Tag Archives: Environment

De Pierres, Marianne; Peacemaker 1 (2014)

The Peacemaker series begins with the novel Peacemaker. Peacemaker also has a first installment of the webcomic edition on De Pierres website. De Pierres has called her Peacemaker stories cowpunk, meaning they are Australian Westerns (yes there is such a thing) with possible aliens/paranormal creatures, technologically enhanced humans and animals and an environmentally challenged country. Australia has gone from having its current 500 national parks to only one, Birrumen Park. There was still an outback while Virgin’s father was alive. He started a park lobby because he saw the direction real estate developers were dragging the country in. Now, Birrumen lies, as the last of its sort, in the heart of a supercity and is surrounded by a road, The Park Esplanada. Noise, people and buildings drench the outside of the park.

Peacemaker is told by Virgin. She is our main character.  Most of her childhood has been spent with her father in Birrumen Park. He taught her to not trust anyone, least of all those closest to her, and to love the park as much as he did. Virgin is passionate about keeping the Park out of the hands of real estate developers. As long as the tourists keep coming, the Park still has a chance.

… the company scientists deemed it too environmentally fragile to handle the impact of permanent residents. Tourists did enough damage.

And we had to have tourists.

The Park saved Australia’s tourism industry and tourists save the Park. My daughter just did her BA dissertation on eco-tourism. Many places depend on tourists to stay alive, but tourists bring their own set of problems that aren’t compatible with keeping a place “untouched”. Owners of the park are forced to make concessions like the Wild West theme of Birrumen. The future we see in Peacemaker is a likely one. Humans don’t have the intelligence to control our population growth or our ecological foot-prints.

Benny, Virgin’s horse, and the Park both ground Virgin when the chaos of the city becomes too much. Both are filled with technology. Benny has been augmented with recording equipment, and endurance and cognitive enhancers. All of his augmentations send information back to Totes, the park tech, and then on to the company storage and processing centre. Birrumen has all sorts of measuring equipment to make sure the park is left as undisturbed as possible. An electromagnetic field above the park keeps unwanted people out and the view in. No human is supposed to be in the park after dark. One evening Virgin forgets her phone inside and has to go back in.

Even though I’d been ranger here for a few years, I was suddenly a little nervous. The sand and rock and palms that I knew so well during the day had taken on an eerie quality.

The company didn’t like us “on board” (their expression for being in the park) after dark – something to do with insurance. I always pushed that directive to the limit because I like to see the sunset. …

As I bent to fumble with the pump, I felt my phone underfoot. Then another sound attracted my attention – muffled voices from the other side of the semicircle of palms that skirted the Interchange area.

Voices? Impossible! I was the last person out of the south-east sector every day. Park scanners and satellite imaging confirmed it, as well as my own visual sweep.

I picked up my phone and crept towards the sound, my boots silent on the sand. There were two of them, arguing, but I couldn’t get a handle on the thread. …

A strangled cry got me running toward them, hauling my pistol free from my holster. …

But the pair had fallen down onto the sand.

I flicked my phone light on and shone it at them. Only one person was there. Blood trickled from a small, deep wound on his neck.

Impossible! There were two! …

Weirdness arrives in the form of a crow. Virgin is attacked and wounded but manages to escape. On top of that, she was supposed to pick up her new partner, Marshall Nate Sixpence, but made it too late to make a good first impression. Then, her imaginary friend from her childhood reappears, a large wedge-tailed eagle called Aquila. Virgin is certain she is going insane because she is the only one who sees Aquila. Except she isn’t. Turns out Nate can also see imaginary friends. Hmmm. Maybe they aren’t as imaginary as Virgin thinks. Nathan calls them disincarnates. Her life is turned on its head. She goes from routine to chaos, from safety to one life-threatening situation after the other. Therein lies the mystery. Virgin’s investigative journalist friend, Caro, helps Virgin many times. Her boss, Bull Hunt, Superintendent of Park Ecology, remains on her side even when the police go after her. He used to be friends with her father and has continued to take care of her.

In some ways Virgin is a loner. She certainly thinks of herself as one, but tends to gather friends because of the way she treats people: Blunt but tries to protect the weak. Some of those friends are interesting cases. Totes, the park tech, is one such. Even though he bugs her apartment, Virgin keeps him on because she believes he is on her side. Chef Dabrowski feeds her and is as much of a surrogate parent as she will let him be. She is the kind of person who does not want to be a burden to the people she loves, yet does her best to help the very same people. Her personality appeals to my Asperger.

