Tag Archives: sf/f

Fantasy Book Review: Alex Van Helsing: The Triumph of Death

Alex Van Helsing: The Triumph of Death by Jason Henderson

Alex Van Helsing teams up with a new classmate (who happens to be a witch) after discovering that a vampire queen is planning an apocalypse that will turn the world dark. Then vampires would have free reign of the world. And only an old painting holds a clue to her upcoming plans.

Alex is still struggling with a bit of teen angst and relationship problems, while dealing with school, his strange powers that he still doesn’t fully understand, and working and training as a vampire hunter. Henderson’s imaginative characters and historic literary foundation are a springboard for a wild ride of action-packed adventure, mystery, and fast-paced thrills. The creative twist on classic gothic novels are not only a fascinating center point for the story, but make me want to re-read the classics such as Dracula and Frankenstein again.

I read that this exciting third installment in the Alex Van Helsing series is supposedly the last. The Triumph of Death is certainly my favorite of the series. And the main story arc begun in the first book does have a huge twist that resolves in this climactic ending. But there is quite a bit that is left open and unanswered. I would love to see the more in the series simply because I love the characters, and I’m a sucker for a creative take on the vampire/Van Helsing story.

Alex Van Helsing: The Triumph of Death releases from HarperTeen on July 24, 2012.

Fantasy Book Review: Dreamless

Dreamless by Josephine Angelini

Helen Hamilton has been traveling to the Underworld every night, trying to find the Furies and put an end to the scion curse of vengeance. But she is unable to sleep, and the lack of rest is taking its toll on her. Helen thought she’d have to do this alone, but suddenly she meets a young man who rescues her one night in the Underworld. The mysterious scion has been sent to aid her search and protect her. Meanwhile, someone has been plotting against Helen and watching for her to be at her weakest to attack.

Helen’s relationship with Lucas has become unbearably complicated. They believe that they are first cousins, yet the thought of incest doesn’t seem to bother either of them. Ick. Even if they aren’t actually related, just the thought of it should be a turn off. Instead, their lack of maturity and teenage hormones overpower any common sense. Their chemistry fizzled to nothing for me in this book. Though, the arrival of Orion came just in time. Orion’s bright personality and sense of humor won me over and made Lucas disappear. Angelini will have to work really hard in the next installment to make me change from Team Orion to Team Lucas. I don’t see it happening – even if we get the BIG REVEAL that Lucas and Helen aren’t really related. Damage is done.

This is the 2nd installment in the Starcrossed trilogy. Starcrossed was unique and spellbinding. Dreamless is a solid sequel with well-paced adventure and drama. I haven’t read Starcrossed in over a year, so I worried that I would be confused with the characters. But Angelini has created such memorable and complex characters, that they quickly came back to me. And a recap wasn’t even needed. Full of intense suspense, dramatic twists, and a bit of humor to lighten the dark setting – this fantasy flawlessly brings ancient Greek mythology to modern day.

SciFi Movie Trailer: Robot & Frank

Robot & Frank opens in Theaters August 24, 2012

Set in the near future, Frank, a retired cat burglar, has two grown kids who are concerned he can no longer live alone. They are tempted to place him in a nursing home until Frank’s son chooses a different option: against the old man’s wishes, he buys Frank a walking, talking humanoid robot programmed to improve his physical and mental health. What follows is an often hilarious and somewhat heartbreaking story about finding friends and family in the most unexpected places.

TV Tie-In Book Review: On Fire: A Teen Wolf Novel

On Fire: A Teen Wolf Novel by Nancy Holder

Scott McCall is no longer a normal teen. After getting bitten by a werewolf, Scott now has to control his inner wolf whenever his emotions run high. Scott’s relationship with Allison has just begun, but her family hunts Scott’s kind. So, keeping his secret is crucial. Recently, Jackson, the popular rich kid and Captain of the lacrosse team, skipped school and seems to be missing. With only a cryptic note and the ability to trace his cell phone from an app, his friends search for him. Jackson’s phone trail leads them to the woods late at night. Not only do they need to find Jackson, but Scott needs to make sure he and Allison avoid the mysterious Alpha werewolf who turned him. Or Allison may be the one in danger.

