Sunday, November 27, 2011

Persy -- Dragons of the Valley by Donita K. Paul

The three statues stabilizing the very thread of the world have been saved. They're in the right spot, and harmony has been restored. But is the adventure over for Tipper Schope, Grattapot-morphit Bealomon-dore, and the rest of the gang? Not hardly.

War is brewing between Chiril and a neighboring country, and they must keep the statues safe. They are sent away into hiding in one of the little-known kimen villages, with Tipper, Bealomondore, Fenworth, and Librettowit as their guardians. But they can't just sit idly by while Verrin Schope, Lady Peg, and Paladin save the day! Soon everyone is actively involved in an epic quest to save Chiril!

Let me just say, this book is so much better than the first one. It's easier to understand, had more enjoyable characters, and was set at a quicker pace. It focused more on my favorite characters, Bealomondore and Lady Peg, and also introduced a new one to add to my collection of favorites: the perky little kimen Hollee.

That said, it's still far from one of the best books out there. It might be faster paced than the first book, but it's still pretty slow.

And then there's the matter of Tipper. While she was an acceptable main character in the first book, in this one she's just plain annoying. I mean, she leads Bealomondore on for almost the entire book! Meanie pants.

Donita K. Paul also needs to develop her fight scenes a little. Dragons of the Valley does have more fighting than The Vanishing Sculptor, (it is about a war), but the battles last for only a brief paragraph always ending with "At last so and so won the battle." In this book, Bealomondore gets his own sword and soon becomes a master swordsman, and it's a shame we don't get to hear more about his amazing talent than "he whipped out his magic sword..."

But once you get all that out of the way, there are some parts I simply adored. Lady Peg really gets to shine in this one, engaging in a full conversation of twists and turns with an evil spy that leaves him thinking there's a complex system of code words and meanings.

Miss Paul also came up with a surprisingly good villain (though he could've been better, in my opinion). The Grawl, half man half beast with super human intelligence and hunting capabilities. So dangerous he could bring down Chiril, and all the dragons, singlehanded. Well, sort of.

And then there's Wulder. If you remember from the review in October, I didn't really like the God figure in the first book. But this time, he seems appropriately God-like and awe-inspiring. Bealomondore uses one of the best lines ever that is so true when he says, "As an artist, I have no doubt that someone created all you see. There is no picture without an artist."


You might like this if you: read the first book and wished it'd been better; like Christian fantasy or adventure/fantasy; quirky fantasy like The Ratastrophe Catastrophe by David Lee Stone; or if you saved the world from unraveling but are worried about your annoying neighbor messing it all up again.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know, I've been a bit absent the past week. No review, no Wednesday Scrolls...But it's a holiday, so I'm on vacation *wink*.

And plus, this is The Moonlit Library of the Underworld's 101st post! Awesome, right? So, naturally, we're celebrating it with a little break.

Seriously, have a very Happy Thanksgiving this year, and let's not forget who we're thanking.

Now go eat a ton and then sit down with a good book to let it all digest.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Persy -- Wednesday Scrolls - Literary Heroines Who Don't Suck, Other Arena

You know what I think this saga needs? A theme song. Maybe some Robert Kral? An epic intro would be epic. *cue awesome soundtrack*

We've had the lists. Fantasy. Urban Fantasy. Classic & History. Other.
We've had three shows in the Arena. Fantasy. Urban Fantasy. Classic & History. And now, for the conclusion. After this episode, we will be moving on into the next round, where the genres are mixed and the TRUE battle begins!

But anyway. Refresh your memory on the contestants, and then we'll get started!

Our first pair is... Frankie Landau-Banks (The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, E. Lockhart) vs. Gratuity "Tip" Tucci (The True Meaning of Smekday, Adam Rex)!

Category One. Personality.

Frankie certainly wouldn't have gotten as far as she did if she didn't have personality. She's a mastermind in a teenage girl's body, taking control of an entire (secret) organization at her boarding school without anyone knowing. And she has flaws that she herself corrects (she's a mastermind after all). She learns to be her own bear instead of the bear (er, girl) others assume she should be.

