Monday, December 31, 2012

REVIEW: Keeper of Light and Dust by Natasha Mostert

My Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

A supernatural thriller with a twist, The Keeper of Light and Dust blends martial arts with science and magic to create a story that is unique and different, intriguing and compelling.

Mia Lockhart is a Keeper who uses special protection tattoos of her own making combined with out-of-body experiences to protect the fighters in her keep. Nick Duffy is a long time friend of Mia's and fellow martial artist who has returned to London to start fighting again, and has high hopes of finally starting up a romantic relationship with Mia. But not if Adrian Ashton has anything to do with it!

Adrian is an oddly brilliant scientist recently arrived in London as well who's very interested in the martial arts and other Chinese medicine and practices. With the help of several ancient texts combined with his own studies, he's discovered a way to cheat death by draining the chi life energy from his victims without their even knowing it. He's particularly drawn to boxers and other martial artists because of the strength of the life force they carry within them, especially during a fight. But with Adrian in town, things may not turn out too good for Nick and Mia.

Most of the concepts used in this book are indeed based on actual practices in use today, particularly in Eastern civilizations, but the author is able to seamlessly bring it all to the next level to give the story it's otherworldly and supernatural slant. Though it was immediately apparent from the beginning who "the bad guy" was, along with his motives, it's the how and why behind those motives that drive the story forward. Overall, a very good read and I look forward to reading more from this author.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

REVIEW: The Paladin Prophecy by Mark Frost

My Rating: 8 out of 10 stars

Will West has lived his life under the radar, doing all he can not to call attention to himself at his parent's request. Having moved around all his life, he's used to being the new kid at school so this has worked out well for him so far, until one day...

Now Will's on the run from who-knows-what from the Never-Was, and seeks solace at a very secretive, very private school in Wisconsin called the Center for Integrated Learning. But why are these monsters after Will and his parents in the first place? And just how much does the school really know about it all? Will can only hope that with the help of his new friends, they have what it takes to defeat them and escape with their lives.

Will's story is intriguing and moves along at a good pace. The author uses lots of description and imagery to bring everything to life, though I never found it excessive or slowing the story down. That's good because at 560 pages, it took me nearly the entire three weeks of my library's eBook rental term to finish it.

Yes, there are some things you don't quite understand for much of the first half of the book, but I didn't find that the least bit frustrating, instead it piqued my interest and kept me reading well into the night. Once the main story line is wrapped up at the end, the author leaves you with a little bit of a cliffhanger which will have you looking forward to the next book in the series.

This is Mark Frost's first foray into the young adult fantasy genre. Though I haven't read any of his other books yet, I have The List of Seven on my TBR which I acquired in a swap or book box over at BookObsessed some time ago, so now I'm looking forward to reading that while I wait for the release of Alliance: The Paladin Prophecy Book 2. Mr. Frost was also involved in two successful television series: Hill Street Blues and Twin Peaks.