Perdition is the first book in over two months that I've been able to read in a matter of days. I started it two days ago, and finished reading it las...morePerdition is the first book in over two months that I've been able to read in a matter of days. I started it two days ago, and finished reading it last night. (Yeay!!!!!) seriously, I thought I was never going to finish reading another book (que dramatica)
So. Based on my absolute love for the Sirantha Jax series, I picked this up because it's set in the same universe. I thought it was going to feature a woman that Jax had met while she was in prison, but I was wrong. Perdition is set at least forty years (turns?) in the future, and while the woman is different from who I thought, there is a character from the past Jax years. Jael, who I had a hard time remembering....He turned on Sirantha and co. way back on Ithiss Tor and he's still alive because he's hard to kill, for reasons you will discover if you read this.
Basic story - Dred is the Queen Dread or Dread Queen of ....yes, Queensland. She's been assisted to the dubious throne by Tam, a spymaster who is serving time on Perdition. Perdition is a prison ship that is inescapable - if one is sentenced to Perdition, you're basically sentenced to life imprisonment and to die there. She's a hard woman, who has murdered and is serving her time.
Jael is an incoming prisoner - who has abilities and issues. He's been sentenced to Perdition to keep him out of the way and accessible - though I don't know how accessible one can be on a prison ship where prisoners and supplies are simply dropped off, seemingly automatically. Anyway, he's recruited by Dred. On Perdition when prisoners are dropped off they are recruited by one of many sectors of prisoners, some are way worse than others.
Perdition - while populated with crazed murderers, political prisoners and many characters - none of whom are nice people - still reads a bit like a romance story. Two people meet, bad backgrounds, baggage and history that makes them wary of others must learn to trust each other and accept love.... sound familiar? yes. A romance with (thankfully) a very different background and none of those misunderstood faux-criminals. All these people have really done bad things. Very bad. The story was intresting, the background and setting interesting and the characters were very interesting. The details are what made it good enough for me to end up reading this one straight through. So, good book, even though it was basically a romance with a SciFi criminal twist.
Even though Dred is the Dread Queen of Queensland, it's a constant struggle to hold on to control - takes a lot of planning, watching and discipline. One of the problems Dred faces is two other sectors have decided to attack her's for more territory. So a mini war must be waged, and Dred has to decide who to trust, who to ally with and which moves to make. This is what makes for a good story.
Dialog was good, narration was interesting - Aguirre knows how to write a story. Only thing....(and this really is a minor complaint) I was expecting a voice kind of like Jax's - present first person, but Perdition is written in regular third person - still a good book. (less)
Oh! wow. What a fun collection of stories. Full of steampunk goodness. From the mosquitos (shudder) to the strange happenings in a harbor/bay, to the...moreOh! wow. What a fun collection of stories. Full of steampunk goodness. From the mosquitos (shudder) to the strange happenings in a harbor/bay, to the town that was taken over by the Company (and the woman fighting this) to the submarine used for a section of the underground "railway" to the Assassin who adopts a....well, you have to read it.
J.A. Campbell has put together a very interesting, engaging and entertaining collection of stories that will have a little something for everyone's tastes. Each writer featured wrote a story that featured good dialog, fun plots, and some twisted action. Twisted is good, twisted is interesting. I love twisted stories. One of my new favorites was also featured - Carl, the dinosaur, who was also in Science Fiction Trails; a feature titled Carl's Corner (I hope I spelled it right, Karl vs Carl - I don't have the book right in front of me) where a dinosaur gives his opinion on the subject of the day, in this case how dragon's taste and who would win in a showdown.
Anthologies and story magazines are becoming a favored read of mine - it's good to be able to grab something to read and to read a short story that's full of "flavor". I'm looking forward to more issues of Steampunk Trails, which I'm sure will contain lots of good reading by many good authors.(less)
I don't think I've read anything quite like this. It isn't quite your usual SciFi, or Fantasy novel. Or Urban Fantasy. All the characters are young, p...moreI don't think I've read anything quite like this. It isn't quite your usual SciFi, or Fantasy novel. Or Urban Fantasy. All the characters are young, people don't live very long in this new dystopian world, but in this novel we have war veterans who are only 16 years old, and that's a little hard to take in. Whatever, I didn't let that really sink in, I just kept reading...