Tip is very matter of fact. She has serious guts. I mean, it's not like she went on a road trip with only a cat and an alien while the world was being ruled by aliens, and it's certainly not like she saved the world or anything. And she did it all while being awesome!

Winner: Frankie. She's smart enough to turn any situation to her advantage, and Tip wasn't too concerned about the whole thing to begin with.

Category Two. Fight!

Frankie's power lays in her mind. She certainly couldn't beat you up (she's tiny), but she'd more than make up for it afterwards.

Tip is also tiny, but better at using it to her advantage. She's stealthy and quick on her feet.

Winner: Tip. They're evenly matched when it comes to actual fighting, but Tip has more experience and is more resourceful.

Category Three. "Kiss Me, You Fool!"

Frankie can't believe it when the hottest, and smartest, guy asks her out, the guy she's liked for years. But he does, and they get together, and she's really happy. Until she discovers his true personality (he's really annoying)!

Tip's like, twelve. It's refreshing that she has no love interest at all.

Winner: Frankie. While her actual boyfriend may be an idiot, she gets points because her relationship truly grows. Plus, Tip didn't have a thing to contribute.

Category Four. Friends.

Frankie's got one best friend, but even she doesn't know all of Frankie's secrets. She doesn't have a true best friend.

Tip has a cat and an alien. Oh yeah.

Winner: Tip. You really can't beat J.Lo the alien.

Category Five. Juggling.

Frankie's not too awesome at it at first, but she practices nonstop until she masters it. Estimated Time Spent Mastering: three days.

Tip gets the basics easily, but doesn't care enough to spend a ton of time mastering it. Estimated Time Spent Mastering: two weeks.

Winner: Frankie.

End Score! Frankie: 3 Tip: 2 Congratulations, Frankie! We'll be seeing you next time! Sorry, Tip, but you didn't care much in the first place, right?

And our second fighting pair is...Haruhi Fujioka (Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori) vs. Jasmine Callihan (Bad Kitty, Michele Jaffe)!

Category One. Personality.

Haruhi's strong, independant, and smart. She's not a feminist, but she doesn't see the point in distinguishing between males and females (no matter how many times she gets into situations where it would matter). She's always been poor and practically on her own, and it takes her a while to discover that sometimes you should ask for help.

Jasmine, while not poor, certainly has a hard life. Her father's a tyrant, won't let her study forensics (her dream), and abruptly moves them all to Italy whenever he feels like it. But this doesn't stop Jasmine from being totally awesome and totally hilarious. She's very smart, and probably the funniest main character ever.

Winner: Draw. Haruhi's good at arguing when she gets worked up, but Jasmine's easily distracted. Nevertheless, Jasmine keeps getting the upper hand with her humor and keeps on confusing Haruhi. They finally both get exhausted and leave.

Category Two. Fight!

Haruhi's pretty shrimpy, and the few times she's gotten into a fight (or slapped someone, rather), she mostly relied on the element of surprise. When she doesn't have that, she usually loses.

Jasmine's not quite coordinated enough to be good in a fight, but she knows enough about forensics to at least know what makes a good weapon.

Winner: Jasmine. Neither of them are very good, but Jasmine eventually wins.

Category Three. "Kiss Me, You Fool!"

Haruhi's got many love interests (it's shoujo manga, after all), but her main one is Tamaki. He's hilarious and doesn't really understand his feelings for Haruhi, but he tries everything to please and protect her.

Jasmine has her super awesome boyfriend Jack, who she's absolutely in love with. They're adorable together.

Winner: Haruhi. She spends more time with Tamaki than Jasmine does with Jack, so we get to know him better.

Category Four. Friends.

Haruhi has the entire Host Club, composed of an evil mastermind, two scheming twins, a strong and silent protecter, and deceptively cute martial artist. And Tamaki, of course.

Jasmine has her own band of merry men, including Polly the fashion expert (who always puts protection in her latest outfits), and the twins Roxy and Tom.

Winner: Haruhi. The Host Club just barely beats Jasmine's crew. Barely.

Category Five. Juggling.