This is my favorite De Pierres series thus far. Her writing is compelling, the story asks interesting questions, is fun, full of action, full of interesting characters and has a great female lead. Plus it’s in Australian English. So, a definite yes from me.


Reviews:


Winner Aurealis Award– Best Science Fiction Novel, 2014

Miéville, China: Railsea (2012)

“Well, no one knows,” Caldera said, “but they’ve got a sense of the possibilities. What do they say where you come from? Streggeye, you said? What do you think? Were the rails put down by gods?” Her questions came faster. Were they extruded from the ground? Were they writing in heavenly script, that people unknowingly recited as they travelled? Were the rails produced by as-yet-not-understood natural processes? Some radicals said there were no gods at all. Were the rails spit up by the interactions of rock, heat, cold, pressure & dirt? Did humans, big-brained monkeys, think up ways to use them when the rails emerged, to stay safe from the deadly dirt? Was that how trains got thought up? Was the world an infinity of rails down as well as around, seams of them through layers of earth & salvage, down to the core? Down to hell? Sometimes storms gusted off topsoil & uncovered iron below. The most excavation-gung-ho salvors claimed to have found some tracks yards underground. What about Heaven? What was in Heaven? Where was it? (Railsea, p. 181)

Certain subjects will probably interest me until I die. The lengths to which we go to justify our beliefs and avoid being wrong is one of them. We cling so hard to our philosophies that we end up with mechanised arms, like Captain Naphi, or send our navys out to get hold of two children, the way Maniniki did.

Realizing that my childhood faith was not based on facts, had an immense effect on my ability to handle the thought of being wrong. Debating an issue is now merely fun. No longer do I see other people’s beliefs as something to be feared. Some of the lies I told myself are no longer necessary.

Lying to ourselves, even if we are not aware of lying, holds us firmly in our socially accepted places. Sham Yes ap Shoorap is a brave kid. He often needs to be prompted; but by asking himself difficult questions, he manages to defy conventions and seeks answers. Answers are sometimes only found in dangerous waters, and the metaphoric waters of the railsea are indeed dangerous. The Railsea seethes with life wanting to devour anything and anyone in their paths. One has the choice between being eaten by giant burrowing owls, giant moldywarpes, giant earwigs, giant naked mole rats, giant turtles, blood rabbits, tundra worms and so on. Being on the moletrain was one thing. Going from that to his handcart was quite another.

The Railsea‘s culture is post-apocalyptic. A huge war between rail-barons and other big corporations has caused environmental damage that has lasted long enough for cute creatures to mutate into threats for humans. The heavens are only seen as a smog cover containing angels. Yes, angels. And quite scary ones, too. Scientific knowledge has more or less died along with anything resembling healthy ecology for humans. Yet people keep on messing up the ground even more, especially when greed prompts justification. Greed is a fairly common motivator for destroying our habitat in today’s world. I suppose it always has been. I admit that my own attempts at being an environmentally responsible person are inconsistent, yet I keep on trying. George Carlin has a fitting commentary on the effect humans have on the Earth. Railsea seems a fitting vision of it getting revenge.

While Railsea is indeed a young adult story, it is also very much an adult story.

Definitely recommended.


Reviews:


Railsea can be found at Amazon


Translations:

Helgadóttir, Margrét: The Stars Seem So Far Away (2015)

Cover artist: Sarah Ann Langton
Cover artist: Sarah Ann Langton

I am glad Ms. Helgadóttir asked me to review her book, The Stars Seem So Far Away. Its completion left me feeling weepy and I have been trying to figure out why that is.

How much loss can we endure before we decide that death is for us? I have never truly been alone. Somewhere, within my ability to contact them, have been people I have cared about. I am 50 and both my parents and all of my siblings are still fairly intact. My husband and my children are close, both geographically and emotionally, to me. In each of Ms. Helgadóttir’s stories we meet people who have, or think they have, lost all who they cared about.

When we meet Aida, she is in her early teens and on her way to becoming all alone once again. Her father and mother had died and her brother had disappeared during the plague. Another caretaker turned up, but he is also dying. We meet her grief and her decision to try to survive.

Could I keep from losing a sense of decency in my interactions with other humans in a world where those I encountered were likely to kill me? Nora did and her choice makes all the difference in a world where survival is, at best, a chancy thing. I loved her handling of the piracy situation that arose.