The entire world is frozen, and there's a lot of poverty as well as excess spending in places like New Vegas. Even though there's tech, it's weird, because no one quite knows how to invent new tech, or fix things....or at least not many people do. New Vegas is fenced in - either they're keeping people in, or keeping things out. Just try leaving....
Main character - Nat - is working in New Vegas as a dealer. She's trying to stay under the radar, because she is one of the "marked" - a person born with a mark who has special powers. She's been able to work undetected for a while, kind of biding her time until suddenly the opportunity to leave, get out of New Vegas presents itself. The whole time she's been alive, she's been trying to ignore this voice in her mind that keeps trying to tell her to do these things, not always good things. It's not always bad things, more like being guided to survive at any cost.
She hires a young ex-soldier, Wes, to act as her guide to a mythical place that actually has blue skies, warmer weather, clean blue water, and is more like the old earth. No one believes this place actually exists, and yet every once in a while people try to find it. They usually come to a bad end. There are people who take advantage of those who try to leave, people who con them, people who turn them in to the government.... And Wes used to work as a soldier. He's been trying to keep a small group of other ex soldiers alive and eating, and it's tough when you don't really want to take some of the shadier jobs on offer.
Frozen tells the story of how Nat and Wes end up traveling together and touches on betrayal, friendship, slavery, danger and redemption. There's a very interesting mix of "monsters" - there are beings that seem like zombies, but aren't. There is a weird wasteland that is covered with garbage - garbage that seems to have a life of it's own. There's also the very poisoned ocean, which has toxic waters, filled with barges of towering garbage mounds that seem to have mutated. It's a wonder that people can even exist in this world.
I think de la Cruz and Johnston wrote an interesting novel with some very interesting characters, villians and monsters (or other beings). They touch a bit on slavery, slow starvation and some social issues without things seeming like you're reading a lecture or treatise on what's wrong with the world, and at the same time the issues in the book do make you think about waste and the ecology. There's also a lesson to be learned about bigotry and acceptance, with the way the government seemed to steer people into hating the marked by blaming everything bad on the people who were marked.
The dialogue was good, the narrative was good enough to keep me reading - engaging. There didn't seem to be any of those long wordy info-dumps that can make me yawn.... Bottom line - I opened the book and read it in a 24 hour period. Lately, that's been rare for me.
AND.... Though there was a budding romance with a bit of kissing, there were no over the top make out sessions. All in all, a good book for a teen, young teen, and even for an older lady like me.(less)
Devin O'Branagan wrote a duo of novels featuring Molly, a newly single mother and her daughter. The first book was the story of how Molly makes a new...moreDevin O'Branagan wrote a duo of novels featuring Molly, a newly single mother and her daughter. The first book was the story of how Molly makes a new life for her daughter and herself, gets a license as a real estate broker and has many scenes of house showings weaved into a story of a woman's coming of age, or rather growing into her own. That book was Red Hot Property and was a good mix of humor and real life. There was a sequel, Red Hot Liberty that was just as fun to read. I mention them, because Talisman is a very pampered dog owned by one of the secondary characters, and later ended up in Molly's small family. There is a third novel coming, by the way - but in the meantime...
Show Dog Sings the Blues features a short story of Talisman, aka Tali, aka dog diva supreme (I made that up) and her visit to see her sister. See Tali is so pampered that her first owner made sure she had regular spa visits, massages, visits with a pet psychic, etc and when Tali ended up in Molly's family Molly and daughter continued the regimen, which included regular visits with her sister, who lived a completely different lifestyle. Tali's sister is a working dog - a dog that works on a ranch, herding sheep and helping the ranch hands with all kinds of the jobs that make a ranch function.
