The Star Realm (#1 Avalon Trilogy) by Julie Elizabeth Powell is a story that tells of how five children were transported to the lands of the afterlife to help sort out matters that could eventually lead to the destruction of our universe when an evil entity named DarkStar began to tamper with the magical creatures living in Avalon. The Star Council who look after Avalon knew that goodhearted children were needed because children are the only souls available in our world that could be counted on to believe in magic.
It seems that The Star Council are either unable, or unwilling to attempt to sort matters for themselves. Also Avalon seems to be a stopover that humans shortly go to after they have died but before they are born again. For whatever reason, instead of resembling the expected good or evil afterlife filled with once-living human souls, it is populated with good goblins, happy pixies and a good number of people who seem to despise our existence without trying to claim any connection to Earth.
I read it both before and after the last 4 or so unscheduled reviews I wrote, because although I still find myself unable to explain the whole basis for the story in a way that satisfies me, it is a book that I truly enjoyed. I suppose I have to liken the existence of Avalon to something like the existence of Narnia with its complete fairy-tale land that has some deep questionable connection to death. If you are willing to run with it, I would certainly recommend The Star Realm to read.
It basically tells of how two brothers, Dave and Ben, along with their good friends Billy, Anne and Chrissie get to have a wonderful adventure in a land that can only be a true artwork of pure imagination. Not only do they learn many things about themselves, but by the time the story’s over they have encountered memorable friends and foes who I can only hope appear again in the remainder of the trilogy.
Summoned by Rainy Kaye is a modern-day genie tale told from the genie’s point of view. Dimitri may not live in a little lamp or have any magical powers, but he is helpless to not appear at his masters side when the man might want him and is required to fulfill whatever wish the man might have. And the happy little limit of just 3 wishes? That simply doesn’t exist.
You might ask yourself what billionaire Karl Walker can actually request of his ‘useless’ servant that can do nothing more magical than show up when called for. Well what do you expect the completly controlled, unacknowledged worker for a shady, powerful rich guy to do without magic? That’s right, Dimitri is more or less compelled to commit any theft, murder or other criminal act Karl may fancy as a way to amass and protect his fortune.
Now, as Dimitri looks like and generally wants to be seen as a normal guy, he tries to lead a pretty non-outstanding, mostly unnoticeable type of life. Like most young people’s, such a life includes a relationship. A large part of this book centers on his encounters with a young woman named Syd. A couple of scenes with her might become quite sexually graphic, but I wouldn’t call the book erotica because the plot is not only centered towards sex. Its removal would change the style of writing, yet leave the plot unscathed.
This story about a man enslaved to commit actions he doesn’t agree with may sound dark and depressing, but I really enjoyed it. Even when Dimitri is forced on a cross-country road-trip with Walker’s psychotic daughter, I found it to be written so enticingly that I didn’t want to put it down.
Everville 3: The Rise of Mallory by Roy Huff is the third book in the Everville series. It picks up right where book 2 left off with Owen and his friends on Earth preparing for Christmas. The cast in Everville is trying to return to their normal lives as they recover from adventures of the last book as well.
Mallory is now raising a surprisingly powerful dragon that he intends to use for the forces of Them in their fight against The Keepers. Owen and his Everville allies know that they must prepare for a coming attack even when they are unsure of how or when it will come. Everyone must do what they can to prepare for the upcoming fight.
And it isn’t only the good who are preparing, Mallory and his minions understand that their attack would come most effectively from a new, unexpected direction. If The Keepers are almost the most powerful force in the universe, where can Mallory find someone he hopes is even stronger?
Such a gathering of strength might be avoided, but this can only be done with a great personal sacrifice. Just how much will Owen be willing to endure so that he might have a chance to save everything? For how very long? He might find that his original goal becomes abstract when it’s pitted against new, unforeseen happiness.
Everville 2: City of Worms by Roy Huff is a continuation of Everville: The First Pillar. The story follows what happens after Owen Sage first encountered Everville, the strange land/dimension that he finds himself connected to, which is inextricably linked to our own Earth.
This connection has inspired the evil forces of The Other in Between to take revenge against Everville’s human players with human agents of its own. What can Owen do when he finds out that his helping of Everville is now responsible for the sickness and even death of his own friends?
Although, it can’t be forgotten that troubles on Earth have done nothing to halt the moving forward of events that come in Everville. ‘Them’ from The Other in Between won’t stop in their quest to gather power to put to evil’s use when they see ways of doing so. And new allies gained through the earlier fights know secrets that have been protected for ages.
The City of Worms has long been used by the good beings of Everville to recycle their own excess collection of power. If the evil of The Other in Between takes control of this power, would there be any way to stop Them?
Vaempires: Revolution(The Evolutionary War) by Thomas Winship is a book about the future world. Hundreds of years from now, after the vampires have risen up to try taking control of society, and life on the planet has barely managed to endure through the nuclear wars that resulted, vampires and humans now live in virtual peace.
This may not seem right, but it has become a much cleaner and easier life for everyone largely in part due to the vampires use of synth-blood, the miracle elixir that can be drunk by vampires in place of human blood, makes them immune to sunlight, and allows vampire reproduction in having children like humans, and not killing anyone. It should be a grand new age for everyone on Earth, except for now there is the rise of vaempires.