How do you reintroduce yourself to humanity if you have been alone for years? Bjørg has had to manage on her own with her isbos as her only company for some time. Her living conditions have been far superior to those of the other characters. Yet her mission, as set by her father and the Commander, has been traumatizing for her. Somehow she has muddled through it all. Finally, she is unable to do her “duty” yet another time, and that brings the soldiers of Svalbard into her life. Going from a solitary life to one filled with people (even if there are only four others) changes everything for her.

Loss of parents, siblings, children and friends are all losses that our characters experience. Loss of home and safety in a world where the only surviving animal seems to be human is another factor that adds to their burdens. Most plants are gone and the environment makes life difficult, or impossible, in most of today’s temperate zones. Ms. Helgadóttir’s future is entirely believable.

Tying her short stories together in the manner that she has was well done. Her prose is lovely and her portrayal of the Nordic is well done.

Definitely recommended.


Reviews:


The Stars Seem So Far Away available at Amazon here (UK) and here (US)


A copy was given to me by the author


Svalbard Global Seed Vault

2013: Melting Sea Ice Keeps Hungry Polar Bears on Land

Jay, Stacey: Dead on the Delta (Annabelle Lee I) (2011)

Dead on the Delta - Stacey Jay
Cover art by Elena Dudina; Cover design by Lisa Litwack

Annabelle Lee is a mess. Her PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) started while she was recovering bodies after Hurricane Katrina. At that time her intake of alcohol increased. Then, while Annabelle was holding her, her sister died from an allergic reaction to fairy bites. At this time Annabelle discovered she was immune to fairy venom. Survivor’s guilt hit her hard (with a lot of help from her parents) and substance abuse became a reality. Like all addicts, Annabelle is having trouble admitting that addiction is a fact.

PTSD stinks. I have had to work my way through my share of it and have known plenty of people who fight its insidious web. While it gets better with time and the right kind of therapy (and often medication), PTSD never quite goes away. Every once in a while a memory clobbers my gut, and I find myself having to work my way through it again. Annabelle has a lot of memories and pictures stuck in her mind and new ones are added to it due to her immunity.

Being immune to fairy bites means that Annabelle functions as a CSI at body sites. Non-immune people have to put on an iron protective suit so they won’t get bitten by the fairies. That takes time and suits are limited in how well they protect a person. So immune people are used for difficult and time sensitive jobs. Bodies and the hot and humid swamps of Louisiana do not go well together. Children’s bodies are no exception. Self-medication becomes a must for survival for Annabelle. So does figuring out why on earth Grace’s body was dumped outside the protective iron fence around Donaldsonville.

Dead on the Delta by Stacey Jay was a fascinating read about serious issues. Immensely serious. Dead on the Delta was also a fun mystery with plenty of mayhem occurring on its pages. Annabelle Lee was a delight. Her compatriots were as eccentric as she, and her non-compatriots were just as fascinating. If the real Donaldsonville is filled with people like the ones in Dead on the Delta, it must be an interesting place to live.


Reviews:


Dead on the Delta available on Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Indiebound


Cryptome (2005) Recovery crews after Hurricane Katrina (Warning: Graphic pictures)

Morgan, Clayton: The Inquest of Incest

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Substance Abuse

Singer, Merill (2010) Environmental Health in Donaldsonville, Louisiana; John Harvey Lowery Foundation

Augustin, KS: Collateral Damage (2013)

collateral damage
Cover art by Sandal Press

Collateral Damage is an erotic space opera short-story with little emphasis on the realities of space and more on the story between the two characters Meyal and Waryd. The only realistic bit about the Science Fiction lies in the state of the Earth. So, your reason for getting this story would have to be to see what develops between Meyal and Waryd and the story of how big corporations might treat their employees.

Do I believe a large corporation might kill its employee to get out of financial obligations? Hell, yes!!! If there is one thing I have come to realize, it is that the leadership of big corporations will sometimes be so concerned with the financial status of their shareholders and possible deniability that the sky is the limit when it comes to potential nefarious deeds.

Meyal and Waryd both seem like people who want to take care of their families and earn a bunch of money in the doing. Not being supposed to know about the other person and definitely not being allowed to communicate with each other probably only adds spice to their romantic relationship.

The ending of the story leaves me understanding that there is more to come in the future. According to Augustin’s web-site, Collateral Damage could be said to be the origin story of her other work. Collateral Damage was a pretty good story.


Reviews:


Collateral Damage

  • ISBN: 978-0-9873174-3-8
  • ASIN: B00B0NOYGW

Heppe, Matt: Eternal Knight (2011)

Eternal Knight
Cover by Ken Hendrix

Matt Heppe has a couple of places you can reach him. One is his blog and the other is on facebook.