Except that on this one particular visit, Tali and her sister end up mixed up - a case of mistaken identity. While her sister, who loves being a working ranch dog has to endure a day of pampering and watching through the window Tali ends up having to work the day away, not know how to handle each particular job. The ranch hand she's left with doesn't realize she's not her sister and can't figure out why his new boss says the dog is such a good working dog - she seems kind of crazy to him. And the other farm animals of course can tell Tali isn't the right dog so some of them challenge her and some of them just don't seem to respect her - especially this one kitten who decides she's a new best friend.
The book is a fun read, and though I would never dream of pampering my dog the way Tali is pampered, it's kind of funny to read about Tali and her....very spoiled ways. Her sister - way more down to earth and happy with her life, was a good counterpoint to Tali.
If you're looking for a fun short read, Show Dog Sings the Blues is a fun one, written in Tali's pov. I had fun reading it(less)
As Kelley Armstrong fans know, she has written her last Women of the Otherworld novel, which has no doubt left some bereft, but never fear - she hasn'...moreAs Kelley Armstrong fans know, she has written her last Women of the Otherworld novel, which has no doubt left some bereft, but never fear - she hasn't stopped writing, she's turned her attention elsewhere. As we've seen with a few of the long running series floating around out there, sometimes it's good to end a series, and it's even better to end a series when your fans - especially the ones who have been fans from the beginning - STILL enjoy your work. Kelley Armstrong has written a very strong first of a series with Omens.
Whenever I'm given the chance to read a novel before publication, I feel fortunate. When I end up loving the novel I'm always happy about that (of course). I REALLY enjoyed Omens. You can read the synopsis on Amazon, Goodreads, and Armstrong's website - but basically, a very rich young woman, Olivia (Liv) Taylor Jones is hit out of nowhere with the knowledge that she isn't who she thought she was. Her story is told in the first person; she finds out in one moment that she's been adopted and that her birth parents are currently in prisons, serving life sentences for the murders of eight people - they're the notorious Larsons - the serial killer couple. Her mom is suddenly cold, her fiance doesn't handle things quite right after this, and Liv ends up running off, with hardly any cash, trying to find a job and stay under the radar, away from the paparazzi. Things don't go so well, and she ends up steered to a small town outside of Chicago where she thinks the inhabitants aren't aware of who she really is....turns out she's wrong about this.
The town she ends up in is Cainsville, and has its own quirks, with some very strange inhabitants. During the novel, you're given a peek of the characters, with a short chapter told in their pov (third person) with just a tease of their motivations, or thoughts about Liv/Eden. Throughout the story, even by the end, there's a few of the characters where I wasn't quite sure if they're the "good"guys or the "bad"guys, or even if there is a distinction. What I enjoyed about Omens, is that not one character could be considered completely without fault. Even the lead character found herself doing some things she wasn't quite comfortable with - and best of all, didn't angst about it for pages after, but she did acknowledge her discomfort and then deal with it quickly.
After a series of events, she ends up working with Gabriel Walsh, a lawyer unashamedly money motivated. She's completely aware of his motivations, and seems to find that almost comforting - the fact that he doesn't hide behind altruistic reasoning, but just puts it out there. She ends up working part time in a diner, and helping Gabriel investigate some leads regarding her birth-mother's case, after meeting her mother in prison.
The town of Cainsville is almost a character in its own right - there are gargoyles all over, and seem to be very important to the town and its inhabitants. The townies are an interesting mix of people - most of them are people who have lived there for generations, some moving away, then coming back - some never leaving. One of them seems to be very old, indeed. There is Gabriel's aunt, who works as a psychic- something she admits is part con and part for real. Liv's landlady - Grace is a rather grumpy woman who is most likely a mix of some fae and human. A regular of the diner - seems to be a young man, but even the town elders defer to him; In fact, the town elders also seem to be extremely powerful, especially for a town in the 21st century.
