March 26th, 2011

two genre fiction reviews

_Goldilocks in Mudflats_, Phoebe Matthews

This is book 5 in the Mudflats series. It is set in Seattle, or a somewhat magical part of Seattle. Book 1 was set in a _really_ magical part of the Olympic Peninsula that Claire Carmody got lost in, and successive books have involved characters who followed her home from there. This fifth book ends on a wee bit of a cliffhanger/punchline, but not in such a way that I'm particularly worried about Claire. She seems to handle everything thrown at her.

In this entry, the person who came out of the Magic Bubble (where Roger the Troll who lives downstairs has gone in search of his relatives) is neither entirely good nor clearly evil and, as is all too common, she's followed by someone else as well. When Claire and Tarvik return from leaving the ashes of a previous visitor safely in the Bubble, they find Alakar in the back of their car. Much to her initial terror, they drive her back to Seattle, stopping for fast food on the way which, like everyone who leaves the Bubble, she is completely enchanted by.

Claire spends a lot of time worrying about whether Alakar is trying to get together with Tarvik, and whether he might want that. She shouldn't be; she just seems to have completely forgotten who touchy feely Tarvik and Nance always are and is misinterpreting the way he treats relatives (even one who drugged him) with romantic attraction. Darryl Decko falls hard for Alakar, which Claire has mixed feelings about. Meanwhile, all the pets in the neighborhood are completely freaking out and they keep finding dead squirrels, rabbits and similar.

Claire intuits that the dead animals and the really, really, really big wolf? Other wild animal? She almost sees over and over again are connected to Wensel the Younger, aka Weed, Alakar's husband that she has no intention of staying married to. Weed is not getting the it's-over-thing, however (possibly because death really is the only thing that ends marriages in Bubble World), and keeps popping up. He's really weird, but generally well-behaved.

Worse, resolving the Weed Wensel problem is sort of like beheading a hydra.

(That was almost not a spoiler, even!) I get a huge kick out of this series. And I was so happy to see who Nicotiana enchanted this time. He totally deserved it.

_Cast in Fury_, book 4 in Michelle Sagar's Chronicles of Elantra sees ongoing unrest in the city because people mistakenly believe the Tha-alani caused the tidal wave, rather than saving the city from it. The Imperial Playwright, Richard Rennick, has been hired to write some propaganda to fix the problem and Severn and Kaylin have been assigned to him to make sure he doesn't really screw up the job. Meanwhile, Marcus has killed another Leontine and won't explain why. He's in jail and likely to be executed in a few days. Kaylin insists on finding out, discovering along the way why Leontines don't have magic and a whole lot more about Marcus' Pridlea. She winds up the last Mother (in Pridlea terms) of a infant Leontine that everyone wants dead and which the book develops a solid explanation for why. Nothing could convince Kaylin, however, that an infant should be killed and she's the Heroine so guess what happens.

While other readers appear to really want to advance the relationships (whatever they might be) between Kaylin and the men in her life (Nightshade, Severn, etc.), I'm sort of happy that those relationships _aren't_ advancing. The timeline in these novels is _very_ compressed -- each book covers a matter of days or only a little bit longer than that, altho backstory is included as well. It's _weird_ that Luna would publish such conspicuously non-romantic/non-erotic fiction, but I'm happy they are.