Friday, June 15, 2012

Great Tales that will take you on fantastical adventures are here for you @ your library

The Wind through the Keyhole: A Dark Tower Novel by Stephen King

Kirkus Reviews –

The bestselling novelist scales down his literary ambition with a return to the Dark Tower series. Though King has expanded his thematic terrain and elevated his critical reputation in recent years (11/22/63, 2011 etc.), he remains a master of fantastic stories spun from a very fertile imagination that seek to do nothing more (or less) than entertain. Some readers might be surprised at this return to the narrative that King had apparently concluded with the massive The Dark Tower (2004), the seventh book in the series. Yet rather than extend and revive the plot in this installment, he mines a seam from earlier in the series, suggesting that "this book should be shelved between Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla...which makes it, I suppose Dark Tower 4.5." He also makes a point of reassuring readers new to the series that they can start here, that the novel can be understood as a stand-alone title (with just a little contextual background, which he summarizes in a couple of paragraphs). Short by King's standards, the novel draws inspiration from tales of knighthood and Old West gunslingers, as its story-within-a-story (within a story) details the rite-of-passage heroism of Roland Deschain, who saves a terrified boy in Mid-World from a shape-shifting marauder. "These tales nest inside each other," explains Roland at the outset, as he prepares to recount a story through which its characters drew courage and inspiration from a story. If it weren't for the profanity which liberally seasons the narrative, it could pass as a young adult fantasy, a foul-mouthed Harry Potter (with nods toward The Wizard of Oz and C.S. Lewis). It even ends with a redemptive moral, though King mainly concerns himself here with spinning a yard. Will more likely serve as a footnote for the many fans of the series than a point of entry to expand its readership.

Born of Silence by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Kirkus Reviews –

Remember how Darth Vader was a good guy, sort of? Keep that in mind as Kenyon's latest space oater in The League series unfolds. The Ichidian universe is Blackwater's dream: It's a place where assassins call the shots, beg pardon, and in that setting, even the purest body of space ninjas are not incorruptible. Readers of the series, and they are many, will doubtless recall that the last volume, Born of Shadows (2012; all titles in the series are called Born of Something or Another, though so far none has been called Born of Two Loving Parents in a Stable Environment), featured a whole lot of smooching and swordplay on the part of MacGyver (or maybe, depending on who's cast for the part, McLovin) type Caillen Dagan, whose spirit looms large on the very first page of the latest: "You have got to be the biggest manwhore in the entire universe. What are you trying to do? Tie Caillen for the record on how many people you can sleep with in a single month?" So Maris Sulle badgers Darling Cruel--sorry, that's his name--at the outset of a tome that will find him beaming back and forth across the universe in his own person and that of his alter ego, who, naturally, is trying to undo all the good he's done and kill all his pals while he's at it. Who will win in this Manichean struggle between lightsaber and dark helmet? Maybe Zarya, the space vixen and fearless freedom fighter whose brief it is to prowl the galaxies looking for the man who did in her family. It's good to know that in these weird quarters, where people have funny handles and even the butchest of them is "dressed in a long flowing cloak over a black battlesuit," someone has the sensible name Arturo. Suffice it to say that Caillen cavorts, Zarya's breasts spill over the top of her battlesuit ("Yeah, he'd much rather be naked with her in his bed than deal with a bunch of egotistical assholes"), and the universe is made safe for a sequel. In space, no one can hear you scream. That's a good thing for those who love a well-written story and are trapped reading this one instead.

Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

Kirkus Reviews –

Vampires and werewolves and fairies, oh my: just another day in the life of Harris' navel-gazing southern belle. This one makes it an even dozen in the lingering chronicles of Sookie Stackhouse, but don't expect the old girl to call it a day anytime soon. Not when there are hangovers to conjure, love triangles to traverse, and enough extraneous characters in this convoluted fantasy serial to make Game of Thrones look under-populated. For the uninitiated, don't even attempt to gain entry here, even if you've seen an episode or two of HBO's more sexually blatant adaptation, True Blood. Suffice to say that part-fairy, vampire-loving barmaid Sookie remains much the same, if a bit more tedious than usual. The book opens with Sookie out on a girls' night at paranormal strip club Hooligans, uncomfortably watching her relative, Claude Crane, strip for a rowdy crowd. The night tosses a sour note to Sookie, whose relationship with vampire Eric Northman is never easy. "Just because I wasn't pregnant and wasn't married to someone who could make me that way, that was no reason to feel like an island in the stream," she says. Sookie is also justifiably anxious about the motivations of those around her, as she continues to hide her possession of the powerful magical artifact called a cluviel dor, an ancient fairy love gift. But protecting her hidden treasure becomes a secondary concern when Sookie discovers her lover at one of Bon Temp's infamous parties, drinking from Kym Rowe, a younger woman. Unfortunately Eric's bedtime snack bites it within a matter of hours, winding up on the sheriff's front lawn with a broken neck. Naturally it's up to Sookie, with some significant help from her other vampire lover, Bill Compton, to navigate the dizzying conflicts between the vampire, were and fae hierarchies to root out the cause of the girl's untimely death. A dull, overly complicated entry in the swampy gothic romance that feeds fans and starves newcomers.

Into the Dreaming by Karen Marie Moning

From Barnes & Noble –

The main character of this romance novel is a romance novelist. Apparently, budding author Jane Sillee can't stop thinking about one of her dashing he-man creations: Each night when she goes to sleep, she dreams of her trysts with a hunky Highlander. Then magically, the sleep-land romance of the libidinous novelist becomes a real possibility when she is transported back in time. Her reunion with her Highlander is, however, not without frightening possibilities. Unless Jane's loving touch can free the object of her desire, both will be stranded alone. (P.S. Long out of print, Into the Dreaming serves as the bridge between Moning's Highlander and Fever series. It arrives in an attractive package with a full-color, die-cut cover.)                                                                   Jules Herbert

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