*For mature readers

In the land of Tremont, the saying “When Nerr (the male god of love and sexuality) gets the Heir” means something is highly unlikely to happen. Nevertheless, when current heir to the throne Temmin is summoned to the capital on his 18th birthday for training to become king, he is instantly drawn the current Embodiment of Neya, the female half of the gods of love and sexuality, and no other woman can compare. The gods have complex rules, though, and Temmin’s lack of sexual experience prevents him from simply making an appointment at the Lovers' Temple. His only option is becoming a Supplicant, an official training position in the Temple lasting two years and two days, and accepting both Embodiments of the twin gods as his teachers; however, King Harsin, Temmin’s father, fears a prophecy that states the common people will benefit when the Heir devotes himself to the lovers, and he will do almost anything to stop his only son from bringing it to pass.

MeiLin Miranda’s Son in Sorrow picks up a year into Temmin’s supplicancy at The Lovers Temple. He is now nineteen years old and has picked up many skills for reading and manipulating people; however, the Heir is struggling with an inappropriate exclusive love for Allis, the Embodiment of the female half of the Lovers, Neya, which affects both of their abilities to perform their required duties. Outside the Temple, the political intrigue hinted at in Lovers and Beloveds takes center stage as various individuals and groups, both inside and outside Tremont, begin power plays to take control. Not all of them harbor love for the monarchy either, which could destroy the very world the nobles long to protect. Sedra, Temmin’s eldest sister, also takes center stage as a political pawn as King Harsin finally moves to create alliances through a royal marriage, but his intelligent, strong willed daughter may not be as biddable as he anticipates. The political machinations and Temple issues spiral together in the strangest of ways, leaving Temmin feeling even less prepared for his responsibilities as Heir to his kingdom.

There are dozens of deep and thought-provoking questions that swirl around the themes of Turbulence by Samit Basu. Some of the simpler ones include, “What if you suddenly got what you wanted most in the world?” and “What would you do if you had superpowers?” Of course, just about every comic, movie, novel, and story ever written about heroes has tackled these, but Turbulence takes it further. These simple questions lead to the bigger question, “What if you really had a chance to change the world?” Which then raises the question, “Would it be worth the cost?” Because there’s always a cost.

And, finally, my favorite question of the book, raised less directly, but perhaps the most pertinent of all in terms of the story’s themes: “What’s the difference between a hero and a villain?” The answer to that one may seem simple at first, but after reading the book, you might not be so sure.

For most of the last few years, the “Expanded Universe” has focused on the continuing and further adventures of the base (and sometimes minor) characters from the original films, and this novel is no different.  Luke Skywalker, Leia Organo, and Han Solo, the heroes of the Rebellion and the founders of a New Republic, have been involved in every single galaxy-changing event since they left the hanger of the first Death Star, their lives defined by the eternal struggle of good versus evil; however, in the face of a new problem that threatens to change the balance of the galactic economy and the stability of the tentative peace, the triumphant trio makes some radical decisions that forever alter the lives of everyone involved.

SPOILERS BELOW

CC2K co-founder and friend of FBC Robert J. Peterson recently released his new novel, The Odds, a post-apocalyptic action-comedy, and I was given a chance to read a copy of the book.

You know how some post-apocalyptic stories feature mutants, some tongue-in-cheek humor, and some wackiness while others focus on the harshness of day-to-day survival and the nitty-gritty serious drama? I'm not s---ting you, The Odds hits both of the extremes.

In the second installation of the Loogie the Booger Genie book series, children's book author N.E. Castle returns with the hilarious and heartwarming book A Very Nasty Cold.  With the return of Charlie, an eight-year-old boy, and Prince Loogar (a.k.a. Loogie), the genie who lives in a tiny bottle in Charlie's nose, the humorous and gross antics of these two characters picks up right where it left off in the first book, Prince of Prank.  This time, Charlie has caught a cold, which makes for quite a bit of trouble for his nose-dwelling genie friend.

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s . . . a book?

Don’t be too disappointed. This is no ordinary, average, everyday book! This an anthology and not just a good one, but a super-powered edition that is able to leap smaller collections of sub-par stories in a single bound! Alright, enough with my cheesy humor. In all seriousness, Super Stories of Heroes & Villains, the new anthology from Tachyon Publications, is flexing some serious muscles in a genre that doesn’t suffer lightweights. Filled with engaging and intelligent stories and featuring an impressive list of contributing authors, Super Stories of Heroes & Villains is one “text-only” volume that has earned a well-deserved place on the shelf in any respectable (and friendly), neighborhood comic book shop!

As I’ve mentioned before, there’s a strange phenomenon surrounding official movie novelizations and how, if they’re written well, they can actually exceed the quality of the film version of the story. (I will direct skeptics, once again, to check out the official movie novelizations of the Star Wars prequels if they need convincing.)  Much like his recent adaptation of The Dark Knight Rises (read my review here), author Greg Cox has done it again by delivering an official novelization of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel that will surely thrill fans of the film and also most likely sit better with the film’s detractors than the movie itself.

Who Is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? by Andrez Bergen is a noir-style mystery set in a world of superheroes. It’s pretty hard to go wrong with that combination. But, more than that, it tackles some deeper issues, like good and evil, reality and fantasy, free will, the nature of humanity, and, more importantly, the grey areas surrounding all of these things.

 

House of SecretsAcclaimed, bestselling author Ned Vizzini (The Other Normals - read my review here) has returned to the world of YA fiction once again with House of Secrets, an exciting, new novel co-written by popular and talented Hollywood director and screenwriter Chris Columbus (The Goonies, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone). In a team up that rivals classic co-workers like Batman and Superman and Anakin and Obi-Wan, Columbus and Vizzini combine their skills as master storytellers, crafting a tale of high adventure that is exhilarating, laugh-out-loud funny, terrifying at times, and always captivating.

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