Fantasy/SF Book Reviews

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Wilderness by Dennis Danvers

Eos, June 2000.
Paperback, 376 pages.
ISBN: 0380806460.
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Cover of Wilderness
by Dennis Danvers Alice White is not your average young woman; in fact, she's a werewolf. Isolated and alone, not even her shrink really believes that she turns into a wolf when the moon is full. Alice has taken great care not to injure anyone; she has a special cage built in her basement in which she barricades herself when the moon is full. But when Alice meets Erik Summers, a college professor and biologist, she is immediately attracted to him. The pair fall in love, but when Alice tells Erik her secret, he thinks she's nuts. Meanwhile, Erik's manipulative ex-wife has shown up and is determined to get Erik away from his new girlfriend. When Alice disappears, Erik sets out to find her and to enter a world he never dreamed existed.

Dennis Danvers, the author of The Fourth World and Circuit of Heaven, shows a different side of his talent in this novel which was written in 1991. Danvers rises above all the clich├ęs of the werewolf stories and films and creates a moving, sensitive and thought-provoking story. Part love story, part horror story, and part transformation tale, Wilderness is sure to hold your attention -- and give you a different outlook on the life of werewolves.

Wit'ch Storm: The Banned and the Banished (Part 2) by James Clemens

Del Ray, May 2000.
Paperback, 517 pages.
ISBN: 0345417089.
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Cover of Wit'ch Storm: The Banned and the Banished (Part 2)
by James Clemens In this second installment of the Banned and the Banished series, the young wit'ch Elena continues on her quest to an ancient, mysterious city called A'loa Glen where the prophecies speak of a book which holds the key to the defeat of the Dark Lord. Elena is a mistress of the blood magick, and bears the signs of her power in her hands: one hand bears the magick of fire, the other the magick of ice. But it takes many years to master the powers of blood magicks, and the lure of the magick must be resisted until the wit'ch can learn to control her power without harming others. With her companions and protectors she will face many dangers before she reaches journey's end.

The Wit'ch series is a bold, stirring epic fantasy which crackles with life and magic. The young wit'ch Elena is a compelling heroine who is an interesting mix of strength and vulnerability. The land of Alasea is vividly portrayed, as are its varied denizens: the one-armed Er'ril, Elena's sworn protector, the dryad Nee'lahn, the stalwart half-og're Tol'chuk, Mogweed and Fardale the shapeshifters, and Meric the aristocratic el'vin who wants Elena to take her place in the royal family of her people. Clemens is a bright light on the fantasy scene, and the Wit'ch series should cement his growing reputation.

Wit'ch War: The Banned and the Banished (Part 3) by James Clemens

Del Ray, 547 pages.
Trade Paperback, July 2000.
ISBN: 0345417097.
Ordering information:

Cover of Wit'ch War: The Banned and the Banished (Part 3)
by James Clemens In this third installment of the popular fantasy series, the young wit'ch Elena continues her journey to the sacred city of A'loa Glen where she must find the sacred book and find the knowledge to defeat the Dark Lord, who is threatening the entire world with his evil magick and his loathsome minions (he is especially fond of using human women to mother his grotesque flesh-eating monsters.) As Elena and her companions make their way overland to A'loa Glen, in the sea another young woman has a quest. Sy-wen, one of the sea-dwellers who bond with the great sea dragons, has inadvertently been captured by pirates while she was out for a swim with her mother's dragon. Sy-wen is drawn inexorably to one of the pirates, Kast, who has a strange tattoo on his neck, as do the other pirates. Both Sy-wen and Elena's paths are ready to converge as the old prophecies come true about a sleeping dragon who will awake, and the world's fate may very well rest on the shoulders of two young girls.

The third book in this series broadens and deepens the story threads, as the Elvin army, Elena's group and the Kast and Sy-wen's armies converge on Aloa Glen, which is held by the armies of the evil Shorkan. The characters of Elena, her protectors Er'ril and Tol'chuck the half-ogre, and of Sy-wen and the sea-dragons are all especially well-executed. The story has enough plot twists and turns to keep your attention riveted to the page, and the battle scenes are deftly rendered. The ending clearly leaves room for another sequel, which is welcome news for fantasy fans.

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