Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Review: _The Three Sisters_ by Rebecca Locksley

A mage of the Tari watches her sister-in-law destroy a tower of the enemy who destroyed three of their people utterly by feeding them to demons. The woman is pregnant and experiences all of the deaths she causes. Stress from the deaths results in the birth of triplets, three sisters with remarkable talents. This starts the book The Three Sisters by Rebecca Locksley. Readers will find this book interesting because of its troubled characters, action plot, and the clash of cultures and magical systems.

Three women of the title have troubled lives that make them interesting. They are Tari, a race of people that are part of the life spirit of their world. This gives them great magical powers but with a price. Yani is a warrior. She loves to fight with the sword, but cannot kill anyone or she will suffer the deaths of her enemies. Her sister Elena Starchild is beautiful, possessing the talent of fatal beauty that dr ives men to obsession over her. Marigoth is a powerful mage. She is eleven years old and refuses to grow up. All of them face conflicts that change them by the end of the book. Other characters like the Mirayan mage Ezratah, the Horse Seagani tribe member Duprey and Wolf Madraga add different insights into the lives of the sisters.

Next, the action plot keeps the book interesting by moving along at a good pace with exciting developments. The story begins when Elena Starchild’s husband is killed by conquerors and her husband’s people are enslaved. She becomes the prize of war of the Lord Scarvan, but once Wolf Madraga sees her, the fatal beauty sets events of change in motion. Yani journeys with her child sister Marigoth to the city to rescue Elena. Along the way, they meet Ezratah who tries a charm spell on Yani and ends up enslaved to her. This experience changes his perspectives on things. Yani finds herself drawn into the struggle between the Seagani and Mirayans when all she wants to do is rescue her sis Λ‡ter. In addition, she must deal with a petulant sister who refuses to grow up. The also find themselves at odds with their uncle. He is trying to control destiny through them. Ms. Locksley weaves all of these threads and others into a good story with a lot of conflict.

The last element that makes this book interesting is the clash between cultures and different systems of magic. Ms. Locksley explores the theme of imperialism by a more advanced nation. With the Seagani and other natives being conquered by the Mirayans, shades of our world’s history of imperialism appear. This gets the reader to want the underdog to win. There is a difference in magical systems with the Mirayans using crystals to focus power while the Tari use the natural magic granted to them by the Life Spirit of their world, which gives a touch of an environmental theme to the book. The author works these themes subtly into the story.

The Three Sisters by Rebecca Locksley is an entertaining Epic Fantasy. Troubled characters, an action plot and a clash between different cultures and systems of magic makes the book interesting for readers. This book ends with some unconcluded plot threads, so there will probably be another book to continue the story. Rebecca Locksley is a pen name of author Jane Routely.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Review: _Out of Time_ by Lynn Abbey

A woman lives the quiet life of a university librarian in a small town when it starts to unravel after helping a battered young woman. She is thrust into a world of magic and curses, which she does not like or want a part of. Out of Time by Lynn Abbey is an Urban Fantasy and the first in a series. Readers will find the book entertaining due to a realistic character, interesting setting and action plot.

A realistic character gets the reader hooked quickly into the book. Emma Merrigan is an acquisitions librarian for a university library. Fifty years old, she lives a quiet, routine life until strange events begin. She is forced to confront a past highlighted by abandonment by her mother and discovering a strange fate has been set out for her. This brings out a strong sense of rebellion to her circumstances. Peripheral characters help or hinder Emma, but she is the main focus of the book. Ms. Abbey creates a believable character in the strong woman Emma.

Next, the interesting setting gives the book a strong sense of place and helps create suspense. The small university town with its environs is described vividly, bringing it to life. This is juxtaposed with the strange setting of the Wasteland where time flows differently and curses haunt the landscape. When Emma jumps between the two worlds, readers gain new insights from the character’s growth. Through the author’s vivid descriptions, the setting moves the plot along in interesting directions.

Finally, the action plot moves the book along at a fast pace that keeps reader wanting more. The action starts when Emma discovers Jenny hiding from her boyfriend Bran in the library. Jenny had been beaten by Bran the night before inexplicably. This draws Emma into their problems and sets off weird supernatural phenomena. When this happens, Emma discovers a box with a letter and things left by her mother. This dredges up old resentments for Emma. Also, she does not want her life to change because of these powers. Trying to help the young couple only makes matters worse. Then, Emma’s past comes back to add more stress to her problems. Emma’s coping with curses, her powers and the past are deftly woven together my Ms. Abbey into a tight story, which is a pager turner.

Out of Time by Lynn Abbey is an entertaining book with a realistic character, interesting settings and action plot. The author combines these elements into a tightly woven story that hooks readers from the beginning and takes them on a memorable journey. The first book of the Orion’s Children series ends with a small cliffhanger that promises more excitement and suspense in the next book. This is an good book for summer reading.