In Our Books
THE LAST INCARNATION Book One of the Ascension by J.A. Giunta
Brick Cave Media, 367 pp, $14.95
In Book One of the Ascension, we are introduced to Barr, the adopted son of a former mercenary turned trapper, living in the forest. Here they are far from human civilization
and the prying eyes of the Guardians who might take exception to Barr beginning to develop magical abilities and visions. As Barr gets older, he lives for a while amongst a nearby community of elves. From the elves, he receives magical training and bonds with two animal companions. Throughout the book, Barr genuinely tries to use his magic to help others to right wrongs. In doing so, it seems that Barr draws conflict at every turn. As Barr journeys to avenge his father’s death, he is joined by companions who are neither whom nor what they seem. There are greater plans in motion--
for the gods of Taellus have an interest in Barr and his companions. Although only a certain amount of influence can be exerted in the world--it does appear that someone is cheating. Throughout the book, Barr’s visions
and the upheavals in his life can be somewhat confusing--introducing new plot twists suddenly. However, it does give you great sympathy for Barr, who experiences the visions as if he were living them. As you progress, it all becomes clear. In his forward, Giunta explains the journey he’s traveled with The Ascension trilogy and that The Last Incarnation is actually a re-write; an unusual situation when book three is still in draft form. Giunta also indicates that book two will be rewritten, as well. This should not discourage readers--you will definitely want to find out what happens! -- Reviewed by Valerie Deaton
THE LEGIONS OF FIRE (THE BOOKS OF THE ELEMENTS) by David Drake Tor Books 2011; $12.99
This is a well written book and if you like the history of ancient Rome with
a swirl of Greco- Roman and Norse mythology, this is one you will enjoy. That said, I had trouble getting into the book. Normally I will give a book fifty pages to grab my interest and the first fifty-three
pages of this one was spent setting up the the Carce universe and introducing the characters. There is an evil mage who is trying
to bring evil beasts from the Otherworld to destroy Carce and there is a Roman Senator, his disjointed family, the son of a gladiator with his mentor, who are trying to save their world. From the visions that took over during a reading of his epic poem by the Senator’s to the end, there is political intrigue and twists and turns. Their world is saved and the scene is well set for the next book in the series.
-- Reviewed by Jean Goddin
TIME CONQUERS ALL PJ Hultstrand $14.95, 286 pp.
Local Arizona author, P.J.
Time Conquers All, is the first book in her Chasing Time series.
Sci-fi, with a touch of romance delights readers as they enter her world.
Lurking in the jungles of Vietnam,
Parker finds more than the enemy hiding amongst the swampy foliage. He discovers a way to travel through time. With his modern day knowledge and skills, it takes him no time at all to set himself up as king in the distant past. Even then, war looms on the horizon,
and two countries align themselves against a common enemy. King Parker refuses to share the technology that has kept his country safe without knowing the other country will keep his secrets.
There is only one way to assure a long-term relationship--Marriage. It is decided, young Princess Tamea and Parker’s younger brother, Prince Walker, will wed and unite the two countries. Princess Tamea is not your ordinary
princess. She is commander of the army, and it’s not an honorary title. The young woman has earned it. Add talking to animals to her formidable fighting skills and you have a woman who won’t marry simply because she has been ordered to do so, and she knows Prince Walker is not the man for her. The man she dreams of in strange and frightening futuristic dreams is none other than King Parker. ~~ Melanie Tighe is the manager of Dog-Eared Pages Used Books 16428 N. 32nd Street in Phoenix and a lifelong lover of books. Visit her at dogearedpagesusedbooks.com
or stop into the store.
CHANG CHENG: THE MISTERY WITHIN by Fernando Bascunan, Jr.
This engaging Young Adult story was this 46-year old Musician, Doctor, Inventor and Businessman’s first novel. It managed something even my favorite authors have not been able to do lately: It kept my
attention thoroughly enough that I actually finished the entire book! The main protagonists are two eleven
year old boys: One a Beijing native, Min. The other is an American boy called Sam. During a sight-seeing trip to Chang Cheng (what the author claims to be what the Chinese call the Great Wall), they get separated from the adults and what happens to them is a rather interesting (for us) and exciting (for them) adventure WITHIN The Wall.
During this adventure, they encounter and
deal with such things as Boar-Hounds with glowing red eyes, some Zombie/Vampire hybrid type humanoids, a Dragon, an evil Sorcerer and the “ghost” of a ghost! In order to get out of The Wall and return to their families, they must break a curse that keeps the 2500-year old souls of the people who built The Wall “alive” within this Wall. The chapters alternate between the boys
and their adventure and their parents who are worried beyond sick and frantic, at not knowing where their beloved children are or even if they are all right. There is, of course, a massive police search headed by Chief Tao, whose grandson disappeared without a trace and was never found a year or so before this incident. The writing, in my opinion, is very
basic and not always very fluid. However, Mr. Bascunan creates characters you can believe in and at least sympathize with, if not actually like; then he puts them in an original (to me, anyway!) story. I will definitely keep my eye out for his next novel and would like to see if and how his writing style progresses. This book, again in my opinion, is very
much worth the read. -- Reviewed by Nyki Robertson Crosby.
THEIRS NOT TO REASON WHY: A Soldier’s Duty by Jean Johnson Ace Books, New York, 2011. Mass Market Paperback, 422 Pages, $7.99
Imagine a frightened teenager presented with a true view of her civilization in ruins, three-hundred years in the future. Her choices are to either curl up in fetal position and go mad, or to see if there was something she could do about it .She discovers that she can see branch points where the future can be altered. She examines the different ways of acting. Warning people would be ineffective as she would not be believed. The only method she can see that would work is that she must do it herself. She must become the great leader who will create a strong unifying force which will in three-hundred years, prevent the descent into chaos. She can create the path. She decides that the only way to
do this is to initially become a great military leader. To this end, she enlists in the Terran United Space Force Marines. The book covers her training and her first deployments, up to her field commission as a lieutenant. The book abounds with interesting characters and compelling action. The main character has just one name, Ia (pronounced eeyah). She is astonishingly strong and determined at the age of eigheen when she travels to Earth to enlist. Quite unlike the earlier terrified fifteen-year old we met at the beginning. She has reached accomodation with the cruel choices she must make to reach her goal. If she tries to save all of her loved ones, she fails to stop the doom. She can save some, but not all. Another interesting character is Drill Sergeant Tae, who gives impossible orders and nearly kill Ia. His true goal is to produce marines who will surrvive. Her fellow recruits are well drawn and interesting. The other training offices come across as real people. Then there are the meddling Feyori,
beings of energy, whose Great Game threatens mankind’s survival. Ia’s father was an embodied Feyori, thus explaining her precognitive powers. Ia meets another pretending to be a human psychic working for the military. This book is well written and compelling and the start of a new series. The next scheduled book is, ‘Theirs Not
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