I’ve long been a fan of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s Liaden novels, and their latest, The Gathering Edge, doesn’t disappoint.
It’s a pleasure to watch Theo grow into her role as captain, fully bonded to her AI ship, Bechimo. I’ve no doubt she’ll continue to grow in interesting ways as the edge continues to gather. Certainly she has the makings of a delm. And Hevelin–that noble norbear makes me smile and cheer … and be a bit afraid. And Joyita, it’s so very cool to see that AI develop as an individual so distinct from Bechimo.
One of the many things I enjoy about this novel is that, while tying together threads in many of the more recent books, it focuses almost entirely on Theo and her immediate company. That singular focus supports strong character development and underscores the ways in which Theo’s crew (really, they are more like a family — or clan) come together and interlock, supporting one another.
If none of the above makes sense to you, then this book isn’t the place to start exploring the Liaden Universe. But explore that universe, yes, indeed, you should.
The light-hearted tone and good-hearted characters in Thianna D.’s A Shifter, a Vampire, and a Fae Walk into a Bar make this romantic fantasy novel a delightful read, especially if you’re in a bad mood and just want to get away from it all. The heroine is a human, the hero is a shapeshifter who can take wolf form (“not a werewolf”, he insists), and the secondary characters include vampires, fae, demons, warlocks, and other supernatural beings, which makes an entertaining mix. This is the first book in a series, and much of the plot centers on the main characters coming together and becoming closer, creating their own little family of friends and eventually a home for themselves beyond space and time. Because the characters are so likable, it’s easy to root for them to succeed, and it’s easy to see why they are drawn to one another.
This isn’t a novel full of frustrating drama or deep angst or deadly danger, and the romance isn’t stuffed with endless longing or heated sex scenes. Instead, the book is soothingly humorous, and the sex is mostly off-screen and sweet. This is one of those novels that makes the world a little brighter.