Used price: $5.25
Collectible price: $14.82
So a review of the book - If you are the sort of person who likes this sort of thing, you are the sort of person who likes this sort of thing.
And of the author - If you are the sort of person who writes this sort of thing, you are the sort of person who writes this thing.
Irredeemable, really, but five stars for trying.
Used price: $1.24
Collectible price: $3.18
One day, the first officer of a spaceliner brought in a ring with a dull stone that was found in interstellar space, far from any star, on the finger of a spacesuited corpse. The crude stone is plain and cloudy, but has a remarkable hardness. The stone gives an impression of great power to Hywel and Murdoc, but not to the rest of the family. Hywel is obsessed with the stone and arranges an apprenticeship for Murdoc with Vondar Ustle, a master gemologist who searches for new sources of precious stones, so that Murdoc can search for more information on the ring and stone. Hywel is well satisfied with his life as apprentice to Vondar and, when he returns for a visit, finds that he no longer fits into his family. One evening, Hywel stays home to conduct some business while the rest of the family goes to a party. Leaving the party earlier, Murdoc returns home to find his father tied to his chair, bloody and dead. Murdoc takes the ring and stone from its hiding place and leaves his home forever.
In this novel, Murdoc and Vondar have come to Koonga City on Tanth searching for gems. They are dining in a taproom when the Green Robes, native priests, enter, spin their selection wheel to point between Murdoc and Vondar, and try to take both men. Murdoc kills one priest, fights his way clear, and then finds sanctuary with the priests of Noskald. These priests arrange for a Free Trader, the Vestris, to take Murdoc off-world. The crew treats him in a distant, but civil manner, but his only companion is the ship's cat, Valcyr. When the ship sets down on a primitive planet, Valcyr accompanies Murdoc as he explores the area. When Murdoc finds some bits of a curiously dull black substance that forms an extremely hard but fuzzy oval, Valcyr takes the largest specimen and starts to lick it. Murdoc tries to take it away from her, but gets clawed for his efforts. When a crewman tries to get the specimen, Valcyr runs off with it and hides. Murdoc and the crewman find her again, but she then swallows it.
When they return to the ship, the Medico tests Valcyr and the specimens; he determines that the black ovals are alive at a low level as if hibernating and that Valcyr is now pregnant. Since there is a possibility that Valcyr is not carrying ordinary kittens, she is locked in a cage within the sick bay. About four weeks later, she disappears from the cage and is next seen in Murdoc's cabin with a newborn animal, Eet, that is not a kitten. And then Murdoc finds himself covered with purple blotches and feeling feverish. At this point, Murdoc and Eet leave the Vestris, Murdoc in a spacesuit and Eet in a clear-sided box, to escape the plague-fearing, frantic crew.
This novel has some of the signature characteristics of the author's space adventure tales, including the outcast Murdoc, the telepathic Eet, and alien artifacts. However, this story is one of the wanderlust kind, much like Star Man's Son and the Solar Queen series, where the hero/heroine goes on to discover new adventures.
The creature Eet is rather unique in the author's space adventures, having a human level of intelligence, yet possessing an animal body. Eet combines the friendly alien, symbiotic animal, and mutated talents aspects of these tales, all in one body, sort of a highly evolved version of the meerkats in The Beast Master.
While this story is not one of my favorites, it still provides the same high level of storycraft one expects of the author. The characters are interesting but not as enthralling as some of the other tales. The relationship between Murdoc and Eet is not clear, but one feels as if Eet is much superior to Murdoc, yet is handicapped by his inadequate body. Is Murdoc a pet to Eet?
Recommended for Norton fans and anyone who enjoys space adventures involving a young hero and a mysterious alien.
Norton's vision of a universe awash in ancient, eerie alien rubble, and her vivid planetscapes, are incomparably haunting.
Used price: $1.95
Collectible price: $2.85
Buy one from zShops for: $9.95
Used price: $1.95
Collectible price: $4.95
Buy one from zShops for: $11.98
Used price: $4.45
Collectible price: $6.41
Used price: $6.00
Collectible price: $10.59
Buy one from zShops for: $17.95
"Falcon Blood", "Toads of Grimmerdale", "Changeling", "Spider Silk", "Sword of Unbelief", "Sand Sister" - see my review of _Lore of the Witch World_.
"Toys of Tamisan" - This Ty-Kry story and its sequel, "Ship of Mist", can be found in Norton's Ty-Kry collection _Perilous Dreams_ (see my review for details). Although it appeared without its sequel in _High Sorcery_, it shows to best advantage with the other stories set in the same world. Briefly, Tamisan is an action dreamer - one of the fabled women who live only to create dreamworlds where clients can experience the adventures they desire. But unlike other dreamers, Tamisan isn't absorbed in the toys of her own creation - she's aware of the real world, and her new owner, as more than just raw material.
"Wizards' Worlds" - Formerly titled "Wizard's World", this one previously appeared in the collection _High Sorcery_ (see my review). It isn't a Witch World story; so far it stands alone. Craike, an Esper whose cover was blown in a setup, is no longer fleeing even for his life - just for the chance to die rather than face torture and forced betrayal of his comrades. But when he dives into a dry gorge in the desert, he surfaces in a raging river in another world, his desperation coupled with ESP having opened a gate.
