Monday, April 30, 2007

M'Lady Witch - 4 stars

Summary of M'Lady Witch by Christopher Stasheff:
M'Lady Witch is charming, a blend of adventure, intrigue, and (of course) a healthy dose of romance. Cordelia Gallowglass, daughter of SCENT agent Rod Gallowglass, has been targeted for destruction by the enemies of democracy on her native planet of Gramayre. Now emerging into womanhood, she has always thought she would marry Prince Alain. Yet Alain seems disturbingly prissy and overbearing, and Cordelia herself is not sure whether she loves him. When he, desperate to prove himself a capable suitor, decides to take lessons in gallantry and romance from her errant brother Geoffrey, she knows she's going to have to stop the two fools before enemies none of them were aware of begin to close in...

This is part of a series that Stasheff writes about "warlocks" who really just have esp powers. I have never read any of the other books, as this was purchased for me by my mother. They seem like they could be interesting. Luckily there is enough explanation that reading the previous ones is not required. While the book itself is cheesy (thee, thou, etc as well as the tagline: "Willful, wayward, wild... the Warlock's daughter is all grown up!"), it has enough adventure and plot to make it interesting. It's a good read, if you don't mind a few things left unresolved and cheesy romance.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Drowned Ammet - 4 stars

Summary of Drowned Ammet by Diana Wynne Jones:
Drowned Ammet is the story of Mitt, a boy who joins a band of Freedom Fighters in a bid to try and crush the tyrranical ruler of Holand, and at the same time, to get revenge on the people who killed his father.

I read this soon after reading the first book in the quartet, Cart and Cwidder. I finished this the next day. It's very good, and captures your interest right from the start. There are no characters I disliked; they were all very believable. Based off of the two books, I anticipate the third one being just as good. I recommend reading this book.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Cart and Cwidder - 4 stars

Summary of Cart and Cwidder by Diana Wynne Jones:
Cart and Cwidder is the first in the best-selling Dalemark Quartet of books and tells the story of Moril and his brother and sister who are travelling musicians journeying through Dalemark, until one day they pick up a mysterious passenger. Somehow Moril's family and the stranger are becoming bound together in terror, flight, and music.

At first I didn't like the book. Clennen really annoyed me. But then about 50 pages in things changed and I really liked how the story went. I immensely enjoyed the lack of conclusive ending, forcing you to read the second book. There were parts where I could say that normally I'd get annoyed at the cliche, but it was written in such a way that it avoided that feeling. Even though the book is meant for teens, I still highly enjoyed it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Water Witch - 5 Stars

Summary of Water Witch by Connie Willis and Cynthia Felice:
At the instigation of her con-artist father, Deza masquerades as a witch who can control the water supply of the desert planet of Mahali, in order to deceive its rulers and become rich, but the deception backfires.

This book is EXCELLENT! I was hooked from the first page. Since this was written in the early 80s, I feared that the writing would be dense like most of Willis' early writing. I was very wrong, and I'm glad that was the case. I could not put the book down, and breezed through it. It's quite short, but that doesn't detract from its enjoyableness. I wasn't expecting how things turned out, and everything progressed with no confusion and anger at it being cliche. It was a wonderful break from the last book. It's only 216 pages, and I think everyone should read this book as it's just THAT good. :)

Sunday, April 8, 2007

The Wizard of London

Summary of The Wizard of London by Mercedes Lackey:
Lackey's latest Elemental Masters novel is set in Victorian England. The Harton School for Boys and Girls, run by Isabelle and Frederick Harton, is one of the few schools that takes students whose magic doesn't pertain to the elements, and who are, therefore, frequently ignored by the Elemental Masters. Such unheeded gifts include clairvoyance, telepathy, and the very rare ability to truly communicate with the dead. Sarah Jane's parents, missionary healers in Africa, send the 12-year-old to Harton, and she is happy there, especially after she befriends Nan, a street urchin. After an attempt is made on Sarah and Nan's lives, it is clear that a powerful Elemental Master wants one or both girls dead. Isabelle Harton must seek the aid of the Elemental Masters of London, though the Masters' Circle is led by Lord Alderscroft, who once cruelly jilted her.

*yawn* I had the hardest time reading this book. The only interesting character, Lord Alderscroft, hardly ever showed up until the end. Nan and Sarah got on my nerves, and I found myself wondering how they were always so perfect. Annoyingly perfect. I didn't find the book interesting until the last 100 pages or so, when the main part of the plot finally got going. All pages before then were just fluff and unneeded. And the bird Neville... ugh, why must Nan have a bird as well, just because she asked for it? Cliche. I really don't recommend this at all. The writing style was insanely annoying. Normally I'm a big fan of Lackey, but this one wasn't worth the read at all.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Sky Coyote

Summary of Sky Coyote by Kage Baker:
Cunningly blending a pre-Columbian past with a 24th century extrapolated from every adult's nightmare about the younger generation, Baker's second installment in her Company series proves a witty match to In the Garden of Iden. Fresh from a cushy R&R after a supervisory stint in the Inquisition, time-hopping cyborg Facilitator Joseph jaunts to 16th-century Alta California. There, cybernetically outfitted with fur and paws, he apotheosizes to the cannily entrepreneurial Chumash Indian tribe so he can collect them and their entire biosystem for Company studies in the remote future. Joseph's Company is Baker's deliciously wicked platform for satirizing past, present and all-too-likely future human frailties. From sure-handed sendups of 24th-century Cinema Standard speech patterns and a dismayingly suggestive portrait of the Chumash Medical AssociationAstaring eyes, knotted hair and an air of too frequent consumption of alkaloidsAto the Company's sacred Greater Mission Statement, Baker nails her 20th-century targets: societal, religious and oh-so-personal hypocrisy.

I read the first book in this series, The Garden of Iden quite awhile back and remembered liking it enough that I wanted the second. It was years until I had finally gotten around to ordering it, and I'm pleased to find that I wasn't mistaken in adding it to my list. I love the historical context pitted against the futuristic, making it a very enjoyable read. I have now found that there are 8 (?) more novels in the series, making my work cut out for me! I highly recommend this series, starting with The Gardne of Iden since it is referrenced quite a few times in Sky Coyote.