Fantasy/SF Book Reviews

The Internet Writing Journal, December 2005

Running From the Deity by Alan Dean Foster

Del Rey, November, 2005
Hardcover, 255 pages
ISBN: 0345461592
Ordering information: |

Running From the Deity
 by Alan Dean Foster Philip "Flinx" Lynx and his pet mini-drag Pip have had some amazing adventures to date, but after their last outing ( Sliding Scales) Flinx is wary of so-called "vacations." Now he's searching for a super weapon left behind by an advanced species which can help him in his upcoming fight against the great evil that he empathically senses is heading towards the Commonwealth and could wipe out all living things. But Flinx encounters an unplanned delay when his AI-enhanced spaceship Teacher informs Flinx that she must immediately stop to make repairs. They land on a planet, intending to hide from the primitive inhabitants because of the Commonwealth's prohibitions against interacting with less-advanced species. The aliens on the planet are very appealing to Flinx: like him, they are empathic. Being around them is calming to him, because they don't trigger the bad reaction he gets from being surrounded by the unfiltered emotional bombardment he gets when he's around most humanoid species. Although he should know better, Flinx uses his advanced technology to heal the sick and injured aliens, which turns out to be a big mistake. Soon he's being worshipped as a God, and inciting a civil war on the planet. Flinx must find a way off the planet as fast as possible -- but the aliens have no intention of letting their new God leave.

Flinx's stay on the backward planet of Arrawd teaches him a valuable lesson: that no good deed goes unpunished. Although he's lived an amazing life so far, he is still quite young and impulsive although he does have a good heart. The descriptions of a strange new world and its inhabitants are fascinating, as are Flinx's answers to the dilemma he's created for himself. Author Alan Dean Foster has several more Pip and Flinx novels in the pipeline and has promised to explain very soon the "great evil" that's coming towards the Commonwealth. That's nothing but good news for Flinx fans, whose only complaints about the series have been the lack of new books.

Windfall by Rachel Caine

Roc, November, 2005
Paperback, 342 pages
ISBN: 045146057X
Ordering information: |

 by Rachel Caine Rachel Caine has had a tumultuous few years, to say the least. An incredibly talented Weather Warden, Rachel was one of the legions of Wardens who can control the elements and use those powers to protect humanity from the worst storms, fires and other natural disasters. They can't stop the storms entirely, but without their help, humanity would have been wiped out long ago. In the course of her job, Rachel has been attacked, killed, reborn as a Djinn, and now is restored to her human status. But she's not allowed to manipulate the weather anymore, because the Weather Wardens are very unhappy with her. So she's stuck in a job as the weather girl at a third rate TV station in Florida, playing the straight man to the obnoxious weather forecaster who is far too accurate in his predictions to be totally human. Perhaps he's getting a little magical assistance from somewhere? While she's enduring the humiliations of her new job (such as being doused with water on air as a punchline to a joke), Rachel is hit with two more problems: her divorced, down on her luck sister moves in with her, and her Djinn boyfriend is unintentionally draining what's left of her power as he fights not to turn into a monster as a result of injuries he sustained during their last adventure. As Rachel deals with these personal calamities, she also ends up right in the middle of an impending magical war that could wipe out humanity once and for all.

The Weather Warden series is one of the best urban fantasy series on the market today. Rachel Caine writes with a hard-edged sophistication and humor: her characters are complex and interesting and the dialogue really crackles with wit and humor. If you like bold and funny heroines, inventive plot lines and dialogue that sparks and crackles like a lightning storm, the Weather Warden series is a must-read.

--Claire E. White