Omens is a blend of supernatural and mystery/suspense. However, the supernatural elements begin very subtly - with Liv suddenly knowing superstitions, such as a black cat really being lucky. The supernatural elements slowly gain importance, and even by the end of the book is still low key. I'm looking forward to reading more of this series to see if this aspect is developed further. I enjoyed the gargoyles, the odd feel of the town and the townies, the hints of their true selves.
If you're an Armstrong fan, I've pretty sure you're going to enjoy this - even though it isn't as strongly UF or fantasy as her other novels. If you've never read a Kelley Armstrong book because you're not really into fantasy or Urban Fantasy, then I suggest you give it a try anyway, because there is a good strong mystery being investigated here, and an overall story arc that will probably involve more investigations with Gabriel and Liv teaming up together. Afterall, they figure out a small part of birth-mom's mystery, but not all.(less)
I won Sleeping In Eden in a giveaway. I entered on a whim, since my main reading genres are SciFi and Urban Fantasy and this doesn't fit either catego...moreI won Sleeping In Eden in a giveaway. I entered on a whim, since my main reading genres are SciFi and Urban Fantasy and this doesn't fit either category. Even so, I do enjoy the occasional "palate cleanser" novel, so when I saw the description of this novel (first in one of those It's Monday posts, and then in the giveaway post) I decided it would be an interesting novel - and even though it was stated that a body is found in a barn - and hours later, another one is found buried in the floor....I wasn't quite prepared for just how intense this novel ended up.
There is two stories going on - and it's hard to describe without giving anything away.....
A small town doctor is called out to pronounce an apparent suicide dead. This suicide happens to be a rather unlikable character, the owner of a large piece of property and an alcoholic prone to rages....in the midst of checking things out, another body is found under the floorboards of the barn (where the guy hung himself).
The young doctor is having some of his own problems. His wife is just on the edge of leaving him, and he's sort of drifting through his life, barely hanging on but not doing a whole lot to convince her to stay. Seems like every time he tries to do something nice for her she reacts with anger. Her character wasn't a very nice - or rather to me, she came across as a raging woman who wasn't going to make things easy for him. She's gone through something to cause her to feel this intense sadness and rage, but she's taking it out on him, and he seems lost. I was completely frustrated with his and her characters - which is a sign of a good writer. Because I wasn't frustrated with stupid writing and lame characters, but I was frustrated with these incredibly well written characters who are so lost in their suffering. So buried in their own emotions that they don't really see what they're doing to the other, and the wife doesn't really seem to care about anything but her own feelings, just keeps herself distant and punishing to her husband, not letting him in, angry because he's lost and doesn't know what to do, other than to try things to help that just angers her.
There's this other character - who happens to be the daughter of the alcoholic who had committed suicide. And she's been missing for about eight years.... There is some uncomfortable history between her and the doctor, even while the wife has a great love for this young woman, who is either the body under the floorboards, or ....
The other story line has to do with a young woman who falls in love with the new kid in town. As she's growing, her neighbor - her friend's older brother, suddenly decides he's madly in love with her and there's this kind of strange relationship that develops. She's not really that into him, and yet sometimes she is - but it's nothing like the intense feelings she has for this other guy - the new guy in town, who, according to some, isn't quite right for her (i.e. not good enough for her). Now, here is another set of characters that you can't help feeling frustrated with. You want to shake the girl and tell her not to be a fool. You want to grab the new boy and tell him not to waste time.... you want to grab the neighbor boy and tell him.......well. You get the gist of it.
Most of the characters were so flawed, so human in some of the saddest ways, and so human in some of the worst ways, and yet even with their obvious flaws, they all had redeeming qualities.
By the last section of the book, I was so involved with the two stories, and so irritated by a few of the characters, that I was left feeling a little wrung out by it all. And the ironic thing, is that people really are that foolish, to waste time in relationships that aren't equal, to make the other one suffer because you don't feel good about something that happens, to shut out others because you are so engulfed with anger and grief over an event...
