Friday, February 10, 2006

Friday Book Review

I’m continuing my love affair with Mary Janice Davidson’s “Undead” series. Although the plot of ”Undead and Unappreciated”
is not quite on par with the two earlier books, it’s still just so much pure, trashy fun that I couldn’t help but race through it in one day. Betsy is still her same lovable, irreverent self. Plus, the dialogue includes witty sayings such as “ass hat” which the part of me that never made it out of the 6th grade finds extremely amusing. I’m always on the lookout for a good epithet to hurl so don’t cut me off in traffic or you’ll find yourself on the receiving end of some of Betsy’s pithier comments.

Ass hat.

Sorry – couldn’t resist saying it one more time.

I’m going to go ahead and review S.L. Viehl’s latest “Stardoc” book, ”Rebel Ice”, even though I haven’t finished it. I’ve really enjoyed this series because it offers something a bit different than the typical space opera genre. Don’t get me wrong, Viehl provides plenty of spaceships, different and unusual planets, space battles and wildly varying alien species, but her main character, Dr. Cherijo Grey Veil, views it all from the eyes of a healer rather than as captain of a ship or space pirate, etc. The varying love stories and Cherijo’s unusual genetic history are additional elements that round out the series and make them enjoyable reads. I know a lot of people have quibbled about Duncan Reever, the main love interest in the series, but I think it’s due to his character not being fully revealed until the third or fourth book. Initially, he comes off as, well, a total ass hat (see how I cleverly worked that in?) He becomes more sympathetic the more the reader learns about him. Unfortunately, some of the elements that made the earlier books so enjoyable are missing in this latest installment. Also, the varying viewpoints and time jumps make things confusing to follow. Once Duncan lands on Akkabarr and is able to begin his search for the missing Dr. Grey Veil, things speed up and get more interesting so I expect a satisfactory conclusion. Still, this is not quite up to Viehl’s usual standards. It’s worth reading if one is a fan of the series in order to keep up with the ongoing storyline, but new readers would do better to start with the first book in the series, ”Stardoc”

Lastly, since I haven’t had a lot to review lately, I thought I’d bring back a “blast from the past” and talk about an older series that I really enjoyed. Julie Dean Smith’s “Caithan Crusade” series which begins with ”Call of Madness”. Sometime in the past, a certain section of Caithans lost control over their innate magical abilities. The resulting chaos and destruction was so horrible that magic is declared anathema and anyone who shows any signs of it is immediately ferreted out by the church and forced to “repent” which involves voluntarily committing suicide…or being executed if one is willing to go along with the “voluntary” part. The setting is similar to the days of “witch hunts” and the Inquisition. Enter the crown princess of Caithe who suddenly begins to show the early signs of magical development and is forced to flee her kingdom to save herself from execution. But, can she find anyone who will help her gain control over her developing abilities before she, too, is driven insane and unwittingly destroys those around her? These books are older and may no longer be available in stores. Er…who am I kidding…no WAY B&N is going to still carry these. But, Amazon seems to still have them and there are probably used copies floating around out there as well.

That’s it for this week. Enjoy and have a great weekend!


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