Friday, December 2, 2011

All these great books...who needs anything else?

Kitty's Big Trouble by Carrie Vaughn

Publishers Weekly -
Vaughn delivers a solid ninth Kitty Norville adventure (after Kitty Goes to War) for the werewolf talk radio personality's faithful fans. The opening quest to prove that General Sherman was a werewolf proves little more than a perfunctory appetizer to the real plot. A powerful vampire summons Kitty to San Francisco to keep a powerful artifact out of the hands of returning villain Roman. As Kitty, hubby Ben, and Ben's cousin Cormac tangle with preternatural creatures and Chinese gods, Vaughn keeps a good balance between upping the ante and turning Kitty and company into caricatures of action heroes. This refreshing froth of light entertainment avoids werewolf dominance clichés and obvious racial stereotypes in favor of communication, action, and adorable old-married-couple sweetness. 

The Measure of the Magic: Legends of Shannara by Terry Brooks

Library Journal -

In Bearers of the Black Staff, which takes place 500 years after the "Genesis of Shannara" series, the magic that has kept survivors of the Great Wars safe in their remote mountain sanctuary has finally failed. In this second and concluding volume of the series, two fledgling magic-wielders had better prove their worth, or thousands will die. Foolproof for fantasy lovers.

Star Wars Fate of the Jedi #8: Ascension by Christie Golden
Library Journal -
As Luke Skywalker; his Jedi son, Ben; and the Sith apprentice Vestara Khai travel the galaxy in search of the dark Force-wielding entity known as Aboleth, they explore the abandoned planets of the Lost Tribe of the Sith, bringing Vestara to a decision that will change her life forever. On Coruscant, the power vacuum left by the deposal of Natasi Daala once again awakens the old mistrust of the Jedi and exposes a conspiracy that shatters the foundations of the Galactic Alliance. Golden's latest novel, the eighth installment in a nine-volume saga that takes place 40 years after the events of the Star Wars® trilogy, brings many plot threads to the point of no return. Characters grow stronger through their successes and failures, with hints of yet another generation born attuned to the Force. VERDICT Golden's excellent storytelling captures the essence of the beloved space opera and should leave series followers eagerly anticipating the story's conclusion.

The Sookie Stackhouse Companion by Charlaine Harris
Kirkus Reviews -
After 11 novels in her Sookie Stackhouse supernatural mystery series, as well as an extremely popular TV adaptation (HBO's True Blood), Harris (Dead Reckoning, 2011, etc.) has provided her dedicated fanbase with this mostly superfluous companion work.

The primary appeal of the Companionis a new Sookie novella by Harris, "Small-Town Wedding," which finds Sookie accompanying her boss and friend Sam Merlotte to his brother's wedding in a small Texas town. Sam, a shape-shifter who can take the form of various animals, is worried about prejudice directed at his shape-shifting family now that the "two-natured" (as they're known in the series) have revealed themselves to the general public, just as vampires did in Harris' first Sookie novel, Dead Until Dark (2001). "Wedding" features a simple story that adds dimension to Harris' wider fictional world while remaining squarely focused on two of her long-running characters, and it serves as a nice spotlight for Sam and his family. The rest of the book is mostly filler, including painstakingly detailed (but completely dry) summaries of all the Sookie novels and short stories to date, as well as similarly exhaustive entries on every character, no matter how minor, who's ever appeared in the series. Those sections might at least be informative for readers who can't be bothered to check Wikipedia or fan websites, but features like the history of Harris' fan club, a selection of recipes inspired by the books and an instantly outdated interview with True Blood creator Alan Ball are almost completely useless. This hodgepodge of material will only become more irrelevant as Harris continues the series, adding narrative pieces outside of the scope of the Companion.

The previously unpublished novella is charming, but the rest of the book is for hardcore Sookie completists only.

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