Friday, May 30, 2008

Melanie Rawn

From the moment I started reading this author's first book, I was hooked. Dynastic kingdoms full of intrigue and battle, mages and dragons populate the complex Fantasy worlds of writer Melanie Rawn. Her works are full of intriguing characters, vivid settings and well drawn plots. Readers will be surprised and astonished with her works.

Ms. Rawn got an idea about a man hunting dragons. She spent an entire weekend writing about this hunt. That is how Dragon Prince was born. This book begins a series of Epic Fantasies about Rohan, Sioned, Pol, Sunrunners and dragons. Rawn's world is made up of several kingdoms ruled by vicious High Prince Roelstra. Rohan, a desert prince, meets and marries the powerful Sunrunner Sioned. Together, they fight against Roelstra to free the kingdoms.

Sunrunners are the mages of Rawn's world. They have the power to use sunlight for communication, healing, battle and other things. Weaving sunlight is a powerful talent that can corrupt at times. The dark mages of the world weave starlight. Rohan must contend with the three angry, ambitious grandsons of Roelstra in the next two books Star Scroll and Sunrunner's Fire.

The next three books take place a generation later with the story of Pol, Rohan's son. He is faced with filling his father's rule, an invasion by Viking like invaders and dealing with his powerful Sunrunner cousin Andry. Stronghold, The Dragon Token and Skybowl are darker than the first three books. They tell excellent stories of love and adventure with a very good climax. All the books are long and satisfying.

Rawn's next series takes place in a new Fantasy world of Lenfell. Three mage sisters fight a private battle among rival factions of Mageborn people. The Mageborns nearly destroyed this world in the past, so are under tight rules. A renegade mage wants to start a new war. Striving to overcome their differences, the sisters must stop this mage. The Ruins of Ambrii and The Mageborn Traitor are the two books published so far. The last book, The Captal's Tower, is forthcoming some day.

Ms. Rawn collaborated with two other Fantasy authors, Jennifer Roberson and Kate Elliot, for The Golden Key. The book is about the civilization of Tira Verte and the painter mages. Artwork is highly prized in this world. Paintings are used as official records of everything like weddings. One family has the power to manipulate time and reality with their paintings. This book tells the tale of Sario, a member of this family, that uses his power to get the woman he loves and sets off world shaking problems. With tree top writers of the Fantasy field collaborating on this work, readers are left with a book of depth, complexity and beauty that few books have these days.

After a long time of not publishing any books, Ms. Rawn has returned with a new one. The book is an Urban Fantasy called Spellbinder.This new book takes place in modern day Manhattan. Holly McClure is a witch who is special to her coven. Her blood makes their spells last. She is in love with a U.S. Marshall named Evan Lachlan. Together they must help her coven to fight a sociopath Satanist called Noel. The book is an interesting different type of book for the author.

Melanie Rawn is a wonderful Fantasy author of books with complex plots, memorable characters and imaginative settings. She has a clear writing style that keeps the adventure, court intrigue and action going at a steady pace. Readers might find her books hard to put down once started. They will not be disappointed with any of her books.

Further information about Melanie Rawn and her books can be found at:

Friday, May 16, 2008

Review: _The Lost Ones_ by Christopher Golden

People get a good feeling of satisfaction when they finish something. There is a sense of accomplishment in completing things. Such a feeling comes when readers finish a trilogy or series of books. The third book in the “Veil” trilogy called The Lost Ones by Christopher Golden completes the series. The book leads to a satisfying conclusion due to its interesting setting, fascinating characters and exciting plot.

First, Mr. Golden’s interesting setting helps lead the book to a satisfying conclusion. The world of the Legendary is separated from our world by the Veil, a border that can only be crossed one way by humans. The humans, called the Lost Ones, must live among mythical creatures in a dangerous world of magic. This world has two kingdoms, one made up from European myths and the other based on Central American myths. In addition, the mythical city of Atlantis and its people creates a fascinating landscape for the characters to survive through, brought to life by the author’s vivid descriptions.

Next, the fascinating characters moves the story to its gratifying end. Oliver Bascombe returns in this book, locked in a dungeon cell along with his fiancé and sister. He must deal with the betrayal of the Borderkind fox Kitsune and reconcile himself to his heritage in order to save two worlds. The Borderkind legend Kistune must overcome her guilt for betraying Oliver in order to save her people. Another intriguing character is the new Sandman with the three personalities in one body and how he changes. Mr. Golden brings his characters, both human and legend, to life by giving them realistic emotions and motives.

Lastly, an exciting plot pushes the book to its satisfying conclusion. The story begins with Oliver, his sister and fiancĂ© trying to escape from their prison. They languish in Palenque while the kingdoms of Euphrasia and Yucatazca go to war. The people of Palenque blame Hunyadi the Euphrasian king for the assassination of their king. Both sides have been manipulated by the Atlantean Ty’Lis and his plot to seal the Veil forever. Only the prophecy of the Legend born brings hope to the Lost Ones and the saving of the world. Mr. Golden keeps the plot exciting with intrigues, pursuits and a grand battle until the end.

The Lost Ones by Christopher Golden is the exciting conclusion to the “Veil” trilogy. An interesting setting, fascinating characters and exciting plot brings the trilogy to a satisfying conclusion. Readers will enjoy this entertaining end to a good series of Dark Fantasy.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Review: _Magic Burns_ by Ilona Andrews

Books in the subgenre of Urban Fantasy are popular among many readers today, especially Fantasy. Many of these books have strong women characters that hook readers into the books. Kate Daniels returns for more adventures in the second book Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews. The book is a gritty, entertaining read because of its twisted setting, intense characters and fast paced plot.

The twisted setting of Atlanta, Georgia hooks readers into the story quickly. Magic returned to the world in a tidal flow several years before. The magic warped Atlanta into a weird place. Skyscrapers collapsed. There is a giant canyon full of twisted metal running through part of the city. Vampires and shapeshifters vie for prominence while humans must deal with the changes magic brings by forming an Order of Knights and Guild of Mercenaries to stop the more vicious magical manifestations. Ms. Andrews creates a vivid setting that keeps the story dark and entertaining.

Next, the intense characters keeps the book entertaining. Kate Daniels is a tough woman mercenary with secrets and problems. She possesses a secret magic that requires her to keep every trace of her blood from being collected by anyone. Desperately lonely, Kate struggles with having close relationships because people she loves usually end up dead. Curran is the fierce leader of the Pack, a group of various shapeshifters. He is attracted to Kate but puts her off with his arrogance and bossiness. They make a volatile couple as they deal with other characters throughout the book. Ms. Andrews keeps the characters interesting through a first person point of view narrative and snappy dialogue.

Ultimately, the main element that keeps the book entertaining is a fast paced plot. The story begins with Kate going out on a job to keep a maniac from burning Atlanta down with a fire salamander. She stumbles into a mystery of a missing witche’s coven when she saves a young girl named Julie from some nasty sea demons. Magic is building up to a flare, which will lead to some Celtic gods manifesting and destroying the city. Kate must deal with Curran, vampires and a flirty archer as the book builds to a spectacular conclusion. The author keeps the plot going with plenty of action until the end.

Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews is an excellent second book of a series. An interesting setting, intense characters and fast paced plot makes the book a gritty, entertaining read for fans of Urban Fantasy. Kate Daniels is a tough woman character with vulnerability that makes her likable. Readers will enjoy this book along with the first one, Magic Bites. Hopefully there will be a third or more books in the series in the future. Can’t wait.