Hadde and the rest of her village, Long Meadow, live within the area of “The Wasting”. The Wasting is a mysterious condition that seems to afflict all life – plants and animals. For some reason the world is wasting away, leaving the land barren. While out hunting one day Hadde and her two companions discover an impending raid upon their village. They manage to send warning and thwart the invaders. One of the invaders has silver eyes that fade to black upon death.

Map Eternal Knight
Map by Steve Sanford

Hadde struggles with the village’s decision to slaughter their horses for food, and she goes hunting in hopes of finding food. A stag turns up that she follows. Hadde is led to a spot in the forest where the Wasting has somehow not taken hold. In this living space Hadde finds a gold pendant that bears the symbol of the goddess Helna.

All this sends Hedda to Salador for help for her village, whether it be temporal or magical. Along she brings Belor and their horses. Tragedy and adventure awaits.

Life is filled with difficult choices and tragedy. Pain seems to be part and parcel of life. Hedda is about to experience a lot of pain. Some of that pain is due to choices she makes while some of the pain is due to the choices of others. How she deals with death, violence, betrayal, friendship and love shows the kind of person she is. Like all of us Hedda is neither good nor bad but a combination of both. Finding her place in the world and discovering who and what she is creates dangers for her but also opportunities and growth.

I liked Hedda. She seemed so normal in an epic fantasy sort of way.

Eternal Knight seems to be targeted at anyone from young adult age and up.


Reviews:


  • Paperback: 306 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 16, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1461009839
  • ISBN-13: 978-1461009832
  • ISBN: 9781452428444
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.8 x 9.2 inches

Warburton, Carole Thayne: Poaching Daisies (2013)

Cover design by Amy Orton at Walnut Springs Press

Poaching Daisies is set in the small tourist town of Silver Gate about one mile outside of Yellowstone park.

Carole Warburton’s love of nature shines through her writing in this mystery about Penny, the ranger, who finds herself in a great deal of danger when she stumbles upon a dead bear (and because she will not leave well enough alone).

Penny’s aunt Iris is the epitomy of the fanatical environmental conservationist. Keeping the eco-system of Yellowstone intact is of prime importance to her and she makes herself quite unpopular with those whose beliefs are not as fervent as her own.

What we have here is a regular old who-dun-it mystery. Yellowstone park is presented in all its glory and makes this reader want to visit it.

Colfer, Eoin: Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl II
Artist: cat-cat (Catherine Wu)

I started reading Artemis Fowl  to my oldest son until he got into the whole reading thing himself. Once there, he took over and went through the books below. After I’d thoroughly brainwashed him, I set out to do the same with my youngest – first by reading to him and then through audiobooks. Audiobooks are a miracle for dyslectics. A dyslectic brain is just as brilliant as any other brain, it’s just the whole sorting letters into the right order thing that baffles them. Needless to say, I managed to convert my youngest as well. You’ve probably guessed by now that I’m a fan of Eoin Colfer’s creation of the less than legal character of Artemis.

Artemis Fowl II is the main character of Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series. Artemis is a teenage criminal mastermind on the lookout for enough gold to restore his family fortune. He considers himself fairly wicked, but as the series progresses we see that there is plenty of good deeds to balance the bad. My kids loved all of the tricks he played on both his friends and enemies. We have not read it yet, but the conclusion to the series was released in July 2012 – The Last Guardian.

ARTEMIS FOWL (2001)Young Readers Choice Award 2004

Artemis Fowl Chinese cover
Chinese cover

Eoin Colfer begins our journey into the world of Artemis Fowl II in the novel Artemis Fowl. Some of the characters we meet will appear in all of the novels while some of them we’ll only see in a few of them. His faithful bodyguard, Butler is one of the characters that will appear again and again.

Artemis is 12 years old. His father is an Irish crime lord, Artemis Fowl, who has disappeared. Through research Artemis thinks he can prove the existence of faeries and when he tracks down The Book of the People he has his proof.

Artemis decodes the book – only natural for someone of his genius – and travels the world looking for locations for a magic-restoring ritual. They discover and capture Captain Holly Short who is out restoring her magic. Holly is then brought to Fowl mansions. The faeries are not pleased with Artemis and sends a crack team (LEP) to recover her.


A graphic novel adaptation was released in 2007. A film adaptation was reported to be in the writing stage in mid-2008, with Jim Sheridan directing.


