Magic Street, by Orson Scott Card, just confirms what a brilliant writer he is. I have read several series by Card: the Homecoming saga, Ender saga, and the Women of Genesis series. So when I saw previews on Magic Street, I was excited to read it.
In the acknowledgements at the end of the book, Card gives credit to his friend who encouraged him to write a story with a black hero. There is a lot of African-American slang throughout the book, and Card said that his friend is the one who helped him with this different point of view, because he didn’t want it to come off silly. He wanted to get it right.
Magic Street is about how a middle class, African-American community in LA is caught in the middle of a battle between the king and queen of the fairies. There are many references to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. And that’s the best way to describe the book without giving too much away.
Mack Street was abandoned by a drainpipe as a baby, and the book follows his life, his strange powers, and his affect on his community. There are quite a few twists in this modern-day fairy tale. And while reading the first chapter, I thought Card must have been smoking something while writing this; Card managed to weave together a fun, magical tale that was surprisingly heart-warming.
Step into the magical world of the Noble Dead. Traitor to the Blood is the forth novel in the series by Barb and J.C. Hendee which follows the adventures of Magiere (a dhampir, half-human/half-vampire), Leesil (a half-human/half-elf), and their equally unique companions. In this story, former-assassin Leesil tries to track down his parents that he left behind years ago. Meanwhile, he and Magiere are trailed by her half-brother, Welstiel, who is trying to use Magiere for his own gain. They also face many foes: a ruthless overlord, a woman that Leesil orphaned set on revenge, a group of elven assassins, and a mysterious shape-shifting couple forced into servitude, just to name a few.
This installment delves deeper into each character, but especially Leesil since this book focuses on his tortured past and what has shaped him into the man he is. And each book in the series gets better with more character development, more complex storylines, more mythological lore, and more action. Any fan of vampire stories or the fantasy genre in general will love this series.
Traitor to the Blood was also the first in the series to make the jump to hardcover. Look for the next hardback installment, Rebel Fay, January of 2007.
Check out http://nobledead.com for excerpts from the books, more on the world of the Noble Dead.
The Historian is Elizabeth Kostova’s first published novel, and at 642 pages it was very impressive. She held my attention throughout the entire book. I hated putting it down. Kostova has a beautiful writing style and makes the history of “Vlad the Impaler” very interesting. Most of the story is told through letters and jumps around quite a bit, but it is very easy to follow.
The book begins when a teenage girl comes across an ancient book and containing some mysterious letters in her father’s library. The book is blank, save for the center pages which contain a woodcut rendering of a dragon with the word “Drakulya.” Her father then proceeds to explain his personal search for Dracula and the truth behind the historical figure.
The vast references to the history of the 1400’s in the surrounding eastern European countries, makes this book seem more like a work of non-fiction. But the supernatural qualities add an eerie, suspenseful dimension to this work of art. The only complaint I have is that the ending seemed somewhat anti-climatic. But on a whole, this was a great piece of literature. I highly recommend it to those who love historical fiction or just a good vampire tale.
Wow. This is now one of my favorite books. It jumped back & forth between the “past” (in the days of Surak, the father of Vulcan enlightenment).. telling the story of how the Romulans broke away from the Vulcans.. very interesting, if not a little confusing.. and the “present,” where a race called the Waatari claim that the Romulans are murderers that kicked them out of planets that supposedly belonged to the Waatari (Romulus & Remus).. and plan on Romulan genocide because of it.
The Federation is torn, because of an uneasy truce with the Romulans and not knowing exactly what happened when the Romulans found their now-homeworlds… the Romulans’ history is sketchy and filled with myths, so that not even most Romulans know what happened in their early history.
This first book tells the tale of one Vulcan man’s journey.. meeting and befriending Surak and eventually being forced off-planet because of the civil wars. At the end of the book he ends up leading a “wagon-train” ship to the stars, full of Vulcan refugees, never to return home again.
The “present-day” story involves a few of the original Star Trek cast… Ambassador Spock, Captain Saavik (Spock’s wife now), Admiral Uhura, and Admiral Chekov. These lead a fleet of non-sanctioned Federation ships, a few Klingon, as well as some Vulcan ships into the Neutralized Zone to meet up with the Waatari (as well as the Romulans) to try to find out the truth, in hopefully the most peaceful way.
Spoiler Warning:… in the last page of the book, it looks like Chekov is killed in a transporter accident, while he’s wrestling with one of the Waatari! But as we all know… no one stays dead forever in Star Trek.
Dhampir by Barb & J.C. Hendee. It’s a cross between the Blade series and Lord of the Rings. Magiere, her half-elf companion Leesil, and his mysterious dog are con-artists who pretend to rid small villages of supposed-vampire infestations. But when they decide to settle down and go straight, they just happen to pick a village with actual vampire residents. Here, Magiere discovers her true destiny, whether she likes it or not.. that she’s a true vampire slayer.. a Dhampir. Half-vampire herself, she is a living person, but has all the strengths of the “Noble Dead” (vampires). This is an action-packed vampire-slayer book with heart. The Hendee’s do a great job of exploring the main characters, even the “Noble Dead” themselves. I highly recommend this book to any fan of the vampire genre.
Bob Mayer is, currently, one of my favorite authors. He writes under a few pen names. But my favorite series of his is Area 51. I started reading this, as well as the Atlantis series, and realized that the writing style was very similar. Then, low-and-behold, while searching online for another book in a series, I found out that the author is one-and-the-same! You can definitely tell he has a background in the military, when reading his books. But they aren’t just full of violence and military technical terms. He has developed some great story lines and characters.
The Area 51 series takes off from the Area 51 theory of the Roswell crash and developes a complex story that unravels book by book. In the 7th book in the series, The Truth, he explains the origin of humanity and the aliens’ role in history. He even wrote two more books, so far, on a couple of characters and their roles throughout history, Nosferatu and Legend, that further compound on the same storyline. I definitely disagree and dislike his take on Biblical characters throughout his version of history. But I treat them as pure fiction, obviously. And they are extremely good reads.
If you’re not as into aliens and scifi, the Atlantis series are more military/action based books.
“Area 51” series pen name: Robert Doherty
“Atlantis” series pen name: Greg Donegan
And check out his website: http://www.bobmayer.org/fiction.html for even more novels and info.