Haruhi's not great at that sort of thing, but she's good at pretty much everything, so she picks it up quickly. Estimated Time Spent Mastering: One day (in the world of manga, it'd only take long enough for Mori to bribe her with fancy tuna).

Jasmine's a bit clumsy, so it takes her a while, but she's determined, so she gets it done! Estimated Time Spent Mastering: Almost a month.
Winner: Haruhi.

End Score! Haruhi: 3 Jasmine: 1 Draws: 1 Congrats, Haruhi! We all know you really wanted to move on to the next round! And I'm really sorry, Jas, but I was going to reread your book anyway.

And our last battle is... Audrey Cuttler (Audrey, Wait!, Robin Benway) vs. Shahara Dagan (Born of Fire, Sherrilyn Kenyon)!

Category One. Personality.

Audrey's snarky, grumpy, whiny, hilarious, and loves music. In a word, she's realistic. And yet, still likeable! Plus she has real character growth.

Shahara is a bit more 2D. She has layers, of course, with secret desires and thoughts and unexpectedness in general, but she's not the most unique crayon in the box.

Winner: Audrey. If they were crayons, she'd be Jazzberry Jam while Shahara would simply be Red.

Category Two. Fight!

Audrey would certainly punch you if you asked for it, but it's not her strong point.
Shahara, on the other hand, beats people up for a living.
Winner: Shahara, without a doubt.

Category Three. "Kiss Me, You Fool!"

Audrey's entire story is about her breakup with her ex-boyfriend, but amidst the chaos, she's discovering that her coworker actually has a personality, and is awesome.

Shahara falls for her latest mark, one of the worst criminals in the universe. Perhaps they're a cliché, but they do it well.

Winner: Shahara. She and Syn are just a bit awesomer than Audrey and James.

Category Four. Friends.

Audrey's best friend Victoria is certainly annoying, but she's also the one who practically smacks Audrey in the face and tells her to grow up (which is good).

Shahara's only real friends are her family, and they don't even really count.

Winner: Audrey. Victoria may be annoying, but she's still there and she still really cares about Audrey.

Category Five. Juggling.

It takes her more than a few times, but Audrey gets it pretty easily. Estimated Time Spent Mastering: one week.

Shahara expects it to be easy, but has more trouble than anticipated. She gets frustrated too easily. Estimated Time Spent Mastering: one month.

Winner: Audrey.

End Score! Audrey: 3 Shahara: 2 Congratulations, Audrey! You move on to the next round! Don't worry about it, Shahara, you can still beat her up.

Our Other finalists are: Frankie Landau-Banks, Haruhi Fujioka, and Audrey Cuttler! Next week we'll be moving on into the REAL battle, when the genres mix and the it gets truly dangerous!


Friday, November 11, 2011

Arty -- No Passengers Beyond This Point by Gennifer Choldenko

You can't ask for more radically different siblings than the Tompkins kids. India, 14-year-old big sister, is your typical teen. Hates her mom, loves her friend, wishes she didn't have siblings. Finn is the family worrier - everything bad that can happen, he can imagine it. The baby of the family, Mouse, is a six-year-old genius kid with endless questions and an imaginary friend named Bing.

Then their single mom (their dad died before Mouse was born) has to sell their house, and the three siblings are shipped off to Colorado to stay with their uncle, while Mom stays to finish school so she can get a job. The plane has a little trouble on the way to Colorado, but they get there eventually... don't they?

Maybe not. Where they land certainly isn't the Colorado they know. Finn, India, and Mouse are going to have to work together if they want to make it out together. The question is, do they really want to make it out together?

Gennifer Choldenko is, for me, the Al Capone Does My Shirts/Shines My Shoes lady. Those are some great books. Like those, most of her other books are realistic fiction - school fiction, I guess. So No Passengers is something of a departure for her.

And it shows. The characters, as are typical of her writing, are awesome. I love Finn (though he could be exchanged easily for Al Capone's Moose Flanagan), and Mouse is actually adorable. I usually can't stand little kid geniuses, but she was so cute - not over-the-top smart or ridiculously mature, just very intelligent. I even appreciated India sometimes, though mostly I just wanted to hit her in the head.

