Cassie Alexander’s debut into the world of urban fantasy comes in the form of her Edie Spence trilogy. Her real-life job as a registered nurse serves as inspiration for her novels about registered nurse Edie Spence. I am pretty certain these books are targeted at an adult readership
Choosing Edie Spence as her protagonist is probably the best move Ms. Alexander could have done. Edie isn’t afraid of a little/or a lot of blood and gore and finds that her nursing skills come in handy in her new night job. She had previously worked as a regular nurse working with regular people. To protect her drug-addict brother, Edie made the choice to sign up for hush-hush work at a hush-hush facility at County General. Remember that the next time you go to your own County General. Somewhere below-ground there just might be a secret facility catering to the health needs of the super-natural/para-normal community.
Being on the nursing staff taking care of the rather unusual clientele of zombies, vampires, shape-shifters, weres, etc. can be a bit dangerous to your health. Ms. Spence discovers this when she is present at the death of Mr. November. Because of her nature, Edie ends up looking after a vampire, being chased by a vampire and falling for a zombie. One might just say that her life became a little more challenging after her introduction to the “Other” side of reality.
Nightshifted is a fun and dark novel. Edie is a wonderful character and someone I would have liked to have met. Sometimes authors manage to make their characters seem so real and believable, the way Cassie has managed with Edie. Good job.
The cannonball bird – a predatory bird that shoots a ball out its mouth killing the victim. I guess it could be a quick death.
With The Long Earth Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter have written a tale about mankind’s continued unwise choices given a seemingly unlimited choice in worlds to live on. The funny thing, was that before reading the book I was worried. You all know that Pratchett battles Alzheimer’s and some of the reviews claimed that he had to be well on his way to no more writing. You are sooo wrong.
Pratchett’s insanity is apparent in a great many details of the book. Where Gaiman makes Pratchett’s insanity even more insane, Baxter sort of brought it all down to earth. The lion-tamer did his best to tame the lion. Two science fiction writers need to be a little insane – both apart and together – in their writing. It is part of the charm of the genre. Without the insanity, science fiction would only be fiction, and science fiction is so much more fun.
Off my soap-box and back to The Long Earth. What would happen if humans had millions of earths available to them just a few “steps” away? The Long Earth seems to give a fairly realistic picture of our choices. Because humans are so varied, we would all have different goals. What if some of us weren’t able to “step”, due to some quirk in our brains? This is where it all becomes worrisome. Humans do not handle being left out well. We are silly little buggers.
There are two people we get to know really well, Joshua and Lobsang. Joshua is a natural stepper. Lobsang is an AI supposedly blended with a reincarnated Tibetan mechanic. Together they traverse the millions of earths to find out exactly what it is that is driving trolls and elves from the long earth. Along the way we get a look at various people who have encountered the long earth in its various forms.
We humans are a fearful lot. If anything or anyone differs from the accepted norm, most of us will find some way to avoid that thing or person. Sometimes we’ll use the opportunity to bully and taunt the person exhibiting “strangeness”. The Hob’s Bargain illustrates this ability to pretend that we know how the world should be, even if that means hurting someone we love.
Aren’s (our protagonist) family is not excepted from this. They have an hereditary clairvoyant ability that sometimes expresses itself in a more magical one. That makes them fodder for the blood magicians – who feed on death. Aren’s brother was wanted as a magician by those in power, but he did not want to consequences of such a choice. Rather than have his death be used by the blood magicians, he chose to suicide.
You can imagine this has affected Aren. It seems she is beginning to experience visions, making her worry about her new husband. When the cottage is broken into, she manages to hide in the food cellar, but Aren knows something is terribly wrong.
While hiding in the cellar, Aren suddenly feels a change in the way magic feels. Something has broken, but she has no idea what – being too busy surviving, and all. From that point on Aren’s visions are clearer and the first one concerns the death of her father and husband. Turns out her whole family is gone. Now Aren has to deal with her grief, her out-of-control magic and the changes in the land and her neighbors.