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 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.
Awakening: Bloodline Book One
ISBN: 9780997674811, Eula Rae Printing & Publishing, an e-book by Tiera Rice.
NOTE: Before beginning even the Prologue, it is best for the prospective reader to go to the end of the book where a glossary of presumed Rumanian terms. Such pre-perusal is not mandatory because much of the meaning usually may be deduced, but it may be helpful.
A Prologue introduces a pregnant woman who, while sitting relaxed in 1996 San Francisco sees and speaks to a familiar figure approaching: “I’ve been expecting you Pazitor”. The figure responds: “You understand why I am here, Vrajitoare,” which she acknowledges and he continues: “We have avoided the affairs of the Strigoi for many centuries, but I have foreseen what destruction awaits us should we fail in this task.” And “We must do everything necessary to prevent that from happening – the Order of the Dragon must not gain control or all will be lost.” He gives her a vile of liquid which she swallows and gradually can “feel the Essence searching within her womb, becoming one with her unborn daughter.” She smiles and states “It is done.”
Plot: The story itself then begins in Braila, Wallachia in 1480 where the specially gifted young budding vampire Antanasia is introduced along with companions, friends and abundant foes. From here the tale alternates between her in this environment and Nadia who we meet first as an 18-year-old in 2015 New York City. Then, gradually revealed are the details of the ‘Awakening’ of a long dormant blood line within someone who is to save the world from falling into the grip of the devastating group mentioned in the prologue. Details are involved and complicated so best left for the reader to discover as they gradually unfold.
Discussion/Conclusion: The book is well written. Also, characters and their activity contain all of the elements required to flesh out a tale of witchery, sorcery and mysticism with miraculous powers in abundance and magical potions, rings, necklaces, widely employed and of course, vampires apparently stemming from the infamous Dracula. The actual evolution of the protagonist ‘awakening’ is protractedly presented with activity described as happening in NYC perhaps a little ‘over the top’, but no doubt acceptable to aficionados. Scenes entailing blood baths and quite specifically detailed methods of torture are in abundance. These latter also might be a little overpowering for some, although their simple abundance can be sufficient to dull a sensitive reader’s reaction. The often inconsistent effectiveness of specific magical powers may be a bit surprising, but also acceptable no doubt to the devotee of the genre.
4* for writing and no doubt enjoyable for the devotee.
NEW ORDER, Hidden Vampire Slayer, Book One, Amazon Edition by H. J. Lawson.
Sadie Meyer, waiting to be picked up by her boyfriend Arron – they are going to their Senior Prom with his best friend Ryder and his girlfriend Lakia – when she hears a piercing noise. She looks through the window and sees a car wrapped around a pole and creepy shadows and overhears through the closed windows part of a conversation: “That’s one of them on the list”. “Remus will reward us nicely for this kid.” And “Or we could keep him for ourselves”. She moves away from the window questioning how she could hear through the closed windows. Aaron arrives, they pick up the other two and head for the Prom. On the way she sees a vampire (?). No one else does. How could she? Such things are only fictional. After the prom, they head for the motel all of the guys have arranged for staying the night. There, an entire group of vampires attack the students and the story escalates into a state of attack and escape warfare as she gradually learns that she and some of her friends have an unexpected mission in life. Pieces of this, and bits of the projected activity are provided.
Discussion: The author’s depiction of places, action and reaction is nicely worded, although occasionally slightly confusing, so as to provide a pervading sense of not knowing ‘what to expect next’, possibly even something as dire as impending death and disaster for loved ones as well as for the protagonist herself. Generally speaking, this is a book and proposed series that, although lacking sufficient sophistication for the usual vampire devotee, should be of sufficient interest for younger readers of the genre to embrace.
3* 4* possible for young readers; 2* for usual devotee.
Bite of a Vampire, Book 1, KT Publishing, a paranormal romance by Anna Belsky.
Emily Johnson, a PI employed by Jonesville Extramarital Affairs Investigative Services is tracking a woman whose husband believes she is cheating. After several weeks she finds the woman meeting a handsome stranger. They leave a posh restaurant and move into a deserted garage where they exchange passionate kisses. She begins taking pictures and suddenly discovers the man is biting the woman’s neck. Voices indicate the approach of some men, the attacker sees Emily and disappears. She falls, the men appear but can discover no one other than her and the other woman. The next day, she discovers that the man she photographed did not register in the picture and she realizes he was a vampire. She has frightening dreams, the vampire appears in her apartment even though it is on the 4th floor and all doors are locked, she meets him, is strangely attracted to him and discovers he is a ‘good’ vampire who does not kill his victims. However, another vampire who does is after her and he says he can offer protection. Mark, a handsome neighbor greatly attracted to Emily also enters her life as a potential lover and as a protector from a position that is only revealed to the reader later in the book. The story progresses as the ‘bad’ vampire stalks Emily and she, Mark and the ‘good’ vampire attempt to thwart the bad guy.
Discussion: A story that should satisfy those who enjoy vampire and similar paranormal romance tales but the book would greatly benefit from a more thorough proofing.
3* Interesting paranormal romance that requires proofing.
ISBN: 9781508042204, an e-book by Alicia Rayn
Plot/Characters: A prologue recounts the story of Delilah’s shoring of Samson’s locks and subsequent devastating results. However the story insinuates that Samson did not die after destroying the temple but eventually freed himself from the ruins only to discover that he had become a vampire. As such, he turns numerous others as he continues through several thousand years looking for the treacherous woman so he can enact revenge. Through the millennia he has succeeded in controlling his blood requirements by inventing a substitute fluid and has become a powerful figure in the human financial world known as Ash Samson, He suddenly discovers Delilah, now a fund manager named Ariana. He hires her to administer his enormous wealth and begins his plan for retribution. All does not proceed as planned because of a number of interacting activities. He discovers he still has almost uncontrollable love for this Delilah/Ariana person and hesitates in proceeding with his vengeful activity. Meanwhile, James, Ariana’s husband, has been bled dry by Toria, Ash’s long-time associate and one-time concubine of the Kurdish warrior Saludin. For some vague reason and not even having heard of Ariana at the time, he saves him by giving him some of his blood but by doing so, converts him to a vampire state. Toria, has loved Ash for at least a millennium, and begins to weave a pattern to destroy Ariana. Others; a monk who has been turned, a former soldier with whom Samson had served under Alexander the Great, a younger convert who is part human, part vampire with a relation to Ariana, a maid devoted to Ash, but in some manner associated with Lilith, Adam’s first wife who had been banished from the Garden; and other characters of lesser importance become entangled in the involved conflicting desires and the tale progresses in a most active manner to its finale. A few proofing/editing errors are slightly annoying.
Conclusion: A tale that should satisfy devotees of both vampire and romance genres.
4* Should satisfy devotees of both vampire and romance genres.