Two Informal SF Reviews
As part of my Internet Technologies class, I'm being forced to "contribute to the body of knowledge on the web". As I considered what it is that I know enough about to write something moderately interesting, I kept coming back to books. One thing I do a whole lot of is read. So I decided to do a book review or two. This review will be informal (i.e. no ISBN's, etc) because I don't feel like taking the time to look up an acceptable formal review format.
The two books were chosen by the completely scientific method of picking the first two I found on the floor.
Barbara Hambly's Those Who Hunt the Night
I don't like vampire books, really I don't. And yet I loved this book and attempted to run out and buy the sequel in hardback as soon as I finished this one.
The book is set in a Victorian London where vampires actually exist. Professor James Asher, a former spy, is drafted by the London vampires to find out who is killing them in their coffins. To get his cooperation, they threaten his wife Lydia. Neither Asher nor Lydia takes threats well, so as they search for the vampire killer, they also attempt to find out enough about the vampires to have some bargaining power. I especially liked the way Lydia was an active partner in the investigations, not just somebody to be protected.
Katharine Eliska Kimbriel's Night Calls
I loved Katharine Kimbriel's Nuala books and was disappointed when she didn't publish anything for a long time. Finallly, she has a new book out that's very different in style from the Nuala books, but equally good. Allie lives out in the country sometime in the 19th century. In Allie's world, all the myths have a basis in fact, like, well, vampires, as well as werewolves and assorted unpleasant creatures from the traditions of the settlers in that part of the country. Luckily, there are also human practitioners of magic that that can act as protection against these problems. Night Calls follows Allie as she learns to be one of these practitioners. The setting isn't as original as in the Nuala books, but the characterization was excellent. I hope there will be sequels showing us more of Allie's life.
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