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Book Reviews: The Summoner +To Dream in The City of Sorrows +Odyssey +10 Others

The Summoner: Book one of the Chronicles of the Necromancer by Gail Z. Martin
This promising series started out well and then just ended. It is full of standard fantasy tropes: an evil prince who does contemptible behaviour, a magic sword, particularly lurid rituals, goddess magic, mages and an exiled prince full of significant motivating factors and issues of principle plotting to take back the throne. But it is enjoyable and cosy and instead of being loudly unimpressed by the insubstantial plot and characters you enjoy the outrageous nocturnal goings on and look forward to the vacuous Tris taking on the taker, user and overall big minus Jared and his insidious and pervasive negative belief system.

The royal family of Margolan is un-normal. The heir Jared usurps the throne and shouts very aggressively after years of low level poor behaviour which was allowed to escalate. Jared is all about evil, ostentatious decadence and despising poor people. His younger half brother Tris knew his persistent negative thoughts about Jared were right and flees from Jared’s crude acquisitiveness and total disconnect from sanity. Who will stop Jared’s brutal injustices? Why Tris, his merry men and Tris’ suddenly discovered necromancer magic.

Jared sits on the throne displaying wilful nihilism and demanding narcissism. So Tris better get questing and master his powers, get a magic sword, meet his future wife with her out of touch moralising and become a true contender for the throne. The plot is facile and there is wilful ignorance of world building or originality but it is compulsively readable. Jared is so evil it borders on camp as he rejects accountability and does bad things with ferocity and creates unconscionable horror in one dimensional downright awful villain fashion.

Tris is a hero with friends who are a bunch of dude-bros with names that seem to come from Martin randomly mashing the keypad with her fist. They have stereotypical character traits. Everything is excruciatingly recognisable and clichéd down to the ‘romance’ and Tris’ dumb resignation to being manipulated by his dead witch grandmother and her conspiratorial stage whispering. Oddly the dead witch grandmother did nothing about the irrational, difficult, catastrophe of swaggering selfishness Jared.

The big brother on brother fight takes place in book 2; but one wonders if Jared became the dung of the devil due to rejection, abuse, neglect, isolation and being made increasingly unwelcome in his own castle by his personality free stepmother, spoilt brat half siblings and witch step grandmother. This is not relentlessly logical despite exposition dumps and originality being paid slight attention but it engrosses you.

Best Lines:
“All our spies report the same thing, that he murdered his family to seize the throne-”

“They fear you, but they do not hate you. Yet.”

“So we permitted people to believe.”

“We have gone to the crypts and summoned the spirits of my fathers, and once, we turned a demon.”

“I have helped grandmother with battle scryings.”

“Because I could not let him live had he chosen darkness.”

“Only a few in a generation receive the gift.”

“Never may you reanimate a corpse.”

“You father’s never allowed falcons at the table in the manor,

“With a nervous glance and a sign of warding.”

“Hoped it was a sign Jared was growing out of his brawls and wenching.”

Babylon 5 #9: To Dream in The City of Sorrows by Kathryn M. Drennan
This 1997 novel ties up various plot threads concerning Sinclair, Marcus, Catherine Sakai and the Rangers. Unfortunately it is done in dull, derisory fashion to non-negligible effect. It’s too niche and leaves one unimpressed by the motiveless Shadows and the creepy cult like Rangers. I don’t care about the White Star ships or the Minbari and their assumed inherent superiority.

Best Lines:
“And can never return.”

“You had a rather peculiar way of showing it.”

“Stay close to the Vorlorn and watch out for shadows. They move when you’re not looking.”

Quantum Leap: Odyssey by Barbara E. Walton
This 1995 novel is another in the long line of inept novels like ‘Angels Unaware’, ‘Foreknowledge’, ‘Heatwave’, ‘Independence’, ‘Obsessions’, ‘Song and Dance’, ‘The Wall’, ‘The Beginning’, ‘Too Close For Comfort’, ‘Millennium’, ‘Carny Knowledge’, ‘The Ghost and the Gumshoe’, ‘Prelude’, ‘Random Measures’ and ‘Pulitzer’. Sam leaps into a tween boy in 1983 and has to save a gifted students programme from being shut down. Sam is rude to Al and Al dresses like a colour blind pimp. There is classism, selfishness and the rural poor need Sam’s help. This is a hateful experience.

Best Line:
“I didn’t wind up running a drug ring and neither did any of my friends.”

Babylon 5: Thirdspace by Peter David
An inept novelisation.

Babylon 5: Legions of Fire 1: The Long Night of Centauri Prime by Peter David
Terrible Londo novel.

Babylon 5: The PSI Corps Trilogy 1: Dark Genesis by J. Gregory Keyes
A dense tale of the origin of the PSI Corps and the origins of Bester and Lyta Alexander. This was dull.

Babylon 5: The Passing of the Techno-Mages Book 1: Casting Shadows by Jeanne Cavelos
A dull tale about the techno-mages and Galen.

Babylon 5: The Passing of the Techno-Mages Book 2: Summoning Light by Jeanne Cavelos
This 2001 novel is a dull, padding filled tale of techno-mages, Galen’s endless manpain and the big reveal of the source of the techno-mages ‘magic’. Matthew Gideon makes a cameo.

Best Lines:
“That was what they all were.”

“You’re a strange difficult person.”

“There is no excuse and no forgiveness.”

“Agents of chaos who would bring death and destruction wherever they went.”

“I have no message from God. He says he wants no part of you.”

“With luck, you will never see our kind again in your lifetime.”

Babylon 5 #1: Voices by John Vornholt
This 1995 novel sees Talia Winters in trouble. Dull.

Babylon 5 #2: Accusations by Lois Tilton
This 1995 novel sees Susan Ivanova in trouble and has the exact same dull plot as ‘Voices’.

Babylon 5 #7: The Shadow Within by Jeanne Cavelos
This 1997 tale of Anna Sheridan and Morden on the IPX expedition to Z’ha’dum is full of padding and is sour and unsatisfactory.

Babylon 5 #4: Clark’s Law by Jim Mortimore
This 1995 novel is incoherent with no lasting repercussions.

Hollywood Wives (1983)
This expose is an okay tale of the rich and famous up to no good.
Tags: 2nd hand book store find, babylon 5, book review, quantum leap

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