Da**, this woman wrote an intense story that can make you either swear to treat your own relationship better or make you want to just get away from everyone because it's just too hard to let people completely in....and that some of these irrational behaviours just hits just a little too close to home.
You should read it. It's at once sad, surprising and yet a little hopeful.(less)
It seems as though any book published by Angry Robot turns out to be wicked good. They're not your typical steampunk or urban fantasy novels. Roil is...moreIt seems as though any book published by Angry Robot turns out to be wicked good. They're not your typical steampunk or urban fantasy novels. Roil is another example of a crazy good book.
This continent, Shale, - even the entire world, is being consumed by this thing called the Roil. Heat loving monsters like you've never heard of before....quarg hounds, witmoths, garment flutes...lots of baddies. From the back of the book - "It's up to a decadent wastrel, a four thousand year old man and a young woman bent on revenge to try to save their city - and the world."
I enjoyed this book, even though it seemed so hopeless that any of them would survive. The Roil is relentless and just consumes whole cities, people with them. The witmoths take over the people, and the whole thing is changing. What was once seemingly random monsters now seem to have a plan, and to be using strategy. Added to that you have a mayor of one city who has tried to convince the people there's no danger until the last minute, there's these other people called cuttlefolk who have an uneasy truce with people, and yet will kill. And that four thousand year old man? a very dangerous man who barely keeps himself in check, but is still trying to help save humanity.
The narration as well as the dialogue is very well done, making the book just flow. I would love to get hold of the second in this duology - find out who wins in the end.
The characters were great - the old man, creepy as hell and very powerful. The young man, David - who at first can only think of his drug, but of course, life intervenes (as it usually does), and Margaret. Margaret is soooo angry. She escaped a Roil invasion and wants to destroy the Roils - she's ready to kill.
Pretty Sacrifices deals with the aftermath of a pandemic caused by a corporation, one Glory's mother worked at. The author touches on some of the rami...more Pretty Sacrifices deals with the aftermath of a pandemic caused by a corporation, one Glory's mother worked at. The author touches on some of the ramifications of the pandemic - the economy, the lack of food sources, the changing structures of the schools and governments and how people are coping with this new life and the grief of losing so many loved ones.
In Glory's case, after her blood has been used for a 'vaccine/cure', now she's dealing with her mother who has given up on life. Because she was one of the developers of the original virus, she feels a deep guilt and depression. Glory's friends are trying to pull together, but some of the protagonists from the previous books are making a reappearance, trying to disrupt lives and pull people over to the dark side.
Pretty Sacrifices deals with many things, all spirituality of all types plays a large part of the story. Glory has guardian angels who have made themselves known to her, since she plays an important part in world events, but they're limited in what they can do. It seems the villians have more on their side than the people who are trying to help people.
Part of the spirituality contains angels, wiccan type of religion, earth mother, Native American beliefs, Catholic religion, vampires, demons an both angels and fallen angels. It's an interesting mix of characters who all manage to work together. One of my favorite groups is a small band of vampires who call themselves the goth girls. They're vampires who have overcome their bloodlust and make it their mission to help people.
Part of the plot involves Glory trying to find her sister, who was kidnapped years ago, to help her mom come out of her depression. Turns out there's more to the kidnapping than meets the eye.
Time travel plays a large part, long term plans, experiments and fringe groups. And as with O'Branagan's other works, Australian Shepherds are an important characters - in this case, Hallelujiah the family shepherd who, though grieving for her dead master, loves the rest of the family and helps Glory as much as she can.
I found this to be an engaging read, with strong spirituality threaded through the story along with some interesting characters - one of whom is a four year old. The four year didn't sound like like any four year old I've ever come across - but then she's a remarkable child in a story of extraordinary characters and times. The characters are struggling with their respective beliefs - are they going to give up or are they going to keep trying? Are they going to be optimistic and help others, or are they going to start behaving badly, give up and cause others to suffer? The story carries a message - be true, be as good as you can be, which is something that many of us need to remember. (less)
This is one of those books that is SciFi, but also reads like a fantasy. completely different world, many planets, starship travel, feudal systems, di...moreThis is one of those books that is SciFi, but also reads like a fantasy. completely different world, many planets, starship travel, feudal systems, different cultures...
