Book Review: Spider’s Bite

Spider’s Bite

Spider’s Bite, by Jennifer Estep

Gin, aka the Spider, is a paid assassin and a stone and ice elemental. When Gin is double-crossed during a job, she takes it personal, particularly when her mentor is brutally tortured and murdered. Gin decides to team up with Detective Donovan Caine, but she’ll need to convince him that she’s not the enemy.

Estep has created a fun and fascinating urban fantasy world of vampires, giants, elementals, and other dangerous creatures. The magical creatures are (mostly) treated as regular humans, though it’s certainly a dark and dangerous world. Gin is a mysterious and complex character. We’re given glimpses of her past throughout the book, and her story slowly unfolds as to why she became such a ruthless killer. Though, supposedly she only kills people who deserve it. It’s quite a unique perspective to have the protagonist be a paid assassin and the “good guy.” But somehow, the author makes Gin human enough to make it believable.

Loaded with action and intrigue, the story is strong and exciting. The mystery itself takes a backseat to the character interaction and suspense. But I wouldn’t change a thing. With a knock-out, climactic ending and a surprising twist that I didn’t see coming, I was definitely impressed. This dark, urban fantasy series has a promising start.

Spider’s Bite will release January 26, 2010 from Pocket Books.

Book Review: Curse of the Spider King

Curse of the Spider King

Curse of the Spider King, by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper, is first in the The Berinfell Prophesies series.

In a world called Allyra, seven children of Elven Lords disappeared during the Siege of Berinfell. Hidden among humans on Earth, the children have grown up knowing nothing of their heritage. But the Spider King wants them dead. So, Elven warriors must race to find the seven children, protect them, and lead them back to Allyra to claim their rightful place in their home world.

The seven Elven children are each faced with the unbelievable fact that they are not human, let alone adopted. To top it off, as each turns 13, they discover that they have an amazing and unique gift. Reminiscent of The Neverending Story, each young teen is given a special book. A book that tells the history of Berinfell and literally comes alive for the reader, when the words are touched.

With amazing characters and spectacular world-building, this book seemed to come alive to me as well. I got caught up in each of the young teen’s stories, their struggles and heartaches. This is a coming-of-age story and fantasy, with plenty of action, suspense, magic, mystery, and mild Christian themes. Marketed for young adults, but this first installment is fairly suitable for preteens and middle readers as well.

From beginning to end, the suspense and danger kept me on the edge of my seat. We are left with a mild cliffhanger, but thankfully the next in the series is scheduled to release in June. Curse of the Spider King was one of the most vivid and exciting young adult novels that I have read this year.

Book Review: Doppelgangster

Doppelgangster

Doppelgangster, by Laura Resnick

Esther Diamond is a struggling actress in New York. When she starts working at a restaurant known for being a local mob hang out, her current love interest (who happens to be a cop) isn’t happy about it. After Esther is the sole witness to a murder of a well-known wiseguy, she soon finds herself in the middle of a mystery involving doppelgangers, curses, and revenge.

As soon as I picked this book up, I couldn’t put it down. Esther is a fantastic character, complex and smart. But the wiseguys are the real treat, appearing as if they walked right out of Goodfellas. The plot is a fast-paced mystery, with and plenty of suspense, magic, and laced with humor. Italian mafia, peculiar magic, a bit of romance, and a murder mystery – what a great combination! Doppelgangster was completely entertaining from beginning to end.

This was easily some of the most fun I’ve had reading urban fantasy. I’m glad I read it over Christmas break, as I couldn’t put it down and finished it within a day. If you’re looking for a fast and fun fantasy, look no further. I have found a new author to follow, and another book to make my list of favorites of the year.

Doppelgangster will be available from DAW Books January 5, 2010 in bookstores everywhere.

Day of The Triffids Remake

For folks in the UK, a two-part new blockbuster adaptation of John Wyndham’s scifi classic The Day of The Triffids showing 9pm on the 28th (tonight!) & 29th Dec on BBC One starring Dougray Scott, Eddie Izzard, Jason Priestley, Vanessa Redgrave, Joely Richardson, Ewan Bremner and Brian Cox.

Special effects work on the show has just finished but you can see some image and clip previews on the official DVD & Blu-ray site: www.dayofthetriffids.co.uk
They have tried to build something that gives any Triffid newbie an in-depth look at all the various incarnations of the Triffids and even long-time fans some new info.

For those of us in the US and Canada, I’ll post more info for a release when available.

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