Fantasy/SF Book Reviews

The Internet Writing Journal, April 2006

Forbidden Magic by Cheyenne McCray

St. Martin's Press, December, 2005
Paperback, 440 pages
ISBN: 031293761X
Ordering information: |

Forbidden Magic
 by Cheyenne McCray White witch Silver Ashcroft belongs to the traditional, conservative D'Anu Coven which doesn't allow its members to practice gray -- much less black magic. Originally descended from the ancient Druids, the local D'Anu coven has grown fearful of their powers and somewhat passive. Silver, who has an independent streak a mile wide, is not one to abide by a bunch of rules that she considers antiquated. When she's not working at the local bakery and store that provides a roof over her head, she assists the local Paranormal Special Forces from time to time (a division of the SFPD). And sometimes in order to catch the baddies, a little bit more firepower than simple healing herbs is in order. During a SWAT raid to recover a kidnapped girl from demons, Silver encounters a Tuatha D'Danann warrior named Hawk. Hawk has come from a parallel dimension to warn the witches about a pending invasion of the very dangerous, banished demons who are ready for revenge and to take over San Francisco. Silver agrees to work with the D'Danann, but her coven is outraged, as working with the Fae is prohibited. Silver, Hawk and a few loyal friends go up against the warlock Darkwolf, who works for Balor, the God of Death, and a frightful lot of shapeshifting demons who take over a human bodies, murder the human inside, then impersonate the hosts as they wreak havoc in the city.

Cheyenne McCray combines the magic and demon-slaying of Charmed with hard-edged police procedural elements and an erotic edge to create this first entry in a hot new paranormal series fantasy that will appeal to fans of Kim Harrison and Laurel K. Hamilton.

Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn

Warner Books, November, 2005
Paperback, 272 pages
ISBN: 0446616419
Ages 9-11
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Kitty and the Midnight Hour
by Carrie Vaughn Kitty Norville is a radio show host. She's also a werewolf, although no one knew that until a bounty hunter called into her show one evening and told her he was on the way to the studio to kill her. Apparently the local vampire boss took a contract out on her. But if there's one thing that Kitty knows how to do, it's talk her way out of a tight situation. She reveals to her listeners that she is a werewolf, makes a deal with the assassin and lands herself a job consulting with the police on a serial killer case.

Kitty's world is much like ours except for the fact that most humans try hard to ignore the fact that there are werewolves and vampires among us. Kitty, her sound engineer Matt and the assassin Cormac are all intriguing characters, but her wolf pack's alpha, Carl, is absolutely vile. Fast action and a spunky heroine make this an engaging debut of a promising new series.

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Ace, January, 2006
Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN: 0441013813
Ordering information: |

Moon Called
by Patricia Briggs Mercedes Thompson is one of the Otherworld: a group of shapeshifters, shamans and vampires who exist side by side with the normal world, but who try to avoid detection. As modern technology advances, it's becoming harder and harder for these paranormal citizens to hide. Mercedes (Mercy to her friends) is a shaman and coyote shapeshifter who makes her living as a car mechanic. She gets along with the local werewolf pack and she works on the ailing VW bush of Stefan, a local vampire. When the alpha of the local werewolf is attacked and nearly killed, Mercy becomes involved in a inter-pack and inter-species struggle over whether to "come out" as paranormals to the rest of normal society. It's a question fraught with danger for the paranormals who would rather live in the shadows than end up in a government lab being experimented on. Intrigue, magic, fast action and a likeable heroine make this a compulsively readable new entry in the growing urban fantasy genre.

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