There are quite a few novels featuring Miles Vorkosigan - but The Warrior's Apprentice is the first one I've read. It came in an omnibus titled Young Miles which contains three Miles stories. Miles is a young man, son of a powerful military man who served as regent for a while. Miles also is very weak, with brittle bones, short stature, and more from the result of chemically induced birth defects. The people of his world look on him with a mixture of horror, pity and superstition since usually babies with his problems were either aborted or assisted to die.
In this story, Miles has just broken both legs while in academy - despite his body limitations, he's determined to be in the military and to do what everyone else can. He ends up at home and from there goes on adventure, eventually getting involved in war. In trying to solve a dispute, he ends up somehow in charge of many ships and mercenaries. He also ends up in violation of a treason law. He also finds out some devastating news about an old and trusted employee and friend.
This novel was well written, with very good dialog. The inner voice of Miles was humorous and snarky, while his manners were always polite. The surprises and twists were entertaining, as well as the SciFi 'bits' that were peppered throughout the story. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and immediately started the next on in the series. Lois McMaster Bujold is a hell of a story weaver, building a background of rich worlds and customs, using dialog and atmosphere to help tell the story. Great reading.(less)
I enjoy a good SciFi novel; especially one that features a woman who is strong and can take things in stride, learning along the way, etc. I also enjo...moreI enjoy a good SciFi novel; especially one that features a woman who is strong and can take things in stride, learning along the way, etc. I also enjoy the whole SciFi feel - the space travel, the talk of FTL travel, all the little gadgetry - nano bots, etc - that go into a book concerning the future and all the possibilities. It's even better when it's obvious that the author knows his or her science but DOES NOT ram it down our throats in the form of pages and pages of science lectures and ''learnin' ''.
Elizabeth Moon does pretty good with this - her women are strong, her science explanations are mostly short and sweet, incorporated in the story. I think she even avoids those pesky long-winded conversations when two characters are discussing theory in their sneaky way of TEACHING the reader something sciencey. EXCEPT-during some conversations with a therapist. Needed, but a little much for me. However - Her characters are pretty close to being a Mary Sue type of character.
Now, I don't think that Moon necessarily WANTS to be a young woman who is perfect in space. I'm saying Esme is CLOSE to being a Mary Sue type. Her character is so close to perfectly unassuming, not appreciating her own knowledge or strengths, possibly keeping them hidden even from her self - that it's almost nauseating.....Despite this...
I did enjoy the story for the story's sake. The narration dialog between characters were fun to read - engaging. Her main character, Esme was saved from being a complete Mary Sue by her RAGE...this rage that she kept tamping down because she had to be in complete control of herself at all times...so much in control that she picked a boring non-glorious career track that she wasn't really suited for.
Even though I found some parts of the novel to be "oh please, sure this would happen"; even though I found some of the characters oh so predictable (the grumpy supervisor, the greedy villians, the hateful captain, etc) I did enjoy the story, because no matter what, and no matter how improbable, Moon can tell a good story. It's entirely possible that part of the story was supposed to show how silly perceptions can be - Esme's self-perception, her crippling way of shying away from her own abilities, her family's perception of the way things should be, her captains's perception of her mutiny, etc. Something about her style and her characters made me want to keep reading til the end. There was some eye rolling going on while I read, for sure, but still - I want to read more from this series....
I think what got to me, was the way - even though events led to this - a fairly young and inexperienced young lieutenant ends up completely in charge of officers who rank higher than her - what about their experience? But - I remind myself that this is the story - a fiction story of the extraordinary circumstances and actions of a young woman who is fighting for her life, and is overcoming some pretty traumatic events. When I do this, it works better for me as a story.