AWARDS:

  • W. H. Smith Book Award
  • British Book Award
  • Whitbread Book of the Year Award: Shortlist
  • Lancashire County Library Children’s Book Award: Shortlist
  • Bisto Book of the Year: Shortlist
  • New York Times Best-Selling Series
  • Massachusetts Children’s Book Award Master List (2003)
  • Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books Blue Ribbon Award (2001)
  • New York Times Best-seller
  • Publishers Weekly Best-seller
  • Texas Lone Star Reading List (2002-2003)
  • Book Sense Best-seller
  • USA Today Best-seller
  • ALA Popular Paperback for Young Adults (2002)
  • Garden State Teen Book Award (2004)

THE ARCTIC INCIDENT (2002)

Disney; Reissue edition (April 27, 2010)

In The Arctic Incident, Artemis is a year older (13). We once again meet Butler, Captain Holly Short and Commander Julius Root.

Artemis is set up to take the blame for supplying contraband to goblins. When Artemis and Butler defeat the real baddy, the LEP decides to help Artemis recover his father from the Russian mafia. The rescue group is ambushed by goblins.

It becomes apparent that Opal Koboi of Koboi laboratories is involved somehow, leaving it to Artemis and Holly to figure out how to save the day – both for Artemis’ father and the LEP.


A graphic novel adaptation was released in 2009.


Book Magazine Best Book of the Year 2002


THE ETERNITY CODE (2003)

Cover art by Rowein

The story in Eternity Code happens shortly after the Arctic Incident. While Artemis has changed somewhat since the first book, he still loves to scheme and steal from the fairies. Artemis has created a supercomputer which he calls the “C-Cube”. It gets stolen and in the process Butler is killed. However, Artemis comes to rescue – along with a bit of fairy magic.

Artemis convinces the fairies to help him recover the Cube and they agree – but with one condition. Artemis is to be left with no memory of the fairy world.

THE OPAL DECEPTION (2005)

“Opal Koboi and her assistant” by Jisuk Cho

Our lovely Opal Koboi (from The Arctic Incident) has gotten away from the asylum where she was being held by the LEP.

She then sets out to revenge herself on Commander Root, Captain Short, Artemis and Butler.

Holly is desperate for help and turns to Artemis – against the wishes of the LEP. The only problem is that Artemis is left with no memory of the fairy world.

While Artemis likes to think of himself as someone who chooses to do bad, it turns out he is a softy after all. He is still full of trouble and deviousness, but it is difficult to come out of reading the book and not liking Artemis. Mulch provides all the laughs a kid could need.

THE LOST COLONY (2006)

“The Lost Colony” by Tanya Roberts

Artemis and Butler are demonhunting. He is somehow able to predict when a demon materializes. This comes to the attention of our trusted Foaly. This brings Holly and Mulch (who now have their own PI business) into the story.

In the meantime, there is trouble on Hybras (demon island where time is nonexistent). However, it seems that the spell holding Hybras in stasis is fraying and an answer to the problem is needed. Bullying is a favorite pastime, and No1 is one of the victims. He is convinced to come to the human world.

Right now, its glaringly obvious that everyone is going to meet – probably with a huge bang somewhere. The Artemis series does have a habit of loads of action and humor. Thankfully Colfer is keeping up the good work.

THE TIME PARADOX (2008)

The Time Paradox by Brittany

When Artemis’ mom contracts a fatal disease, Artemis turns to the fairies for help. Unfortunately the only cure to the disease is through the silky sefaka lemur of Madagascar. It is extinct. The last specimen was killed 8 years ago with the help of Artemis. Talk about the past coming back to haunt you.

Through lies and deception, Artemis gets the fairies to help him time travel. The goal is to save the lemur – hopefully for good. Holly and Artemis go back in time and need to avoid their younger selves.

Everything has a price, so too Artemis’ lies to Holly. Colfer portrays this rather well. He also brings up the issue of the cost of abusing our environment. I find myself wanting to preach here, but The Time Paradox does a much better job of illustrating the issue.

THE ATLANTIS COMPLEX (2010)

Cover art by iesnoth

One of the consequences of The Time Paradox is that Artemis is left with a clearer sense of responsibility toward the environment.

When Artemis unveils the Ice Cube – an invention to stop global warming – the fairies discover that Artemis has developed something called Atlantis Complex (including OCD, paranoia and split personality). Artemis has a break-down during the presentation. Holly and Mulch are left taking care of things, while Artemis is dealing with his episode.

In the meantime, Butler is on an adventure in Mexico. Artemis tricked into travelling to help Butler’s sister. Turns out it was a good thing after all.

