Friday, February 23, 2007

Review: _Troika_ by Louise Cooper

Pandora opened a box and let the ills out on the world in Greek mythology. Fantasy author Louise Cooper takes this theme, making it the central story of her “Indigo” series. Indigo let demons loose on her world and must now search the world to destroy them before she can resume her life. Troika is the fifth book in the series continuing the story. The book is an entertaining addition to the series because of the characters, setting and plot.

Strongly developed characters keeps the reader’s interest. Indigo is a sad, cursed woman. Driven on a quest to destroy the demons she loosed on the world, she is made immortal by a goddess. That immortality creates a terrible loneliness she must overcome to achieve her goal. She has one companion and friend in the female wolf Grimya, who is intelligent and has the ability to talk. Together, they provide a memorable relationship to survive their latest trial. Ms. Cooper gives readers realistic characters that a reader can sympathize with throughout the story.

Next, the author provides a vivid setting that draws readers into the story. The world of this book has some continents and large islands. This story is set on a northern island near the polar zone. There is a harsh environment of bitter cold winters and dangerous animals like snow tigers that people must know how to survive through. In the book, it is this vivid setting that drives the plot into interesting directions. Ms. Cooper uses believable descriptions to portray a natural place of forests during a winter of blizzards, snow and cold, which helps drive the main plot elements.

In the end, it is a suspenseful plot that hooks readers into the story the most and keeps them reading. Indigo searches for a demon while traveling through the winter landscape. A sudden vicious blizzard forces her and Grimya to take shelter with a family for many weeks. They are drawn into the troubles of the the family as strange events begin to occur. Indigo has the added complication of trying to avoid falling in love with the head of the family who looks like her lost true love Fenran. The weaves the conflicts of the plot together into an entertaining adventure story.

Troika by Louise Cooper is a nice addition to the “Indigo” Fantasy series. The heroine’s quest to rid the world of dangerous demons grows with each new book. This book’s characters, setting and plot weaves into a suspenseful tale of adventure, sorrow and love. Readers could not ask for much more in a book and will want to seek out the other books in the series.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Review: _Full Moon_ by Jim Butcher

The cable Scifi Channel will debut a new television series in 2007 called “The Dresden Files,” based on the books by Jim Butcher. Harry Dresden is a wizard private detective in Chicago created by Mr. Butcher. He solves supernatural crimes in the “Dresden Files” book series. Full Moon is the second book in the series. Readers will be hooked due to the book’s descriptive setting, interesting characters and action plot.

The modern day setting with supernatural elements brings the story to life. Chicago is a huge city with a criminal element. Added to this mix are dangerous magical creatures from the Never Never. This Chicago is full of vampires, spirits, fairies, ghosts and myriad other things. Humans refuse to believe in magic, but the police department has a special investigation unit to solve unexplainable crimes. In this book, werewolves play a prominent role. Mr. Butcher does an excellent job of creating different types of werewolves to keep the action going. Gritty, vivid descriptions makes the setting very realistic for readers.

Next, interesting characters keeps readers hooked into the story. Harry Dresden is a likable main character for a private detective and wizard. He has an honorable personality despite a troubled past of suffering, always trying to do the right thing. His strength helps him overcome severe obstacles thrown in his path. Karrin Murphy is a tough police detective who uses Harry as a consultant for strange crimes. Her frictional relationship with Harry adds a strong element to the character dynamics. Mr. Butcher’s characterizations are gritty and realistic bringing the characters to life.

In the end, it is the action plot that hooks the reader until the final chapter. The book starts with Harry called to the scene of a grisly murder. He meets some FBI agents that nearly shoot his friend Murphy. This plunges him into the dark world of werewolves of many different types. He fights his way through with magic while suffering injury and loss along the way. The plot keeps moving at at quick pace with no slow spots. Mr. Butcher deftly weaves the plot together to create a powerful, gripping story.

Full Moon by Jim Butcher is an entertaining, suspenseful addition to the “Dresden Files” series. The descriptive setting, interesting characters and action plot snags readers into the story and keeps them hooked until the end. If the new tv series turns out to be as entertaining as the books, the producers will have a hit on their hands.