"Mousetrap" - From _The Book of Andre Norton_. If you like Norton's Solar Queen stories, this one's setting has a similar flavor. Every bright boy with a new variety of glue wants to try it out on the mysterious sand statues of Mars - as with building a better mousetrap, it'll make a fortune if a statue can be handled and moved safely.
"Were-Wrath" - This doesn't seem to be a Witch World story, and bears no relation to the Were Riders. Lady Thra, a refugee from the south, has just seen the last of her men hanged by the lord of the valley below the forest. Compared to the horrors she's seen, a hut with carvings depicting the life of a young were-creature seems a small enough risk to run.
"By a Hair" - A stand-alone story from _High Sorcery_, set in a tiny European valley occupied in one war by the Nazis, only to descend into an even more terrible bondage under the Soviets. The surviving fighting men still remember the ways of guerilla warfare, but there's no defense against the treachery of an ambitious woman - or is there?
"All Cats Are Gray" - From _The Book of Andre Norton_, an SF story with a Solar Queenesque flavor.
"Swamp Dweller" - This was written for the 1st _Magic in Ithkar_ anthology, so if you want a proper grounding in the Ithkar universe, you should pick up a copy. It stands fine on its own, but it's more pleasant to see it in an all-Ithkar setting. (I'll refer you to that book rather than trying to describe Ithkar here, though.)
Used price: $2.99
Collectible price: $5.29
Used price: $4.95
Collectible price: $12.00
Buy one from zShops for: $18.95
Used price: $5.95
Buy one from zShops for: $11.86
Alice through the Looking Glass is similar to the prequel, yet glaringly different. The whole book revolves around a chess game, and so the character's actions correspond to moves on the chessboard. Alice joins in the game, starts out as a white pawn, and proceeds to move until she becomes a queen. At each square, she meets a new character, but in one chapter, characters from the previous book are in this one too. An important thing to know in this famous classic is that everything is backwards. It makes sense since Alice is on the other side of a mirror, yet she encounters difficulty sometimes in understanding this. But in the end, she manages to become a queen and to checkmate the red king. Both books are very enjoyable, and I strongly advocate both children and adults to read it. Enjoy!! Cheers!!!!! : )
AAIW is about a young girl named Alice whose boring day with her sister is interrupted when a white rabbit runs by her saying, "Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!" Alice's curiosity is aroused, but surprisingly not to a great degree. This is the first hint to the reader that Alice is not an average child, as she seems to believe that a talking rabbit is quite normal. She does become intrigued, though, when the rabbit produces a clock from his pocket, so she follows it down its hole and enters a world of wonder. I loved the story from this point on. It is filled with such unbelievable creatures and situations, but Carroll's writing style made me want to believe in a world that could be filled with so much magic and splendor. There was never a dull moment in the story, and each page was filled with more excitement. I will offer a warning, though. This story is not for those who like a neatly packaged plotline. It is written in a somewhat discontinuous nature and seems to follow some sort of dream logic where there are no rules. However, I enjoyed the nonsensical pattern. Without it, a dimension of the story would be lost. It offers some insight into the mind of a young, adventurous, fearless girl, and Carroll seems to be challenging his readers to be more like Alice.
The second text in this book, TTLG, is again a story about Alice. In this adventure, Alice travels through a wondrous world on the other side of her looking glass. As in AAIW, Alice again encounters absurd creatures, such as live chess pieces and talking flowers. The land she travels through is an oversized chessboard, which gives this story a more structured plot than AAIW. The chess theme provides Alice with sense of what she must accomplish in the looking- glass world, and it provides the reader with a sense of direction throughout the story. Alice's goal is to become a chess queen, so the reader knows that when she becomes queen, the story will be over. However, just because the story has some structure does not mean that it is not just as wild and marvelous as its predecessor. I enjoyed all of the characters. They seem to have an endless supply of advice that people in the 21st century can still learn from. My favorite example is when the Red Queen says, "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!" Maybe what Carroll is suggesting is that if we read more nonsensical, unbelievable stories like his, we won't be so afraid to be adventurous and fearless like Alice; so that the next time a white rabbit runs by us, we might just see where it leads us.
Used price: $0.02
Collectible price: $3.95
Buy one from zShops for: $3.50
The story is fun, beleivable, and full of mystery surrounding the ancient citizens of the planet, the vanished ones. It is fairly easy to read because the authors did not add too much description, or confusing topics, which often take away the pleasure of reading.
The charcters came to life for me because their personalities were so human. Also, although I am not a feminist, I enjoyed the fact that the main characters Kadiyah, Haramis, and Anigel are women, which is a good change from many other fantasy stories that have either men as the lead characters or super-strong and unrealistic women running around and beating everyone up, (*cough*Xena-wannabees*cough), excuse me.
Black Trillium has all the elements that make an excellent story. The only problem that I had with it is that the ending seemed to be a little slapped together because it was so short.
This is when all three sisters confront The bad guy, Orogastus, together for the first time. About two short chapters later, the story ends. This dosen't create any loose ends, but it does take some of the momentum that the story had built up.