This second novel in the postapocalyptic paranormal trilogy Chronicles of the One has a great sense of place and compelling characters. As this is not realistic fiction, there are a few things readers need to accept: fairies, shape shifters, a chosen one, and fuel lasting over a decade. After a pandemic almost wiped out civilization in Year One, Lana Swift learned that her baby will be The One. Fallon Swift, now 13, will spend two years training with mentor Mallick in magic, fighting skills, and leadership while completing three magical challenges. Along with Duncan and Tonia, twin teens from the appealing community of Good Hope, Fallon and her family begin the shift from survival to rebuilding. This fast-paced novel is a good readalike for the postapocalyptic Change series by S.M. Stirling, beginning with Dies the Fire, especially for its thoughtful take on how new communities grow after a disaster.
Alliance Rising by C.J. Cherryh and Jane Fancher
The dramatic, unexpected arrival of Finity’s End sparks a crisis at Alpha Station, the closest space station to Sol, which sends cargo ships every five years. Alpha Station resources have been directed to building a faster-than-light ship, which has glitches, an inexperienced crew, and too many security personnel. This is the welcome return of Cherryh and co-author Fancher to the award-winning Alliance-Union Universe, and a good place to enter a far future that includes Downbelow Station, Cyteen, Rimrunners, and Finity’s End. Told from three very different points of view: station master Ben Abrezio, navigator trainee Ross Monahan, and Finity’s senior captain JR Neihart. The space ships are owned and crewed by families, and Neihart is seeking an alliance to protect the rights of smaller ships and promote trade without being dependent on Sol or distant Cyteen. Low in violence, but with plenty of thrills and intrigue; very enjoyable space opera.
Best friends Jack and Wynn are launched on the adventure of a lifetime, canoeing the remote Maskwa River in Canada. They will have idyllic moments of camping, fishing, stargazing, and discussing books. But mostly it will be a desperate race for survival, with an approaching wildfire, rapids to run or portage around, and an increasing threat of violence from bear or man. Wynn is large and optimistic while Jack is wary and no stranger to tragedy. They’re well-prepared, until they lose some gear and rescue an injured woman. This compelling, action-packed novel is almost impossible to put down, and is a stunning, memorable read.