During her six years in the army, Melena Sanders faced her share of insurgents trying to kill her. But, out of the army and back in California as a student, she faces even greater dangers. When her best friend, Aniya, disappears while visiting Fairbanks, Alaska, Melena follows in an attempt to rescue her. Her problem; she is a human (or part-human) with a special gift, she’s a Sensor, a being with the ability to detect the supernaturals who walk among us, and is mostly impervious to their spells. Fairbanks is a supernatural haven, now under the control of a dangerous, power-hungry witch who follows her own rules, and who has Aniya under her control.
Darkness Haunts by Susan Illene is the author’s first book of supernatural, urban fantasy; introducing a strong, but ultimately flawed main character who has a strong sense of personal duty, the fighting skills of an Army Ranger, with her own personal angel of death, Lucas, a Nephilim, who dogs her every step. Although Lucas killed her guardian, Wanda, who was teaching her how to use her skills as a sensor, and has promised to kill her some day, he has an annoying tendency to show up and save her life at crucial moments, which leaves her dazed and confused.
Tight dialogue and riveting action greet the reader on almost every page, and the ending will leave you breathless. This is an author to watch for.
I give this debut novel five stars.
Killed during a theater audition in Beijing five years ago, Jasmine Huang is determined to know just who killed her. Everyone thinks it was her lover, Chris, but Jasmine’s not sure, and as a ‘spirit,’ she seeks the help of her dead father, Liang’s, spirit to find the truth. Jasmine travels from Beijing to Vancouver’s Chinatown in her search and slowly, the truth emerges; but it wasn’t what she expected.
Deadly Love by Wesley Robert Lowe is paranormal urban fantasy that takes the reader through time, beginning with Jasmine’s grandfather, Guy Wong, and then follows the family’s history from Canada to China and back in a madcap romp that explores the history of Chinese culture and myth and its intersection with the West.
This was an enjoyable read, but there were a number of proofreading issues that in places disrupted the reading experience. Reflecting the author’s screenwriting background, it was very visual in its impact, and as I said, enjoyable—glitches and all. I give it three and a half stars.
By Virtue Fall by Mark Wooden is an action-laden urban fantasy; a dark version of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer,’ only in this case the vampire is the hero.
Adrianna is a vampire assassin on a quest to avenge the death of her parents and the corruption of her younger sister. In order to achieve her goal, though, she must risk becoming as evil as the evil she seeks to defeat. An interesting story that combines elements of urban fantasy and history, replete with fight scenes that will appeal to cinema lovers, this book makes good escapist reading.
I received a free copy of this book. I give it a shade below four stars, rounded up.
An odd house stands at the edge of a small Ohio town. The residents use steam rather than electricity, and raise all their own food. As you might imagine, this draws the attention of their neighbors, especially an exceptionally nosy and intrusive one across the street. That, though, isn’t their worse problem—they are hiding from an evil force, the Rasmussens that is out to enslave or destroy them.
When young Will Steemjammer’s father and mother disappear, it’s left to him, his sister Angelica, and their cousin Giselle, to discover the secrets of their house, find their father and mother—as well as Giselle’s father—who have vanished without a trace.
In Steemjammer: Through the Vertgaat by John Eubank steampunk meets urban fantasy in a fantastic world that looks like it was invented by someone on some serious psychedelic substances. Excitement, humor, and more pratfalls than a Three Stooges film mark the author’s tribute to his children. Thankfully, a glossary and pronunciation guide is provided for the author’s creation of a language that’s Dutch without actually being Dutch, and a world that could only exist in an imagination that hasn’t escaped from the youthful ability to fantasize.
Follow Will and his crew through one hair-raising episode after another until you reach a conclusion that leaves you hanging on every word with awe, and anxious to pick up the sequel to see what he gets up to next.
I give this opening salvo four stars.