Book Review: Starfleet Academy: The Delta Anomaly

Starfleet Academy: The Delta Anomaly, by Rick Barba

When a serial killer nicknamed the Doctor returns to San Francisco, Kirk is witness to the brutal attack of a fellow Starfleet Academy student with a narrow miss himself. The Doctor leaves behind victims, who appear untouched, save for missing organs that have completely disappeared. Dr. McCoy uses his expertise to investigate the strange circumstances surrounding the attack and a soot-like residue left behind. And Uhura is asked to help as well, utilizing her linguistic skills to determine what the killer is saying on captured evidence. Meanwhile, Kirk is trying to pass his next exam, and doing a bit of his own detective work on the Doctor – all while romancing a local waitress.

This story is set during the early Academy days for Kirk, McCoy, and Uhura as a tie-in from the latest J.J. Abrams Star Trek film. The banter between Kirk and McCoy and the blooming romance between Uhura and Spock are among the highlights. The characters are spot on. The technology and mysterious alien are fascinating. And the mystery and suspense are captivating. While marked to the young adult market, this is a fun read for Star Trek fans of all ages. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie tie-in and hope to see more from this new series soon.

Book Review: Rogue Angel: The Dragon’s Mark

Rouge Angel: The Dragon’s Mark

Rogue Angel: The Dragon’s Mark, by “Alex Archer”

Annja Creed is a part-time archeologist, part-time tv host of Chasing History’s Monsters, and full-time adventurer.

In this latest installment of the Rogue Angel series, Annja is targeted by an infamous assassin known only as the Dragon. The Dragon carries a legendary sword, just as Annja does. But instead of fighting for good, the Dragon’s sword carries a blood-thirsty lineage that craves death and destruction. Now, the Dragon is after Annja and her sword, in a true battle in good versus evil.

This story revolves around the history and lore of the Dragon’s dark sword, pitting it as the antithesis of Annja (formerly Joan of Arc’s) sword. It’s a unique and fun premise that I thoroughly enjoyed. Roux and Garin are back again, though at times out of character from previous books. Which is not hard to believe, since this installment is written by another author. But all of the adventure, suspense, and danger are back. The action scenes and building suspense are particularly fun. And the adventure culminates to a truly surprising ending. I hope the series continues in this vein.

Book Review: The Christmas Chronicles: The Legend of Santa Claus

The Christmas Chronicles: The Legend of Santa Claus

The Christmas Chronicles: The Legend of Santa Claus, by Tim Slover

In this new origin tale of the man we know as Santa Claus, the narrative is told in a unique way. And the history begins in 1343 when young Klaus is orphaned during a wave of the Black Death. Raised to be a carpenter, Klaus was extremely gifted and had a genial demeanor with a penchant for helping others. But when he begins a tradition of making and delivering toys to the town’s children on Christmas Eve, a fellow carpenter Rolf Eckhof becomes filled with envy and malice.

This is an extremely charming and heart-warming tale. My only complaint was that it was too short! It was a quick read that can be consumed in less than a couple hours. The narrative is beautiful and inspiring. I can’t recommend this book enough to those who love Christmas, the spirit of giving, and of course Santa. The story is fast-paced, full of adventure, wonder, magic, charity, humor, and goodness. It’s wonderful tale for all ages, perfect for this holiday season.

Book Review: Past Midnight

Past Midnight

Past Midnight, by Mara Purnhagen

Like most teens, Charlotte is embarrassed by her parents. But everyone knows about her parents, since they are the stars of a hit paranormal investigation reality show. Charlotte often helps her parents on their investigations. But after a particularly strange incident in Charleston, Charlotte’s sister convinces the family to move on a semi-permanent basis (at least one school year) so Charlotte can have a stable senior year. But something has followed Charlotte to their new home. Invading her dreams as well as while awake, Charlotte must discover what the presence wants before it’s too late.

Charlotte is a likeable girl who makes friends easily. And though she gets to know a couple boys at school, one with particular potential, the story doesn’t focus at all on romance. Instead, the story revolves around mystery, suspense and the paranormal. Although there are some creepy and slightly disturbing scenes, for the most part this quick read is a teen drama. The story and characters are engaging. Though, the mysteries are fairly predictable. The ending is also a bit lackluster and anti-climactic. It’s a fun and slightly, dark tale with potential that just fell a little bit flat.

Book Review: Pegasus

Pegasus

Pegasus, by Robin McKincley

On Princess Sylvi’s twelfth birthday, she is bound to her pegasus. For the past thousand years, an alliance has existed between humans and pegasi. Communication between species is difficult, so magicians are needed as interpreters. But as soon as Sylvi meets Ebon her bonded pegasus, the two are able to speak telepathically. Their bond is immediate and a strong friendship soon develops. But not everyone is happy about the bond that the two share. Some see Sylvi as a threat to relations with the pegasi and their entire way of life.

Sylvi and Ebon are like-minded adolescents who share an incredible friendship. Their worlds are wrapped up in each other. McKincley’s characters have immense depth, both humans and pegasi alike. Her world-building is flawless, where pegasi are completely sentient, but their society has developed in a different way from humans. Scenes where Sylvi and Ebon take nightly, forbidden flights together are magical. The prose is beautiful and completely engaging. The drama and mystery are completely riveting. Fantastic events lead to an abrupt ending cut much too short. But thankfully, the story will continue in a sequel releasing in 2012. Fantasy fans of all ages will love this captivating story of friendship and duty.

Book Review: The Declaration

The Declaration

The Declaration, by Gemma Malley

Anna has lived most of her life at Grange Hall, a place where illegal children are raised as “Surplus” and taught to be Valuable Assets to society. Many years ago, a drug called Longevity was developed giving the entire planet immortality. But the surface population soon became overwhelming, so The Declaration was created, stating that it’s illegal to have children unless the parents op-out of immortality and the Longevity drug. Anna has only known the bleak and hopeless Grange Hall where all of the Surplus children are treated like slaves. But when a boy named Peter arrives, he begins stirring up trouble and tells Anna that she is not Surplus and that she has parents who love her and want her.

Anna begins as a brainwashed, subservient girl who begins to rethink her existence because of Peter and his persistent manner. Malley’s futuristic society is a harsh and depressing possibility of what humanity could become if people could live forever and children became obsolete. The narrative is well-paced, dramatic and full of suspense. A thought provoking tale, with a couple surprises, I thoroughly enjoyed this dystopian novel.

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