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review 2018-02-03 21:41
Pullman Sprinkles Some More Magic Dust!
La Belle Sauvage - Philip Pullman

When it’s been more than 20 years since the publication of an awesomely successful trilogy, there must be a temptation to just leave it alone. Notwithstanding the frenzied publicity, there’s an attendant apprehension for the (now older) fans that a savoured memory might be about to be irreparably tarnished. Of course, my bluff was called by the Christmas gift of a copy of Phillip Pullman’s prequel to the original “His Dark Materials” (my family know me so well). Though, to be fair, I did delay my gratification until January and the last remnants of festive chocolate, before gorging myself in sumptuous sessions of novel gluttony. 546 pages swept past with all the force of the flood that has beset Pullman’s parallel Oxford. And, amid the carnage, an unlikely pair of guardians for Lord Asriel’s baby daughter – Lyra Belacqua.


Still, it was reassuring to discover the author’s story-telling has not dimmed at all in the intervening years and this latest adventure unfolds at a gloriously break-neck pace. All the familiar components are present, the fascinating animal dæmons accompanying each human, like an external emotional core; the alethiometer – an instrument of almost mystical qualities, powered by ‘dust’; and the ongoing struggle between the malevolent Magisterium (church) and scientific schools of thought. Throw in a giant, a witch and a fairy and what’s not to like?!


What I do like is the seamless way Pullman has laid the foundations of the later books here and even offered some deeper explanation for why, in due course, Lyra will find herself the subject of ‘scholastic sanctuary’ at Jordan College. We haven’t learnt much more yet about the relationship between her parents, Asriel and the enigmatic Mrs Coulter, but their absence from the life of their daughter is curious, especially since the baby’s safety is instead reliant on eleven year-old Malcolm Polstead and fifteen year-old pub washer-upper, Alice. But, what great heroes they turn out to be!

 

For younger readers there’s surely a certain satisfaction in seeing these main characters outwit their elders, however, that’s not to suggest the book cannot be appreciated by an adult readership. Indeed the brutality of some scenes and the protagonist’s struggle with their part in the violence suggests that this is more than simply a tale of derring do. In any event, Pullman’s compelling storyline that pits good versus evil fizzes along and readers (young and old), can expect to be rooting for the good guys and hoping the cruel wrong’un with the three-legged hyena for a dæmon, gets his comeuppance!

 

Using Malcolm’s canoe (the ‘Belle Sauvage’), the youngsters need to navigate the flooded Thames valley and get Lyra to safety in London, traversing the natural barriers and avoiding the chasing Magisterium agents, who have other designs on the child of prophecy. For me 'His Dark Materials' set the bar very high, but I'm delighted to report that  ‘The Book of Dust’ is a magnificent romp that skilfully adds to the existing classic trilogy and has left this reader wanting more. What more could I ask for....the next two books in the new series perhaps (family take note)?

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review 2017-02-28 01:57
ARC review: SAVED BY DARKNESS by Katie Reus (4 out of 5 stars)
Saved by Darkness (Darkness Series) (Volume 6) - Katie Reus

I don’t know what it is about this author’s shifters and demons but I just cannot get enough of them. They are your typical possessive, growling, super sexy sort of supernaturals however the way they are depicted and the voice the author gives them makes all the difference.
Ian and Fiona are both dragon shifters who had to part ways a while ago because her family didn’t approve of their relationship. Cut 50 years later and they get to reunite only to have their time together shortened by evil forces beyond their control.

Like I said, Ian and Fiona are pretty much typical in the sense of that they are alpha by nature but when it came down to do what was right for everyone they were both wiling to relent power for the greater good. That’s another thing I liked about the story; the author was able to tell a believable story where there already was one true leader in the series however she managed to include other alpha characters without stripping power away from the Alpha of the whole pack.
Another favorite part of mine was that we spent more time with old characters and we finally got to meet the “sperm donor” of the half-demon siblings, which by the way are kind of my favorite characters of the whole pack.
All in all I thought it was a great story and I cannot wait to see who the next couple in the series will be. 4 stars.

*** I received this book from the author at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.***

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-09-20 19:43
And now the conclusion
Purgatory's Key: Star Trek: Legacies, Book 3 - Simon & Schuster Audio,Dayton Ward,Kevin Dilmore,Robert Petkoff

All good things must come to an end and so...I finished Purgatory's Key which is the final installment of the Legacies trilogy which you may recall me mentioning a few times (this post and this one just in case). Firstly, if you haven't read either Captain to Captain or Best Defense and you want to avoid spoilers then I'll say this: I very much enjoyed this trilogy and I think you should read it. If you want a bit of most likely spoiler-y info then stick around because I'm about to spill some beans. Okay, I hope all of those still reading are ready to be spoiled...

To catch you up a bit, there was a device called the Transfer Key which was found by the original crew of the Enterprise when captained by Robert April. This device was concealed on board the starship and the secret of its existence and power was passed down from captain to captain (and to their First Officers). One of these keepers of the secret wanted to use the Key to travel to another universe and find her lost comrades. (Three cheers for Una!) The Romulans wanted the Key because they saw it as the ultimate tool to tip the balance of power in this universe to their favor. Meanwhile, the Klingons were meeting with the Federation (with the help of Ambassador Sarek) to discuss terms to ensure peace between the two entities at the behest of the Organians (pesky people). Those on the other side of the veil in the other universe must contend with conditions that are much different to the ones that govern our universe in their bid to return home. As you might have guessed from the title, the Key is a powerful tool that for those on the wrong side of it means a kind of hellish instrument.

(spoiler show)

The conclusion to the trilogy was everything you'd want from a sci-fi adventure set in the Star Trek universe. If you're looking for a way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this amazing show then you can't go wrong with picking up the Legacies series. 9/10

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-09-11 00:28
I've gotten used to Klingons with forehead ridges
Best Defense: Star Trek: Legacies, Book 2 - Simon & Schuster Audio,David Mack,Robert Petkoff

As I mentioned when reviewing Captain to Captain, a trilogy has been written by a collection of authors to honor the 50th anniversary of Star Trek which originally aired on September 8, 1966 (I'm writing this entry on September 8, 2016 which is quite apropos.). The Legacies trilogy continues with Best Defense written by David Mack. **There will be spoilers ahead if you haven't read the first book in the trilogy. I highly suggest you do so because it's an awesome story arc. If you don't want to be spoiled then I'll just say three words to describe this sequel: Tension, determination, and frustration. That should be enough to whet your appetite.**

Captain Una has successfully used the Transfer Key to find her way to the alternate universe where her shipmates have been stranded for the past 18 years. However, it's not a simple locate and reconvene at the portal type of situation. There's something not quite right about this world... Meanwhile, Kirk and Spock are trying to retrieve the Key itself from the Romulans who stole it with the use of a spy on board the Enterprise. Without the Key they will be unable to rendezvous with Una and in the wrong hands the Key would be a formidable weapon. Amidst all of this chaos, Ambassador Sarek reaches out to the Enterprise to come to his aid in the peace talks which are taking place between the Federation and the Klingon Empire.

(spoiler show)

As you can imagine, things are not exactly smooth sailing for our favorite space explorers. If you couldn't tell, I'M LOVING IT. The conclusion to the trilogy should be up soon as I started it this morning. :-)

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2016-08-30 20:17
To boldly go...
Captain to Captain: Star Trek Legacies, Book 1 - Simon & Schuster Audio,Greg Cox,Robert Petkoff

Today's book is the beginning of a trilogy that was created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. It's a collaborative process so each book has a different author and a somewhat different style of writing. Captain to Captain by Greg Cox opens up the Legacies series with the story of Captain April of the starship Enterprise on a mission to a planet called Usilde where things are not going well for the native inhabitants. An artifact is taken from the planet and is stowed onboard the Enterprise...but no one knows of it except Captain April and his first officer, Una. This secret is passed down from captain to captain until the reader reaches the present day Captain Kirk and Commander Spock. There's malevolent aliens, covert operations, and above all the exceptional crew of the NCC-1701. This is the setup book which explains exactly what the mysterious object is and what its used for as well as introducing us to a figure which rivals Spock for keeping calm in a harrowing situation. This is Star Trek sci-fi at its best. What better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of such a magnificent show?!

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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