In Silver Moon, Catherine Lundoff weaves a fantasy set in a small town where only a few women are called by magic to change into werewolves when menopIn Silver Moon, Catherine Lundoff weaves a fantasy set in a small town where only a few women are called by magic to change into werewolves when menopausal symptoms flare up. This book's premise is what sold it to me.
The story's central character is a woman of a "certain age" going through multiple changes in her life, including menopause. At first glance it might seem as if equating those biological changes with the werewolf theme is dramatic, but in fact I found it to be both creative and on target. Change. Through the theme of change Lundoff also focuses on other issues that affect women during this time in their lives. She adds insightful touches such as the "invisibility factor"* that women experience after they reach a "certain age," which ties in quite well with the issue of those same women being abandoned or dismissed by husbands or partners (like yesterday's news) for younger women.
I mentioned above that the story is about change, but in the end it's really about either fighting those changes or embracing them gracefully when the inevitable time comes. Lundoff serves this fantasy dish with a scoop of hope. While the main character in her story goes through that roller coaster, the other women show the final result: accepting change doesn't mean you have to give up love or sexuality, instead there is much to be gained, lots to offer and still great things to come in the future.
I read Silver Moon from a female's perspective, but this book is categorized as a lesbian fantasy. As such, and if you read this book from a concrete or literal point of view, I would say that it is high on the fantasy/paranormal with lots of action, amusing and insightful moments (at least they were amusing and insightful to me), and quite low on the romance. A quick, enjoyable read.
*(If you don't know what the "invisibility factor" means, you haven't turned 50 yet. It's when people, this applies to men and women, stop seeing you as a "woman," and in fact you become almost, if not totally, invisible.)...more
Set in an alternate pseudo-Renaissance world full of magics, pointsmen, wizards, necromancers and deadly political games, Point of Knives by Melissa SSet in an alternate pseudo-Renaissance world full of magics, pointsmen, wizards, necromancers and deadly political games, Point of Knives by Melissa Scott is a brand new novella that links the classic original fantasy Astreiant duology -- Point of Hopes and Point of Dreams -- by closing the gaps between the two books.
In Point of Knives, Scott's main characters Adjunct Point Nicolas Rathe and ex-soldier Philip Eslingen, now Caiazzo's knife or bodyguard, are thrown together again by unusual circumstances surrounding the double murders of father and son Grandad Steen and Old Steen, both rumored to have been pirates.
Circumstances are further complicated when Old Steen's son, Young Steen, claims his personal effects and an until-then-unknown wife shows up making the same claim. Seeking compensation for moneys owed, Caiazzo also lays claim to the man's possessions and dispatches Eslingen to represent his interests and to help Rathe with the investigation.
Nico and Philip can't help but be glad to be close again after last summer's affair, and although they know that neither can afford too close a relationship, both hope that the circumstances don't affect their friendship or their feelings for each other. Rathe is known for his excellent insight and trusts Philip even as he knows that as Caiazzo's knife, thug or blade for hire, Philip owes him loyalty. However, his feelings are deeply involved.
[...] he would only sound besotted. And I'm not, he thought. Not besotted. Fond of him, friendly with him --- gods, it was easy to slip into the habit of the summer, too easy to treat him as comrade and friend --- and if he was honest with himself, yes, he could become besotted. Could even --- He refused to utter the betraying verb, even in his own mind.
Nico and Philip agree that during the investigation they will take advantage of their time together as winter-lovers with a promise not to ask more from each other when that time ends. But will they? The murder investigation takes them from Point of Hopes' narrow streets into the dangerous neighborhood that is Point of Knives, and slowly becomes a coil that involves a deadly political game, gold, magists, alchemists, necromancers, and that when unraveled might prove deadly to Nico and Philip.
Point of Knives picks up on events a few months right after Point of Hopes ends and expands on the already established relationship between Nico and Philip. I was taken with the complexity of the world building in this fantasy, as well as with the excellent characterization. The police-procedural aspect of the novel is intricate and complete, with a gruesome beginning, excellent investigative work and a surprising, satisfying resolution. More importantly, it is through this key aspect of the story that Scott cleverly incorporates fantasy, adds details to her world, and develops a lovely romance.
The characters that populate this fantasy are regular folk that somehow stand out in this world where magics and alternate history intertwine so seamlessly and are so well crafted, that after a while all of it seems possible.
Points of Knives is a gorgeous addition to the Astreiant series. Melissa Scott takes this fantasy, fills it with memorable characters, and gives the reader more by incorporating a fully developed romance and a police procedural with enough twists and turns to satisfy the most finicky of readers. Highly recommended.
3.75/5.0 (B-) Heart of Steel turned out to be a pirate adventure romance, steampunk style. I like that Yasmeen never loses the ruthlessness that makes3.75/5.0 (B-) Heart of Steel turned out to be a pirate adventure romance, steampunk style. I like that Yasmeen never loses the ruthlessness that makes her such a unique character, and that Archimedes Fox admires her for her hard-won heart of steel and cold as ice personality. His charm is deceptive in that it hides a relentless man with a tough and fearless core. A great pair whose romance is well developed, but is somewhat lacking in emotion. The adventure is less than I expected with a disappointing outcome, and although the couple and the romance kept me reading and the steampunk details are again excellent, this second installment does not quite live up to my high expectations of this series. ...more
This is the much anticipated sequel to A Companion to Wolves, a fascinating fantasy book that I read at the beginning of just this year. I'm a fan ofThis is the much anticipated sequel to A Companion to Wolves, a fascinating fantasy book that I read at the beginning of just this year. I'm a fan of Elizabeth Bear's writing, although I've never read anything else by Sarah Monette. I can tell you that this book is obviously the middle of what is shaping out to be a fantasy trilogy with Norse culture as its base, a fascinating study of the bond between man and animal, as well as relationships between the men, plus the social structures that they've built between themselves and those of other beings. It's a fascinating world full of nuances with plenty of room for exploration....more