Chasing the Red Queen

Chasing the Red Queen, a multiple genre novel published, copyright and written by Karen Glista.

The book opens with a prologue from an ancient birch parchment of the Ojibwa, also known as Chippewa, Indian nation, whose main area of residence more or less centered on Sault St. Marie and contiguous portions of America and Canada. The parchment details how “seven spirits presented themselves to the people in the Land of the Dawn to teach the Mide way of life. The first six spirits were good and kind, but the seventh grew too powerful and killed those in his presence.” Supposedly, the good spirits had forced him into the ocean. This is a story of his reappearance and centers on Donja Bellinger, whose mother’s death four years previously has left her with intense psychological problems. Now her mother has decided to marry Carson Hampton and they are to move to the upper Michigan Peninsula leaving the home, school, surroundings and close friends established over her seventeen years of life. He was extremely nice, equated immediately with her younger brother and tried very hard to do the same with her. Offering still another problem was Carson’s daughter Makayla, a beautiful, poised, constantly well-dressed 17-year-old who was independently wealthy from money her mother had left her when she had passed away a few years before. They move into the new home which is on the Historic Homes Registry and reputed as having been owned by a woman who was believed to have been a Chippewa leaving the house haunted. It is a mess ad they are going to have it renovated while they’re living there. The two girls become true sisters as each has a problem with which they help each other and they go exploring into a secret room discovered. Here they find many fascinating things, not the least of which are very old paintings on birch bark along with some of the earliest photographs. These, combined with other discoveries – the fact that Donja is the only descendant left of a distinct branch of the Chippewa nation; she and Makayla becoming romantically involved with two extremely handsome men in the near-by night life centers; the men are       actually part of a vampire-like race living on earth for centuries – all lead to extended wild and weird activity evolving from re-entry of that seventh (evil Ojibwa) spirit who is attracted to Donja as the only surviving member of that extinct branch of the Chippewa Clan. The tale culminates eventually in horrendous bloody battles and a fitting end.

Discussion: The author has used the well-known strange stories that have for years emanated from, and about, the upper Michigan Peninsula and associated parts of Canada but has added a new twist – a vampire-like (alien) race of immortals. This amalgamation with one of the well-known basic themes is perhaps a little jarring to readers aware of the usual thrust of stories associated with the area. But in its unique multi – fantasy/alien (?)/vampire/mystery – genre status is acceptable and as such, no doubt of interest to many readers of one or more of these categories. Regrettably, there are a number of features that, at least from this reader’s viewpoint, make evaluation difficult to say the least. The impression first acquired is that the story appears to be slanted somewhat toward a teenage feminine group because after an initial understanding of Donja’s decision to go goth, the extensive amount of description set forth and emphasis on make-up, hair styles and stylists, boutiques, and variations in dress, as well as the approach to male/female activity descriptions somehow heightened this impression. However, as the story continues the trend became more varied and the imposition of more graphic violence moved the tale to assume a broader scope. Another distraction is the number of lengthy descriptions that requires judicial editing to aid in remaining closer to the book’s basic story. So to reiterate, a story difficult to assess.

Conclusion: A multi-genre story that no doubt should appeal mostly to certain Fantasy/Romance readers who do not mind inclusion of considerable graphic violence and lengthy rhetoric only tangentially pertinent to the main theme.

3* Multi-genre tale adding unusual twist to those associated with the region.

INVASION

INVASION ISBN: 9780996731645 Blackrose Press, a vampire, sci-fi story with alien elements by Roxanne Bland.

In a basic plot that involves several sub- or perhaps concurrently developing co-plots the story develops as follows: Kurt, the Vampire Master of Seattle, Parker, his alpha male werewolf pack leader and Garrett Larkin the powerful mage witch of the local Coven join together to perform a tryst to restore peace and stop the annihilation of the members of their aberrant type residing in the area. The spell they attempted did produce the desired effect. However, it did not work exactly as it should have and each had gained part of each other’s powers leaving each weakened in the powers called for in their positions. This was especially significant for Kurt who could be challenged in a winner-take-all struggle for his powerful position. Garett asks her mentor Feodor to help. Results are mixed and more attempts continue to be made. Simultaneously, Parker becomes enamored of Melera, who is from another planet and she is one who realizes that Mag Beloc, from still a different planet, has decided that earth will be the perfect place to set up his empire to run his nefarious enterprises. Additionally, the reader discovers that Kurt has ‘feelings’ for Parker, but also is involved with Garrett, who enjoys being the recessive in Dom situations; Parker is in an arrangement of necessity with his female wolf partner, who in turn is jealous of his relationship with Melera; Jealous Regents sense Kurt’s possible loss of powers and offer challenges; the intergalactic confrontation takes place; and eventually all of the plots and sub-/co-plots coalesce to form a fascinating whole.

At first glance an attempt to amalgamate into one entity so many seemingly widely diverse activities would seem an impossible task. Instead, the author has juggled these various complications together in a manner as magical as the activities indulged in by her characters. And she has presented them as being performed by surprisingly interestingly described characters. A fascinating read for anyone enjoying escape from reality.

5* Vampire/sci-fi/alien invasion story thoroughly enjoyable for reality escapees.