What sunk No Passengers was the setting. You get the sense that there's something otherworldly to this city, Falling Bird, but you're not really sure what it looks like. There are lots of feathers and amazing technology and tunnels everywhere, but the details and mechanics aren't there. Of course, this is a middle-school-aged book, so I wasn't expecting Great Expectations, but some more description would have benefited.

Some of the action about three-fourths of the way through got rushed, too. That's where more description really would have helped out the story, because without a clear picture of how Falling Bird was constructed, what was going on felt disjointed and hazy.

BUT. Before you start thinking, Hmmm, I'd better just skip this one, let me tell you about the last two chapters.

You want closure, but not gooey happy full-circle-ness? You want answers but nothing spelled out in billboard letters? Gennifer Choldenko has it down. Ask Persy - I just screamed at her that I finally understand what several key plot points meant in the story. And I read that book over a week ago. Choldenko's that crafty. (I guess you could argue for confusing writing, but I really don't think that's the case. It's that she doesn't spoonfeed you. You shouldn't need everything handed over on a silver platter.)

So it's not a perfect book, but it's a fun one. It's an engaging one. It's a clever one. And it's an oddly sobering one in the end. And I'll definitely be giving it another read after a while, so I can pick up other things that I didn't the first time around. So, basically? Read it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wednesday Scrolls - Literary Heroines Who Don't Suck, Classic & Historical Arena

And we're back with the next installment of Literary Heroines Who Don't Suck! We are now in the Arena stage, and have already seen Fantasy and Urban Fantasy heroines battle it out. Now the Classic & Historical heroines are here to compete. Refresh your memory with the contestants here.

And our first pair is... Mara (Mara, Daughter of the Nile, Eloise Jarvis McGraw) vs. Cat Royal (Cat Royal series, Julia Golding)!

Category One. Personality.

Mara's firey spirit is vibrant and stubborn, allowing her to survive in all kinds of situations and come out near the top. She's incredibly intelligent and good at persuasion.

Cat also has a strong survival instinct. She's quick with her feet and her mind, and sometimes her tongue.

Winner: Mara. It's a very long argument, strong insults are exchanged and they almost come to blows, but Mara wins in the end.

Category Two. Fight!

Mara's learned to use words instead of fists, but that hardly means she doesn't slap people around from time to time.

In a fistfight, Cat's pretty useless. She relies on her resourcefulness and quick feet to survive.
Winner: Mara. Again, it's a very long, drawn-out fight, Cat being too quick for Mara to catch. But Mara finally uses her wits to outsmart Cat.

Category Three. "Kiss Me, You Fool!"

Mara, the double-agent slave, and Sheftu the secret agent duke person!

Cat and...well, no one, really. She's got potential romance, but she's too young to even care. Good for her!

Winner: Mara, by default. And because Sheftu is awesome.

Category Four. Friends.

Mara, being a slave and a double agent, doesn't have any real friends, just some friendly acquaintances.

Cat's got a varied collection, including a violin-playing slave, two wealthy children, and the head of a street gang.
Winner: Cat, mostly be default.

Category Five. Historic Atmosphere.

Mara, the lucky gal, lives in Ancient Egypt, so her story is entirely plausible and feels fine.

Cat is from Victorian London, which leaves less to be imagined, but still feels perfectly acceptable unless you're a history fanatic.

Winner: Draw. I'm not good at history.

End Score! Mara: 3 Cat: 1 Draws: 1 Congratulations, Mara! You move on to the next round! Don't worry Cat, you probably didn't care to begin with.

And our second fighting pair is...Marguerite St. Just (The Scarlet Pimpernel, Baroness Orczy) vs. Emily Trefusis (Murder At Hazelmoor, Agatha Christie)!

Category One. Personality.

Marguerite is a kind, marginally happy young woman with a strong spirit and lots of nerve.

Emily is very sharp and observant, and knows how to use her pretty smile.

Winner: Emily. She's more comfortable with diving into an argument and so has an advantage.

Category Two. Fight!

Marguerite may slap an attacker if her life depended on it, but fighting does not come naturally to her.

Emily is very similar, and wouldn't really know what to do in a fight.

Winner: Draw. Neither contestant will strike first.

Category Three. "Kiss Me, You Fool!"

Marguerite and Sir Percy, AKA The Scarlet Pimpernel! Yeees!
Emily and her fiancé. Even she admits he's a weakling, but loves him nonetheless.

Winner: Marguerite. Emily's devotion and love certainly are admirable, but Marguerite and Percy are way more interesting.

Category Four. Friends.

Marguerite ends up with no true friends, and no one to trust besides the mysterious Scarlet Pimpernel...

Emily teams up with Charles, a reporter who falls in love with her.

Winner: Marguerite. The Scarlet Pimpernel definitely beats a love-sick reporter.

Category Five. Historic Atmosphere.

Marguerite lives in the middle of the French Revolution, portraying the chaos and tension very well.

Emily is much more modern, in the early 1900s.

Winner: Marguerite. Even the French Revolution is more interesting than the 1930s

End Score! Marguerite: 3 Emily: 1 Draws: 1 Congratulations, Marguerite! You're moving on to the next round! Don't worry, Emily, you just go back to your pathetic fiancé.

And our last pair is...Mary "Jacky" Faber (Bloody Jack series, L.A. Meyer) vs. Rosalind Hawkins (The Fire Rose, Mercedes Lackey)!

Category One. Personality.

Jacky's fun-loving, witty, strong personality developed out of neccessity, but that's perfectly fine because she's hilarious and a proper trickster.

Rose is a perfect example of what a historic heroine should be: not obsessed with women's rights, not gushing over fashion, and smart and capable. She doesn't even think about her station as a woman, and that's absolutely refreshing.

Winner: Draw. Jacky might win any argument they have, but Rose has a certain dignity in maintaining her somewhat confused silence.

Category Two. Fight!

Jacky can fight. She's good with guns, swords, cannons, and her own fists. Watch out, world.

Rose, on the other hand, being a proper lady, can't fight at all.

Winner: Jacky, obviously.

Category Three. "Kiss Me, You Fool!"

Jacky's undying devotion to her true love Jaimy is sweet, but Jaimy's hardly ever in the books.

Rose and James, Beauty and the Beast.

Winner: Rose. Jacky gets points for refusing the hordes of men she leaves in her wake, but Rose and James are so wonderful.

Category Four. Friends.

You can't count the number of people Jacky befriends. Half the world owes her favors and the other half wants her dead.

Rose, on the other hand, is rather friendless.

Winner: Jacky. I expect her friends would still win even if Rose had anyone to bring to the table.

Category Five. Historic Atmosphere.

I'm pretty sure Jacky's world isn't exactly what it was like in the 19th century, but it's so much fun it feels perfectly plausible.

We've already discussed how Rose is a proper historic heroine, which makes her whole world feel so much more realistic.

Winner: Rose. Her world is perfectly constructed and fits the time period, while Jacky's just seems to.

Tie Breaker Category. Style.

Winner: Jacky. Her style is more fun and more amusing, and usually more useful.
Style is always important when it comes to historical novels, and Jacky has got some amazing style. Her fashion style may not be so great (she looks good in a dress, but doesn't always manage to keep it undamaged), but she knows how to make an entrance -- and an exit.

Rose is softer, quieter, and less dramatic. She doesn't find it necessary to be seen, which I respect.

End Score! Jacky: 3 Rose: 2 Draws: 1 Congratulations, Jacky! You're on to the next round! Don't worry about it, Rose, you don't really care anyway.

So our Classic & Historical finalists are Mara, Marguerite St. Just, and Jacky Faber! Tune in next Wednesday for the Other Genres Arena!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wednesday Scrolls - Literary Heroines Who Don't Suck, Urban Fantasy Arena

Yeah, we're still at it. Hope you're not tired of the Literary Heroines Who Don't Suck Saga, because we're barely halfway done. Last week we had the Fantasy Arena, which gave us our three Fantasy finalists: Hermione Granger, Courtney Crumrin, and Lady Fire. This week it's Urban Fantasy's turn.

