Review of HARD LESSONS by Vanessa Knipe (see her website)
MORE TALES FROM THE THEOLOGICAL COLLEGE OF ST. VAN HELSING
BooksForABuck.com, December 2009
England may look like a peaceful island, but it swarms with ancient forces: old gods hungry for a touch of worship; mysterious spectres that can grant wishes, no matter how destructive those wishes might be; pre-historic cultural memories that can raise hungry spirits; and then there's the mysterious haunted washing machine unhappy with the new detergents. To combat evil forces, the Church of England calls on a special breed of men (yes, they're all men--and that is part of the problem). The Theological College of St. Van Helsing trains its students to combat evil forces--except when those students go renegade and fight their fellows.
With St. Van Helsing restricted to men only, women with talent lack a place for proper training, which makes them both dangerous and tempting targets for dark forces. Penny Bailey finds herself confronting a hungry fertility god, a misdirected love-spell and the horrors of the perfect diet.
Author Vanessa Knipe (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of fantasy by Knipe) continues her stories out of St. Van Helsing (after 2008's WITCH-FINDER with another strong series of adventures. Knipe writes with a compelling mix of darkness and tongue-in-cheek humor. While theological students confronting evil by calling phrases from the Book of Common Prayer sounds amusing, Knipe makes it both real and dangerous. More so even than in WITCH-FINDER, darkness underpins these stories--the title, HARD LESSONS is definitely hard-earned.
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