This is a Serrano Legacy novel - there are quite a few other books in the Serrano series, however, in this particular novel, the Serranos did not have a huge presence as characters. There is the Serrano that was involved in the mutiny, but you only read about her. There is an Admiral Serrano that interacts with Esme for a short time, and then there is the young male Serrano. He befriends Esme, and is one Serrano who definitely feels the heavy mantle of the Serrano expectations and legends weighing him down, expecting so much out of him...He doesn't play a huge part - but is a good friend to Esme with just the slightest beginnings of a romance.(less)
IF YOU were ever a fan of horses, get this story. You'll enjoy it.
Premise - Anna had this grandma who she was always very close with (already this rev...moreIF YOU were ever a fan of horses, get this story. You'll enjoy it.
Premise - Anna had this grandma who she was always very close with (already this reverberates with me, because I like to think that my granddaughter and I are pretty close - of course she's six years old, plenty of time), and has spent many summers with said gramma, riding horses and being with gramma. Gramma had a horse ranch - many horses, complete with a pretty sweet stable, and plenty of land for the horses. Unfortunately, Gramma has been in a fatal ....accident.... and now Anna is spending the summer at her house, selling off some of the horses and grieving for her lost grandmother.
This is where the trouble starts...
So - at first the book seems like it's going to be about a girl, and her growth over the summer; having to deal with her gramma's horses, her death, her estate, etc. Seems like the book is going to be about her coming of age....and it is...Kind of.
She's meeting prospective buyers, some of them nice, one not so nice. She has been working with Cody, a young man that her gramma had previously hired to help with the stable. She's exercising the horses and beginning to notice some of the odd things her gramma has left behind when suddenly...
BAMMMMMM! She's on Sabaska's back, after escaping the house and the intruders...travelling between different worlds and meeting different people. She has some amazing adventures, some more heart ache, and lots of danger. She's not just learning some life lessons....she's learning some LIFE lessons.
See - Sabaska isn't just a horse....if you can say that about any horse. Sabaska is from a line of horses who have evolved on a different world into a species of intelligent (look, all horses are more than most people think....but Sabaska's fellow horses are Travelers) horses who can travel between worlds, and bond with a human, forming a partnership to help keep danger at bay. Anna learns this in an abrupt and on-the-job-training type of way. She already had been getting some strange feelings about Sabaska - the horse seemed to understand more than most horses, seemed to anticipate what Anna wanted before Anna was even sure what she wanted, and most telling of all - seemed to be able to communicate her own needs to Anna.
I love the way this novel is written; from the prologue where you're given a hint of things to come, to the beginning where things seem so normal, to the start of the fantastical nature of the Travelers and those hunting Sabaska. The narration is great - no info-dumping, which is one of my pet peeves. Campbell manages to get her point across without pages and pages of info-dumps. The dialog is also great - This is another one of my pet peeves, dialog that does not match characterization. Campbell's characters sound and read like their personalities. A teen speaks like a teen, a mage from another realm speaks a little differently - appropriately so. This shows talent, being able to write different characters with different voices.
There's a couple of swear words, if people are worried about that sort of thing (I'm not), all in keeping with the mood of the moment, there's no gratuitous swearing. And you also won't find gratuitous romance, or needless making out sessions. Her main character is beginning to notice the physique of the young men around her, but it doesn't overwhelm or take over the story. Rather it reminds me of those first sweet moments when you realize a boy (or girl, whatever your favorite flavor) is cute, and you might feel something for them. Nicely done, in a world overly obsessed with lust and body parts. :)
From action to story to dialog to characterization - this novel has a lot to recommend it. Campbell does an excellent job of writing a fantasy adventure complete with likable characters, both human and animal variety. I'm looking forward to more of Anna and/or Sabaska's world, whatever Campbell decides to focus on - hopefully both. :) There are quite a few characters in this novel that I could totally see as main characters for future novels, or as stronger side characters. I would love to read more about this group of characters.(less)