tamorapierce: yellow sign showing figure banging head on desk (Default)
Well, it's been considerably longer since my earlier post promising more good book recommendations in the same week, but still I come bearing gifts. I've been having a great time of late when it comes to books!

Nancy Holzner's DEADTOWN wasn't the kind of book I'd pick up out of idle fancy, or if I did, I'd've put it down the moment I read the word "zombie." I don't do zombies. And I would have missed a thumping good read thereby. Luckily for me, I met Nancy at Robercon in Binghamton NY in September, the same time that I met the magical Deborah Blake. After sitting on a couple of panels with Nancy and sharing a meal with her, I thought I should try DEADTOWN anyway. I am so glad that I did! Victory Vaughn is a shapeshifter who hunts the demons who infest people's dreams. Victory is the scion of a long and proud line of demonhunters whose father was cut down by a really nasty one. Now Deadtown MA is where she and most other Boston paranormals (particularly those who can't pass for human, like zombies) live. They are for the most part happy to have a home in Boston--other states are not so kind to their paranormals, and a company that does medicinal research is piling lots of money into Massachusetts and New Hampshire politics so they can have paranormals declared legally "nonpersons," with no rights--up for grabs to researchers who can catch them. And Victory has a beloved young niece who is just now coming into her powers, with a mother who smothered hers. The election is heating up. Victory has been hired by a mobster to protect his dreams, against the, um, dictates? of her hot DA sometimes boyfriend. And demons are assembling outside Boston, led by a monster who seems to have a particular hate for Victory--a very, very powerful demon that's hard to detect. It's a major roller coaster ride of a read, and now I need to lay hands on the other books in the series!

If you like your fantasy a little tamer and younger, I recommend Holly Webb's middle grade quartet: ROSE, ROSE AND THE LOST PRINCESS, ROSE AND THE MAGICIAN'S MASK, and ROSE AND THE SILVER GHOST. Rose was found in a fish basket and has spent her first twelve years in an orphanage straight out of DAVID COPPERFIELD. She works hard, yearns for the day when she can be placed in a real job to earn money of her own, and has recently discovered she has the ability to project images of the stories she tells her friends onto walls and buckets. The moment Miss Bridge shows up to hire a maid for the Fountain household, she hides her strange new ability, gleeful at the chance to do the job she has always dreamed of. She finds jealousy from the maid placed above her, friendship from the boy-of-all-work, and a role model in Miss Bridge. She also discovers that she is in the house of the magician who is the king's advisor, his budding magician (and amazingly bratty) little daughter, and his magician apprentice, not to mention a very magical cat with one blue eye and one orange eye. The servants fear the magicians, and when they and Rose discover her own magical talents, things get very difficult. Mr. Fountain takes her up as a student, while magical events, and truly frightening villains, assail the household and the kingdom. The series is sweet, great fun, and just the thing for pre-teen kids and adults who love writers like Edward Eager and Diana Wynne Jones.
tamorapierce: yellow sign showing figure banging head on desk (Default)
Lately I've had read some very agreeable books, and I just had to share. Two tonight, two more later in the week.

Deborah Blake
Don't get me wrong; I've been a fan of Deborah's for years, but of her nonfiction witch's guides, published by Llewellyn Books (my favorites being EVERYDAY WITCHCRAFT and WITCHCRAFT ON A SHOESTRING--you can see why they appeal!). I only discovered her fiction this year when she mentioned it on Facebook, and I thought I'd give it a try, once I got over my aversion to the whole Baba Yaga thing.

Yes, she draws on the old Russian story cycle of Baba Yaga. She began as a goddess, according to Deborah, but when I encountered her in my endless quest for new myths and legends in grade school, she was the terrible old witch who lived in a house on chicken legs that walked through the forest. (It was the idea of that house that gave me the horrors the worst. I can't explain it.) She flew in a giant mortar and steered it with her pestle. (I keep a sharp eye on mine, just in case.) She had iron teeth and ate children. (That didn't bother me nearly so much as the walking house on chicken legs.)

Deborah's Baba Yaga has evolved with the times. For one thing, there are many of them. The United States has three. I've read about two.

Barbara Yager of WICKEDLY DANGEROUS travels the country with an enchanted Airstream trailer, doing good works for those who still remember enough of the old country to call upon the Baba for help. She has a giant white pit bull named Chudo-Yudo, who is a disguised-for-our-mortal-world dragon. And when she's called upon to rescue a vanished child, she meets a hot sheriff and sparks are struck. Something is going very wrong in his town, and although he doesn't believe it, she's just the one to help. She doesn't believe he can possibly be useful, but she can also be wrong. It's great. The romance doesn't overwhelm the action; the horror is genuinely creepy, and the fantasy is great. Any book with a pit bull, a dragon, an Airstream, and boss motorcycles is fine by me! (And I didn't even mention the Three Riders!)


In WICKEDLY WONDERFUL, we find Becka Yancy, a seaside diving and surfing Baba Yaga, who is still kinda green. The previous Baba, over 200 years old, was forcibly retired to the Underworld, after planting in her student the firm belief that she still wasn't quite good enough. (This Baba Yaga lives in a classic hippie-painted school bus, by the way, and her Chudo-Yudo is a huge black Newfoundland.) While she's surfing Becka has occasion to rescue a mermaid's child trapped in fishing net, only to incur the wrath of one of the fishermen, a war-toughened, 12-year veteran Marine. He thinks she's dippy; she thinks he's a pain. Still, she needs him--and his dad's fishing boat--when the mermaid's king and queen call upon her to find out why all of the plant and animal life in their very deep trench of the ocean has died off (which also has killed off the local fishing industry). Somehow they're going to have to work together--ideally, without him finding out what she really is. Or is that so ideal?

This is a bit more fantastical, as Becka must deal with the monarch of the Underworld, where so many of the magical people have fled to avoid, well, us. The Three Riders make a return appearance. Becka is very different from Barbara, younger and more unsure of herself, still trying to decide if she's going to remain a Baba Yaga. Blake keeps us wondering right up till the last minute on that one!

I hope you check these out! Deborah has a new, non-Baba Yaga book coming out in November, and a third Baba Yaga book in February. It's not that long for a devoted reader to wait!

Profile

tamorapierce: yellow sign showing figure banging head on desk (Default)
tamora pierce

September 2016

S M T W T F S
    123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930 

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 26th, 2017 02:35 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios