Monday, May 16, 2016

Review: "The Shepherd's Crown" by Terry Pratchett

With only a handful of books by the late Terry Pratchett that I haven’t read and only one of those in the Discworld, I’ve put off “The Shepherd’s Crown” ($18.99, HarperCollins) for months. Once I finished it, I knew that, on some level, this world that I’ve enjoyed exploring for the past quarter of a century or so has come to an end.

Eventually, though, you have to accept that reality, and so it was with mixed feelings that I finally cracked the cover on Tiffany Aching’s last adventure and Terry Pratchett’s final Discworld novel.

“The Shepherd’s Crown” begins with a major shift in the power on the Disc. The formidable Esme Weatherwax is preparing to meet Death for the final time. Part of that preparation, of course, is choosing her successor as the leader of the witches, though, of course, no one would suggest to the witches that they have a such thing as a leader.

To the surprise of all, Granny Weatherwax taps Tiffany Aching, the young witch from the Chalk, who has shown much promise.

But more challenges await Tiffany than just proving herself worthy to the other witches. The elves, long held at bay by Granny Weatherwax’s power, see her death as an opportunity to once again wreak havoc in the world. Tiffany will need the help of all of the witches, her fierce friends the Nac Mac Feegle and a strange new apprentice to stop them.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Review: "She Who Waits," by Daniel Polansky

After enjoying the first two books in the series, it took me a while to get around to Daniel Polansky’s “She Who Waits,” ($13.99, Hodder), the final volume of the Low Town trilogy.

For those unfamiliar, the books center on a character known as the Warden, a former war hero and government agent turned drug dealer. He owns the streets of his home, a grimy, impoverished and crime-ridden warren known as Low Town. But even in a place like Low Town, he can’t escape his past.

There’s a new drug on the market, called Red Fever, which can induce violent rages. The users are often aware of the horrific acts they’re committing, but unable to stop themselves. It’s a calling card that’s familiar to the Warden from his days in secret police unit Black House.

Meanwhile, a religious organization, the Sons of Sakra is making a play for Black House’s power. The Old Man, leader of Black House, calls on his former agent to infiltrate the Sons and find out their plan, but the Sons have also called on the Warden for information on Black House. It finds the Warden doing a dangerous dance as a double agent that puts him and everyone that he cares for in jeopardy.