realize when I wrote it.

Heart Fate was a more "intimate" book in that much of the time Lahsin was alone, or only had her dog or Tinne with her. Until the end when they were together, they were usually alone. It WAS about the relationship between the two, and due to circumstances, that didn't develop quickly.


Lisa said...

I did not enjoy the Kenner book either. In fact, I can't even remember if I finished it. I know that I immediately traded it off on paperbackswap and removed the second one from my wish list.