Fantasy and Science Fiction Book Reviews

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Polgara the Sorceress by David and Leigh Eddings

Del Rey Books., Nov., 1997.
Hardcover, 643 pages.
ISBN: 0345416627.
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Cover of Polgara the Sorceress
by David and Leigh Eddings In a world inhabited by warring Gods, proud countries ruled by kings, priests and warriors a select few Sorcerers walk the invisible world between humankind and the Gods. The most powerful Sorceress of them all is Polgara - a raven haired beauty whose tresses shine with the streak of white from her father's first touch. The daughter of the brilliant and powerful Sorcerer Belgarath and the shape-shifter Poledra, Polgara is marked at an early age for her destiny as the adversary of Torak the One-Eyed Dragon God and the guardian of the hope of the world: the heir to the Rivan throne. Polgara's life is told as an autobiography beginning with her days as a child playing with her twin sister Beldaran in their protected Vale where she begins to learn the extent of her powers from the magical, incomparably old Tree that stands at the heart of the Vale. With a distinctly feminist slant, Polgara tells the story of her life as a politician, a warrior, a Duchess, an Aunt and a powerful sorceress. Over the course of three thousand years, her life was filled with love, triumph, intrigue, magic, adventure, pain and sorrow, told with a sly humor that will delight Eddings' fans. Polgara reveals one of the great sadnesses of her life; blessed with eternal youth and beauty, she is forced to watch those she loves grow old and die - over and over again throughout her life. With full characterizations, vivid descriptions and a sometimes ironic point of view, Polgara the Sorceress is a fascinating tale of the events of this world retold from the unique and mesmerizing point of view of one of the most fascinating female characters in the fantasy genre. A fitting grand finale to a brilliant fantasy series.

Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Mercedes Lackey

Baen., Dec., 1997.
Hardcover, 432 pages.
ISBN: 0671878530.
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Cover of Four & Twenty Blackbirds
by Mercedes Lackey Tal Rufen, a constable, is deeply troubled by recent violent murder-suicides in his hometown of Haldene. Several cases have occurred in which a man kills a woman with an unusual three-sided dagger that disappears from the scene in each crime, and then the man violently kills himself. In each case the victims are those unlikely to be missed by family or friends and the women all have a musical interest or talent. Tal's superiors choose to overlook the association of the murders so he pursues his own investigation contacting constables in other cities to find out if similar killings have occurred elsewhere. Tal finds that they have and that there is a definite pattern; the killings occur for a short period of time in each town then the killer moves on. Tal notices the next likely spot is the city of Kingford so he travels there and consults the High Bishop Ardis. Unlike Tal's superiors in Haldene, the High Bishop is very interested in the cases and appoints him as her personal guard so that Tal Rufen will have all the clout necessary to run an investigation and discover who is responsible for these mysterious killings. With his new title and the help of the Bishop, with whom he is falling in love, and a bird-man named Visyr, the race is on to discover the magical killer.

This novel by Mercedes Lackey, the fourth in the Bardic Voices series, provides wonderful detail of what life is like in Alanda while also providing a compelling murder mystery involving magic. The novel can be read as a stand-alone as well. Fantasy readers will love the characters, learning the policies and life of the Priests of Alanda and Lackey's meticulous attention to details.

The Wizards of Odd: Comic Tales of Fantasy Edited by Peter Haining

Ace Books, Nov., 1997.
Paperback, 368 pages.
ISBN: 0441004873.
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Cover of The Wizards of Odd Edited by
Pater Haining The Wizards of Odd is a collection of unusual "short short" stories in the comic fantasy and science fiction genre. The collection includes well-known authors including Douglas Adams, Terry Hatcher, Ray Bradbury, Issac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. Each story also includes a complete bio of the author that includes books and stories they have written. Stories include a tale of a fearless brontosaurus hunter, a tale of the future where people volunteer to die and an amusing tale of the abduction of an earthman by a UFO and the unexpected consequences.

This "short story" collection will definitely please lovers of the humorous fantasy genre. It also serves as an introduction to the genre to those who have until now only read more serious works of fantasy and science fiction. Very entertaining.

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