Highlander: The Series

The Element of Fire by Jason Henderson -- 8

I really liked this novel. It had several "God I wish they did that on the show" moments -- like Connor chewing Duncan out about the fact that he still uses the same name -- and a good understanding of the ways that both Duncan and Connor changed over the years, and neatly weaves the various tapestries of both their lives together into an elegantly written whole. The summary of Duncan's 19th-century life at the beginning of Chapter 5 is glorious. (Describing the massacre of the Sioux tribe: "Just like MacDuff in the Scottish play, the first English book he had ever read, Duncan had been gone when needed most.")

Indeed, the strength of this novel convinced me to hire Jason to write a Hulk novel (it's called Abominations, and it's really good, you should go out and buy it right now).

Scimitar by Ashley McConnell -- 6

A magnificently written book, this has two very good vignettes, but that's all they are. There's no plot here. But this is great fun to read. Ashley nails the nuances of the three Duncans -- in 1653, 1916, and 1995 -- perfectly, her portrayal of Joe Dawson is spot-on, and this book makes the pointless flashback in "Finale Part 1" sensible. Best of all are the different personalities of the various Watchers in each chapter's epigraph.

Scotland the Brave by Jennifer Roberson -- 7

Reads like an episode of the series -- both its best feature and its biggest flaw, as there's really only enough story here for one, maybe two episodes, so parts are horribly padded. Still, this utilized Duncan's Highland heritage very well, and used the entire cast -- from Annie Devlin to Richie Ryan -- perfectly.

The Measure of a Man by Nancy Holder -- 6

The idea of Niccolo Macchiavelli being an Immortral is an intriguing one, and Nancy pulls it off very nicely (and cleverly avoids showing Macchiavelli during the part of his life that is best chronicled, instead showing him as his own descendent a century later and as "Nicky Macchio" in modern times). Like Scimitar, this novel is in two parts (the first part actually sort of picks up where the first part of Ashley's novel left off), but here the two are linked into one story. Parts of this novel are absolutely brilliant; Holder is especially good at evoking the atmosphere of her settings, whether it's Venice, Washington D.C., "Seacouver," or Tokyo, and the complexities of Macchiavelli's plots are nicely done. Still, this is ultimately a promising first draft. The writing is scattershot, the exposition horribly clunky, there are too many characters that are too poorly introduced, making it hard to keep track, and the prologue goes on about three pages too long.

Coming soon: reviews of The Path by Rebecca Neason, Zealot by Donna Lettow, Shadow of Obsession by Rebecca Neason, and The Captured Soul by Josepha Sherman.

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