The June 2005 Locus features interviews with writers Margo Lanagan and Cecelia Holland, a report from this year's World Horror Convention and US and UK Forthcoming Books listings through March 2006.
Some news which caught our eye: --Simon R. Green sold his seventh, eighth, and ninth "Nightside" novels to Ace. --Margaret Mahy sold post-apocalyptic science fiction MADDIGAN'S FANTASIA and two more books to Faber. TV rights have sold to the BBC. --Rachel Lee's SHADOWS OF DESTINY, conclusion to her Ilduin trilogy, sold to Luna via Helen Breitswieser of Cornerstone Literary. Leslie Wainger will edit. --Sarah Monette handed in KEKROPIA to Ace. --The new animated film of HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE will have its English-language UK premiere at the 2005 World Science Fiction Convention in Glasglow. --There are a lot of authors (or maybe saying publishers is more accurate) continuing to jump on the LKH-inspired bandwagon. Patricia Briggs, Keri Arthur, and Lyda Morehouse will have witch/vampire/werewolf type series coming out in the next year or so.
The story opens with Sookie's brother Jason going through his first change after being bitten by a werepanther. This is against the background of someone killing weres in Sookie's town. Sookie gets caught up in the mystery because of Jason and because she knows some of the other victims.
In addition, this book continues the story arcs that are related to her various relationships. I found the continuation very satisfying, but much of the byplay might be frustrating to someone who is not reading the books in order; the relationship aspects don't allow this book to be stand-alone read.
One other thing--Harris gave a nod to one of her other series. Lily Bard showed up in this one married and part of a husband-and-wife detecting team.--Shelley
Jim Butcher's DEAD BEAT -- Still No Romance (Linda)
How long is the Dresden Files series going to go on? I see no end in sight as far as the story itself goes. Happily, I'm not disappointed in this. :-) DEAD BEAT, the seventh volume in the series, starts out a year after BLOOD RITES.
I'd been left wondering if a romance would occur between Harry and his friend Karrin Murphy, the head of the police department's Special Investigations. Karrin is one of the few humans who knows just what kind of monsters are running around. But a year later, no headway has been made, so no wonder Murphy has decided to go on a vacation with someone else--someone who is not very safe. Kincaid. And Harry is left to water her plants?!
It does give him a jealous jolt but then his mind is jolted back again when Murphy's career and life are threatened by Mavra, a very powerful sorceress and vampire whom he'd thought destroyed in the last book. She is willing to leave Murphy alone as long as Harry brings her "the Word of Kemmler." The trouble is, he's not the only one looking for it.
Like all of Jim Butcher's other books, there is never a dull moment in DEAD BEAT. It's full of action and surprises. And I just like Harry; his sense of humor and honor make him the perfect hero. Harry's personal life has grown with the addition of the puppy, Mouse, that has now grown huge (I'm anxious to find out just what this dog will turn into) and the addition of his half brother, Tommy, to the household. Tommy is having trouble adjusting to a normal life as he has the blood, from his father's side, of a vampire of the white court.
I'm happy--and surprised--that I'm still enjoying this series so much. One reason may be that Jim Butcher is a pro at portraying his paranormal creatures. If you think LKH has the fae characterized well in her Merry Gentry series, you should meet Butcher's Queen of Air and Darkness. The cruel, powerful, cold, alien feeling you get from her makes you hope you never meet a fae. But, alas, Harry has a close call with a romance but that's all I'll say. :-) Murphy doesn't come back til the end, so we'll have to see what happens in the next book. Unfortunately, that means there's not enough romance to be considered romantic SF, but it's still a great book! Highly recommended.--Linda
The story is told mostly from the point of view of Lord Ingrey, a kings' man who is sent to retrieve Lady Ijada, a woman who has killed the King's heir while he was in the act of raping her. During his investigation, he finds that the prince was using a powerful ancient shamanistic spell to take on the spirit of an animal, and during the rite, as Ijada killed him, the spell went wrong and the leopard's spirit entered her instead. Ingrey can sense the spirit in her because he carries the spirit of a wolf--a burden in a society that has supposedly rooted out the old ways and killed those who tried to maintain them. On their journey to the kingdom's seat, Ingrey falls in love with Ijada and must find a way to save her from execution for the murder of the prince.
And this is just the beginning of the story.
Bujold is very good at building her worlds, and this one has very intricate religious and political layers. As always, she has crafted a gracefully written, intricately plotted and ultimately satisfying fantasy novel. It's a page-turner.
Saying all that, I must admit that for me there is something missing in all three of the books in her fantasy series. I find her Vorkosigan universe much more believable (if no less fantastic). I'm not sure why this is. Maybe it is the freedom that the sf genre gives her that the tropes of medieval fantasy don't. There's just something missing. And it's not that I want another "Miles" adventure--I'd be perfectly happy to have her concentrate on another character on Barrayar, with Miles on the periphery. The best way I can compare is to say that I enjoyed "Hallowed" very much, but it won't go on my keeper shelf, where reside every one of the (dog-eared from re-reads) Vorkosigan books.--Suzanne