Fantasy/SF Book Reviews

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Broken by Kelly Armstrong

Bantam Spectra, May, 2006
Paperback, 444 pages
ISBN: 0553588184
Ordering information:

 by Kelly Armstrong Kelly Armstrong takes a break from Paige Winterbourne and the witches to return to the story of the only female werewolf, Elena Michaels (See, Bitten and Stolen). Elena is pregnant, which is something that isn't supposed to be possible, and her male pack is driving her crazy trying to keep her sitting at home knitting booties, where she'll be safe. But Elena isn't the type of girl to sit at home when there's an adventure brewing. When half-demon Xavier Reese offers a job in exchange for telling the pack where a dangerous rogue werewolf is hiding, Elena convinces her partner Clay and the pack that it's an easy, safe job. It's not, of course. The wolves must steal the infamous "From Hell" letter supposedly written by Jack the Ripper from a seedy sorcerer/collector in Toronto. The letter is cursed and Elena accidentally opens a dimensional portal. Soon after, plagues and a serial killer appear in Toronto. Now, Elena, Clay and the pack must find the killer, his zombie followers and close the portal once and for all. An interesting premise, emotional growth on the part of the indomitable Elena and non-stop action make this a must-read for fans of the excellent Women of the Otherworld series.

Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher

Roc, May, 2006
Hardcover, 406 pages
ISBN: 0451460855
Ordering information:

Proven Guilty
by Jim Butcher In this eighth installment of the Dresden Files, Harry Dresden takes on some very strange foes: someone has called forth phobophages, creatures that feed on the fear of humans. When they attack a horror fan convention, the result is just as gory as a scene from one of the convention's featured films. But phobophages aren't the only foes that Harry must fight. He's always been at odds with the ruling wizards of the White Council, and they're especially unhappy with him for starting a war between the Red Court Vampires and the Council. And that's not all: Molly, the precocious teen daughter of Harry's good friend and Knight of the Cross Michael Carpenter (a Knight of the Cross), is in deep trouble and has come to Harry for help. Naturally, she doesn't want her parents to know. And if there is one person on the earth that scares Wizard Harry Dresden it's Michael's wife, Charity. Harry's going to need all the help he can get to save Molly and her friend, find the phobophages, and avoid being ensorcelled by the Fae or killed by the Vampires.

The Dresden Files is going to be made into a TV show this summer on the Sci-Fi Channel, but one hopes that Jim Butcher doesn't change a thing in this pitch-perfect series, which combines magic, private detection, the fight between good and evil and a sharp, smart sense of humor. Harry is a loner: he's flawed, and he's got a dark side. But his heart's in the right place. The series has gotten more complex as it goes on, and the players seem to multiply with each book. Bob, the Talking Skull, Harry's terrifying Godmother, the various Fae, and the wizards of the White Council are all vastly entertaining players in the Harry's world. As usual, the dialogue is snappy, the magic elements are fascinating and Harry himself is a charmer. Now, if only he'd come into enough money to get himself out of that rat hole he calls a homeā€¦.

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