A vaempire is a vampire who for some unknown reason has transformed into a hot-blooded creature and developed an insatiable appetite for the lifeblood of their cold-blooded vampire former brethren. Humans stand no chance at fighting against these super-vampires. And though scientists have tried, there has been no luck in developing a new type of synth-blood to placate these monsters who claim to have evolved beyond the nature of ordinary vampires. (it is why they insist on using the name vaempire with the “e”)
This tale in itself follows the young man-vampire Daniel in his efforts to save his girlfriend the vampire princess, Cassandra, who was readying for a grand birthday party celebration at the fabulous vampire palace in Central Park when the vaempires stage a worldwide attack that pulls all governments, human and vampire into a virtual standstill. Her former boyfriend Vielyn(a vaempire now, himself) is leading the attack directly against her and her parents.
Everville: The First Pillar by Roy Huff is a story of a boy (Owen Sage) who is entering college that discovers himself to have a part in a fantastic battle of good and evil that actually spanning the entire universe. Unexpectedly it seems that clubs on campus have an unexpected connection with this world that doesn’t seem real.
We become aware of The Keepers of all that is good in Everville, a land beyond the universe that is populated by the human-like fron. They strive to overcome the evil forces of Them, who stand opposite the Keepers among the Others in Between.
Owen, his friend Dante, and a collection of fellow students and professors are faced with having to discover their own powers and having to use their own courage to not only save the far away fron, but to ultimately prevent the evil of Them from reaching the Earth. Can such a thing be accomplished?
Breakthrough: The Adventures of Chase Manhattan by Stephen Tremp is a fun, modern day science fiction story. As all described seems to be practically possibly, it left me with the eerie feeling that such events could happen right now, even though many people would quickly dismiss the story as nothing more than fantasy.
Although they run together, the story seems to come in two parts; at first it is described how a small group of sinister scientists at MIT are using stolen technology to manipulate events in their favor and cause crimes, even murders at the highest levels of government. Next, we watch as Professor Chase Manhattan, from southern California, is pulled into the mess by Dr. Nicholas Fischer, who is asking Chase to prove it is not he who is responsible for the misuse of his work.
I enjoyed this book. It has the right mix of what seems real and what seems like fantasy to make me step back and look at the world in a different light. I am somewhat interested in taking a look at this Book’s sequel.
Golden Mane by SJB Gilmour (book 1 of The Adventures of Sarah Coppernick) is a fun book about a young girl learning she is a werewolf and that the world around her contains more magic than she ever would have dared to believe. This realization doesn’t only bring fun, however. She also learns that her parents whom she had been told were dead are really being held captive by the evilest of sorcerers who has plans to come after her as well.
You see, what it boils down to, is that Sarah is the rare type of werewolf called a Golden Main. This unusual type of werewolf can more easily control the magical forces than most so her potential enemies simply want to eliminate her as a threat before she’s the chance to become adept at her magical control. This is why her aunt and uncle (brown coat werewolves) have attempted to keep magical knowledge from her for as long as possible. They don’t want her probable hunters to simply pick her off when outsiders chance to notice she’s not quite human.
Although, keeping one’s very nature away from her own eyes can have it’s consequences. When standing up to a school-yard bully, Sarah finds she has begun to maul the stuck up girl before even realizing she could become a wolf. Her guardians realize the time has come where all the secrets now must come out.
Sarah is introduced to the magical world with a full load of new situations and new friends. Most importantly, she begins on the quest to save her parents. It may be a long hard road, but with the allies she now finds she has, even the dire situation appearing around her isn’t enough to make her lose her hope.As a final note here, I just have to say I love the story of Sarah’s ‘uncle’ Benjamin. How he was born fully human, yet through bravery earned the highest werewolf gift, that of the ‘Silver Shroud’ and became a werewolf himself; one with unsurpassed fighting abilities.
Birdie Down by Jim Graham is an interesting side story that takes place in Graham’s Scat universe. In 2210, rebels led by Sebastian Scatkiewicz (known as ‘Scat’) are protesting the corporate rule of space. As his team is reaching out to cause trouble on one of the worlds owned by the enemy Lynthax corporation, a ship containing the rebel and former police officer Andrew Goosen (known as ‘Birdie’) goes down and must be abandoned for the good of the rebellion.
Birdie now has the enjoyment of trying to run with/rescue a friend and college (Tillier Bing) who was hurt so that he doesn’t remember knowing Birdie, the entire rebellion he was fighting for, or even what he had claimed was his own name. If that wasn’t enough, the two of them are stuck in a swamp swarming with giant lizards and horrible spider-rat creatures so sickening that you wouldn’t even leave a hated enemy to fend with them.
For everyone who loved the first one, this book is not to be missed. As the story is slightly set aside from it’s predecessor, it should stand alone well enough, but as the two works fit together into an elaborate, well put together tail, there is no real reason to miss either one. I hear Jim has a third story in the works; I am eagerly awaiting getting the chance to read it.
Detachment Point by Paul Winters is a quick, eerie story where someone’s death in no way ends their influence upon the world. Where a wife who sees her only option left to be raising an ax against her abusive husband (Del Kenner) once his back is turned, is unintentionally setting free his primal spirit and violent impulses to possess and take command of other people’s lives.
What exactly happens when a person dies? What say Del doesn’t ‘move on’ but instead sees his chance to live again trough someone else’s body?
And then, what would happen to that possessed person?
Peter Barnett is a happily married man anticipating a possible promotion at his job in a business firm. When he suddenly starts picking up the habits and attitudes of the former auto mechanic Del Kenner, Peter’s friends just get uncomfortable, not understanding why he acts and speaks so differently.
Is there any way for things to return to normal?
As useful as it may be to suddenly gain another person’s set of skills, would it be worth suddenly finding your mind latched onto a new style of behavior?