Princess Alethea’s Magical Elixir

My new reviews are up at Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show!

Title: Pegasus
Author: Robin McKinley
EAN: 9780399246777

Ask me who my favorite authors are and — hard pressed as I am to narrow it down to less than twenty — Robin McKinley is always at the top of the list. She has remained stubbornly at the top position, despite the fact that I have not enjoyed her last three books. I couldn’t even finish Dragonhaven. I felt completely miserable about that one. But I refused to give up on her. I hoped that the muse would find her again, that she would wander back to Damar, or retell another fairy tale in the way that only Robin McKinley can. I wanted the gorgeous prose and complex worlds and even more complex characters that she can weave like straw into gold. I didn’t expect another Blue Sword or Deerskin, but a girl can dream, can’t she? I bought my copy of Pegasus hoping for nothing, but praying that I would not be disappointed.

I am happy to report: This is the book I’ve been waiting a decade for. (Read more…)

Title: The Osiris Ritual
Author: George Mann
EAN: 9780765323217

Once upon a time I was a series purist and completist. I needed to start with Book One of a series and go on chronologically until I came to the end (or until the author lost me in boring minutiae). Now that I’ve read my way around the library a few times, I enjoy jumping into an already-established series just to see if the author has the chops to draw me in and pull it off without my having read the first one. In The Osiris Ritual, a Newbury and Hobbes investigation, author George Mann passes the test with flying colors. (Read more…)

Title: Subject Seven
Author: James A. Moore
EAN: 9781595143044

The theme of my column this week is apparently series, or books that are some small part of a bigger whole. I dove into Subject Seven having no idea if it was book one of a series, and at the writing of this column I still have no idea. But sure as heck hope it is, because I would really like to know what happens.

From the first page of Subject Seven, author James A. Moore throws you right in the deep end. There are authors who can’t pull this off, but Moore is not one of them. The reader is too busy following the action to wonder about answering all the questions they don’t know — there will be time for that, we realize, right now we just need to get out alive. (Read more…)