Whates, Ian: City of a Hundred Rows

Although Ian Whates has writing experience, City of a Hundred Rows is his debut into the industry of novels.

CITY OF DREAMS & NIGHTMARE (2010)

Cover art by Greg Bridges (Incredible artwork)

Chance brought me to the city of Thaiburley and the street-nick named Tom. Sometimes chance is a wonderful thing and sometimes it isn’t. In this case I found myself liking the writing of Ian Whates and wanted to read the next book of the trilogy.

Thaiburley is a city built in tiers – one hundred of them. At the bottom we find the City Below (often called City of Nightmare by its denizens) and the poorest of the population. Wealth increases as one ascends, until one hits to the top layer – the Upper Heights. This is where the angel-like demons are supposed to reside.

The first two people we meet in City of Dreams & Nightmare are Tylus, our newly-minted Kite Guard, and Tom, our young street-nick. Tylus is out patrolling for the night, while Tom is climbing the many layers of the city so he can get to the top and steal a demon egg. Both stumble onto the apparent murder of a council-man. Thinking Tom is the culprit, Tylus chases him and sees Tom fall off the side of the building. Action-packed from the very beginning.

The adventure continues through the whole book. Tom is chased by the authorities for his assumed part in the murder of councilman Thomas. While running, Tom meets up with Kat – survivor of the Pits (like Rome’s Colosseum). In spite of her young age, Kat is an incredible fighter. Tom on the other hand is very good at not being seen. Both skills will come in handy during the story, because this novel is for the most part about trying to survive against the odds. The baddy of the story, councilman Magnus, sends off his assassin Dewar to tie off Tom. Dewar is another incredible fighter. He has absolutely no qualms and often likes to play with his victims.

Do I recommend this book. I’ll say definitely. City of Dreams & Nightmare was an easy and fun read. Ian Whates certainly knows his craft, and as a reader I always delight in such authors.

CITY OF HOPE & DESPAIR (2011)

Cover art by Greg Bridges

This second installment in the trilogy City of a Hundred Rows is as fun to read as City of Dreams & Nightmare was. Once again, we get to meet Tom, Kat, Dewar and Tylus, but this time in different combinations.

Thaiburley’s strange power is failing. The Prime Master sends Tom off to discover the source of the great river Thair in hopes that he will find out just what is causing the failure. Ironically, Dewar the assassin is sent along to protect Tom and his companions. There is no way Ian Whates is going to let this journey be a peaceful one, and we are not disappointed. Here too, are plenty of survival struggles.

Kat, in the meantime, remains in the City Below. There The Soul Thief is killing off people with “talent”. In addition to the Soul Thief the gangs of the under-city are changing, both in structure but also in behavior. This change in gang-life makes life more interesting for Kat, her sister and the Tattooed men. Kat is a great character and her adventures in this book are pretty intense.

Tylus, our Kite-Guard, is sent to the under-city to make something of the City Guard there. Automatically, we know that he is going to have his work cut out for him.

City of Hope & Despair is as much fun as City of Dreams & Nightmare. I like the fact that these books are action-filled and lacking in the gooey factor. Both books deliver what they promise – good old-fashioned adventure. Ian Whates is definitely on my author-plus list.

CITY OF LIGHT & SHADOW (2012)

Cover art by Greg Bridges (Breathtaking)

Maybe the bone-flu is not all it seems to be. As City of Light & Shadow begins, we get a glimpse at what might be the reason behind the disease.

Tom has reached his goal and is left trying to assimilate information in amounts he has never had to before. For such a curious soul, this must be a gift – although a double-edged one. Thais is not exactly what he expected in a god, but how are gods supposed to be anyways.

Dewar wakes up, clearer-headed than he has been in a long time. He knows exactly what he wants to do next. It’s time to go home and take care of some unfinished business.

Kat and her Tattooed men have not given up on getting the Soul Thief. With Tylus and some of his men, they set off into the Stain to kill it.

All the stories come together and we see clearly how they all have something to do with Thaiss. Ian Whates tells an action-filled story, one that kept me reading. City of Light & Shadow is a fun and easy read, just like the other two. The ending left me wondering if this was indeed going to remain a trilogy. Hmmm. In a sense there was closure. On the other hand I was left hanging a bit. Hmmm. Oh well, I like it when authors do that to us readers. It’s kind of cruel, but also a lot more fun for me (kind of). I’ve really enjoyed my journey into the City of a Hundred Rows.