cover image Guardians of Paradise

Guardians of Paradise

Jaine Fenn. Orion (Trafalgar Square, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (348p) ISBN 978-0-57508-327-1

Fenn's third Hidden Empire fantasy-influenced space opera episode (after Consorts of Heaven) cycles through the points of view of three characters: Nual, a renegade Sidhe; Taro, her youthful companion; and Jarek, a human who meets up with them following his sister's death. In this universe the Sidhe are humanoid aliens with psychic abilities. Most humans think the Sidhe have been exterminated, but Jarek knows they're responsible for killing his sister, and he's determined to stop their efforts to enslave or destroy humankind. The plot takes a while to get started, but the world-building keeps things interesting. As the Sidhe's origins come to light, so do the related disquieting secrets behind the mechanism for interstellar travel. The fascinating setting almost makes up for the characters, whose inability to confront each other becomes tedious very quickly. Readers should be familiar with the first two installments before broaching this one. Agent: Ian Drury, Sheil Land Associates. (May)