I explained the process as best I could in the Fantasy Arena last time, so if you don't know, go back there and scan it, because I'm not going over it all again. If you want to review the competing chars, revisit the Urban Fantasy edition of LHWDS (the 'Heroine' link).

And the first battling pair of the Urban Fantasy round is... Kerry Nowicki (Companions Of The Night, Vivian Vande Velde) vs. Clarissa "Clary" Fray (Mortal Instruments series, Cassandra Clare)!

Category One. Personality.

Kerry's your definition of average. She's a bit snarky, but no more so than the average teenager. She scares easily, but who doesn't in real life? But she's also incredibly loyal to her family and incredibly brave. She's real.

Clary is your definition of "average." She thinks she's not pretty but is, she floats off into a world of her own in her head, and she's a bit oblivious. A cliché, but she does it well.

Winner: Kerry. At some point during the debate, Clary started whining and Kerry told her told her to get over herself.

Category Two. Fight!

Kerry has no technical training, but she has good instincts. She's had her hands around a gun and knows her way around a desperate brawl.

Clary is very slowly picking things up. She's naturally clumsy, which counts against her.

Winner: Kerry. Clary put up a good fight, but one-on-one isn't a good angle for her.

Category Three. "Kiss Me, You Fool!"

Kerry and Ethan. The. way. to do vampire romance. It's subtle, but obvious. Real, but not overdramatic. Amazing.

I'm a big Jace/Clary fan, and I admit to being a Jace fangirl, but their love story is so complicated and irksome, it's hard to squee over any more. Too many stupid twists and turns. Sure, they may be deeply in love, but it's an awful lot of work.

Winner: Kerry. Kerry and Ethan are so perfect, and all their complications actually make sense.

Category Four. Friends.

Kerry has no good friends. Or at least, none that are mentioned. She's pretty much just got Ethan.

Clary's only real friend is Simon, who, curiously, is the only person who stays human for a significant amount of time. But no matter what species he is, he's pretty cool. He's not, however, very powerful.
Winner: Clary. Simon looked around and waited for a while, but no one showed up for battle. Sorry, Kerry.

Category Five. Urban Fantasy Elements.

Kerry herself is just a human, but she has a powerful vampire friend who owes her a favor or two.

Clary is a dormant Shadowhunter, which means she's stronger than a human, but nowhere near as strong as a trained Shadowhunter or even a vampire, werewolf, etc. She does have abnormal powers though, even for a Shadowhunter.

Winner: Clary. She gotz special skillz.

End Score! Kerry: 3 Clary: 2 Yay, Kerry! You move on to the next round! Don't worry, Clary, Mortal Instruments will always have a special place on my bookshelf.

And our second battling pair is... Mercedes "Mercy" Thompson (Mercedes Thompson series, Patricia Briggs) vs. Claire Danvers (Morganville Vampires, Rachel Caine). First of all, this isn't really fair because Claire is sixteen and Mercy is who knows how old, but definitely an adult and far more experiened. But we'll see how it goes.

Category One. Personality.

Claire is a tough teenager. She goes to college two years early all by herself and endures cruel hazing, so she must be tough. And then she meets the vampires. Plus she's actually smart, and she knows how to use her knowledge. But she's not supergirl either, so she's well rounded. She doesn't need some sadistic childhood to make her interesting.

Mercy, of course, is also tough. She grew up with werewolves, after all. But she's got your basic adult urban fantasy heroine personality: tough, clever, and wears impractical clothing on her book covers. But she's a bit more interesting in the fact that she actually is tough and clever.

Winner: Claire. Mercy's personality may be more assertive, but Clary wins the argument because she makes more sense, and really is just more interesting.

Category Two. Fight!

Physical challenges are not Claire's strong point, but she does good when she needs to. She's not opposed to throwing a punch, but if she ever tried to beat someone up, she'd probably fail.

Mercy, on the other hand, grew up with werewolves. Of course she can defend herself.

Winner: Mercy. Claire didn't stand a chance.

Category Three. "Kiss Me, You Fool!"

Claire and Shane are cute. Not original or spectacular, but cute. Shane's obviously crazy about her, but she's not all he thinks about, and the same goes for Claire.

Mercy follows the tradition of adult urban fantasy heroines by having several love interests, all of different species. But she never actually gets close to any of them, which branches off from the norm, but leaves her with nothing.
Winner: Claire, mostly by default.

Category Four: Friends.

Claire's got the ghost friend, the goth friend, and the boyfriend. And you might even count the two most powerful vamps in town, but that'd probably be stretching it.

Like most adult urban fantasy heroines, Mercy doesn't have a best friend or even any really good friends, but you can count Stefan, a vampire, and Warren, possibly the only gay werewolf.

Winner: Draw. Mercy's friends might be more powerful, but Claire's are more reliable.

Category Five: Urban Fantasy Elements.

Claire actually has none. In fact, she'd be better suited to a science fiction novel, the little genius.

On the other hand, Mercy turns into a coyote.
Winner: Mercy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a TIE. Tie Breaker Category: Drama Queen.

Sure, Claire freaks out plenty of times, but she gets over it. She's a scientist after all. She just looks for the facts, finds them, deals with them, and moves on. No needless drama here.

Mercy's hardly a drama queen, but sometimes she gets immersed in her issues and you get bored. Sure, maybe she's got some interesting backstory, but no one really wants to hear about it in the middle of a murder mystery. Get some closure already.

Winner: Claire. The sixteen-year-old has less drama than the coyote woman? Weird.

End Score! Claire: 3 Mercy: 2 Draws: 1 Congratulations, Claire! Hurrah for the underdog! Don't worry Mercy, you're still one of the best adult urban fantasy heroines.

And our last pair is...Sookie Stackhouse (Southern Vampires, Charlaine Harris) vs. Kaylee Cavanaugh (Soul Screamers, Rachel Vincent)!

Category One: Personality.

Sookie's adorable. She's sweet, but since she can read minds, she's not naive. She can be mean when she has to, and half the time she's just struggling to appear normal.

Kaylee's personality is refreshingly normal, which makes her seem very real. She keeps a clear head in a crisis, but when she lets herself freak out when the situation calls for it.

Winner: Sookie. She's just funner to hang with. Even Kaylee agrees.

Category Two: Fight!

Sookie's no martial artist, but she can take care of herself. In her world, she kind of has to.

Kaylee mostly relies on luck and the element of surprise. But hey, whatever works.

Winner: Draw. Neither do too well against each other.

Category Three: "Kiss Me, You Fool!"

Like every other adult urban fantasy heroine, Sookie has a variety of love interests, but they're all so much better than everyone else's. They're not random shmexy males popping up all over the place and exhibiting strange attraction, they actually have purpose.

Kaylee, however, has one boyfriend, Nash, who made the hate list. Hm.

Winner: Sookie. Every one of her gentlemen friends could beat Nash one-on-one.

Category Four: Friends.

Sookie's got a few of them, Tara, Sam, and others that pop in and out as the series goes on. They all have their moments.

Kaylee's got the human best friend and a reaper friend, Todd, who is pretty darn awesome.

Winner: Sookie. Tara and Sam are very intimidating, and Todd knows when to back down.

Category Five: Urban Fantasy Elements.

Sookie is telepathic with fairy blood. Not something you hear every day. She's also surrounded by vampires, weres, fairies, and just about everything else.

Kaylee is a bean sidhe, or banshee. Also something you don't find every day. The only other creatures she meets are reapers and demons, though.

Winner: Draw. Sookie gets points for being paranormal herself and still having the classic vampires and werewolves, but Kaylee does awesome too for being something very rarely used and doing it well.

End Score! Sookie: 3 Kaylee: 0 Draws: 2 Congrats, Sookie! You proceed to the next round! Ouch, Kaylee, but you still did pretty good.

So our Urban Fantasy finalists are Kerry Nowicki, Claire Danvers, and Sookie Stackhouse! Tune in next Wednesday for the Classic & Historical Heroine Arena!