On Fire is a tie-in novel based on the new hit show Teen Wolf from MTV, apparently set about early to middle of the first season. MTV’s Teen Wolf is only loosely based on the beloved, original movie of the same name starring Michael J. Fox. This Teen Wolf is much darker, less comedic and blends mild horror, mystery, drama, and romance.

I wondered how a tie-in novel would work with such a fast-paced show, where a lot progresses over the course of just a 12-episode season. But On Fire works well as a mid-season story where there is a lot of mystery that has yet to be revealed. And fans are treated to a riveting backstory of Derek, the brooding werewolf who mentors Scott, but wants vengeance for his family more than anything. Jackson’s mystery is incredibly suspenseful, but unfortunately ended a bit too abruptly without much explanation. I would love to see this series continue in novels and see it either continue this storyline or jump forward to the present storyline. These are fantastic characters; and Holder does a great job of weaving a new mystery and remaining true to the characters.

On Fire will release from MTV Books on July 17, 2012.

Fantasy Book Review: The Spirit War

The Spirit War by Rachel Aaron

Eli Monpress’ goal is to be the a world renown thief with the largest bounty on his head. But when his colleague and friend Josef suddenly has an even larger bounty, Eli realizes Josef hasn’t been completely honest with his friends. Josef is the son of a queen who needs him home to fulfill his duty as prince and defend their country against a looming invasion. But the invading army of the Immortal Empress’ main goal is to defeat her most hated adversary – Eli.

This is the fourth installment in the Eli Monpress series. While each has a specific plot, the overlying arc comes to a head in this story. The Immortal Empress’ jealousy of Eli has driven her to try to conquer the world. And with her ability to command spirits, she’s almost unstoppable. Aaron has done an incredible job of worldbuilding in this series. Her unique fantasy world is one where all things from wood to the wind has a spirit and personality. And the characters are diverse and complicated. As before, this latest installment is full of humor, drama, magic, and several fun surprises. The Spirit War is exciting, complex, and riveting. This series is a must-read for fantasy fans. I can’t get enough of Eli and this fantastic series.

Fantasy Book News: Ice Forged Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway!

Bestselling fantasy author Gail Z. Martin is holding a sneak peek for her new book, Ice Forged, and we’ve got the goodies! Gail Z. Martin is the author of the Chronicles of the Necromancer series, published by Solaris Books, and The Fallen Kings Cycle from Orbit Books. Her short stories have appeared in numerous U.S. and UK anthologies.

Gail is unveiling the new cover for Ice Forged (coming from Orbit Books in January, 2013), and throwing her annual Hawthorn Moon Online Sneak Peek Event, which includes more than a dozen partner sites with exclusive excerpts, author and character interviews, audios, and more!

Ice Forged will take readers to an entirely new world with completely new characters. “It’s a totally different series,” Martin says. “I’m having a lot of fun building it and I’m looking forward to sharing it with readers.

Here’s the story: Condemned as a murderer for killing the man who dishonored his sister, Blaine “Mick” McFadden has spent the last six years in Velant, a penal colony in the frigid northern wastelands of Edgeland. Harsh military discipline and the oppressive magic of the governor’s mages keep a fragile peace as colonists struggle against a hostile environment. But the supply ships from Dondareth have stopped coming, boding ill for the kingdom that banished the colonists.

Now, McFadden and the people of Velant decide their fate. They can remain in their icy prison, removed from the devastation of the outside world, but facing a subsistence-level existence, or they can return to the ruins of the kingdom that they once called home. Either way, destruction lies ahead…

Get your exclusive excerpt from Ice Forged here: http://www.4shared.com/office/NhlMRowu/Ice_Forged_Excerpt_2.html

To get in on all the action, including the other three unique excerpts, find out more on Gail’s site, www.AscendantKingdoms.com

Courtesy of the author, I have a copy of one of her backlist titles for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends July 20. I’ll draw a name on July 21, and notify winner via email.

Good luck!

Continue reading Fantasy Book News: Ice Forged Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway!