Capsule Reviews: Hines, Gryphon & Modesitt

I haven’t had the time to do full reviews of the books I have been reading of late, so I am going to do a few of them as little mini-reviews…

  The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines
This one is a little different. It’s about Cinderella after her ‘happily ever after’ has been spoken. Her husband has been kidnapped, and it’s up to her, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty to rescue him. It’s an interesting take on both tying these stories together in a light-hearted manner, and asking the question of ‘what happens when the story is over’. It’s a good little book, and made me slightly interested in reading others in the long list of books by the author. But it also didn’t have much staying power in my memory as I can’t tell you much more than I wrote above about what happens in it. But it’s worth a read. This is apparently the first in a series, with the next one, called ‘The Mermaid’s Madness’ coming in October 2009. The third will be ‘Red Hood’s Revenge’ in 2010 and the fourth will be ‘Secret of the Snow Queen’ in 2011.

  Key to Redemption by Talia Gryphon

This is the third book in the ‘Key’ Series. Each of the books follow Marine and paranormal psychologist Gillian Key as she endeavors to battle the forces of Dracula (though often indirectly) in a world where the things that go bump in the night only came out of the shadows not many years before. In this book, Gillian has to deal with her on-going relationship to Master Vampire Aleksei Rachlav while also administering to the mental well being of the likes of Frankenstein’s ‘monster’, the phantom of the opera and others while dealing with a stalker, the vampire Jack the Ripper. This is easily the best book of this series so far. The prior book dealt heavily with Gillian’s military skills, this one dealers with her therapeutic ones… and took a number of twists and turns while dealing with some somewhat sensitive subjects in a VERY good way. I strongly recommend these books. Be warned, there is sexual content.

  The Eternity Artifact by L.E. Modesitt Jr (a fan site here)

This is one of Modesitt’s rare stand-alone books, not being a part of any of his serial work. It’s science fiction and follows the journey of a number of people to investigate an world-sized artifact that is hurtling through the depths of space. The book follows a Teacher, an Artist, a Spy, and a Pilot through the story. And each of these characters has different ways of perceiving the world around them and that is reflected in the manner in which Modesitt tells the story when telling it from their point of view. The writing styles actually changes depending on the character you are reading about at the time. And the story itself is a good moral play, as is the ‘universe’ that Modesitt sets the story in. I strongly recommend this book and I might need to read it again in a couple years, as it is that enjoyable to read.

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