I've been reading mostly good reviews for this book by people who I think have similar tastes to me. There was one person who didn't like the too modern voice, but that seems like one of those things that bothers some people and not others, so it didn't dissuade me (I'd pretty much decided to read it by then).
The cover: This cover has a cheesy, goofy vibe to it which put me off the book when I saw it in the bookstore, but I still read the back blurb which I felt was intruiging, but it didn't really sell me on the book.
So why did I read it? I was sold after reading recommendations because they pointed out a couple of things – 2 possible love interests, and a heroine with an urban fantasy voice.
Raine Benares is a seeker – she has the gift of finding things, plus a couple of minor magics (moving small things with her mind, great mental shields, and leaving an image of herself in a place she just left). She didn't know her parents well (her mother died when she was young and her father was unknown), but was raised by her family – notorious thieves. Thus, she seems to have the familial trait for trouble, and in this book she finds it again when she follows a friend, "ex-thief" Quentin, who she found out was tasked to steal an item from a necromancer's house. This turns out to be an amulet which Raine puts on (and then can't take off), and which everyone wants – from elven Conclave Guardian Mychael Eiliesor, to Goblin royalty.
Overall: I think that if you've read a lot of fantasy and expect a third person narrator and more formal speech, then this may not be the book for you, but I personally found it a refreshing change. Angiegirl described the voice well in her review when she said:
"This series seems to be most often described as regular fantasy with a decidedly urban fantasy heroine, complete with charming (at times self deprecating) sense of humor. I would agree with this assessment. Raine's internal dialogue is very much in keeping with urban fantasy trends"
The book is told from the first person point of view, but unlike a lot of urban fantasies where the heroine is often alone, Raine is usually surrounded by her friends and family as she tries to work out her problems. I liked the cast of characters and there was interesting development in the character of Piaras, a promising young spellsinger she knows.
The other thing I liked was a different spin on goblins. While we always hear about tall, pale elves like Legolas (and we have those here), the goblins here are tall, grey-blue, with angular faces, sensitivity to light, and fangs. Raine's two love interests are an elf and a goblin. Usually I can guess in the beginning of the book who the heroine ends up with, but I found myself liking both of them. Mychael Eiliesor seems like the good guy with lots of power, and Tamnais Nathrach seemed like the scoundrel (also with lots of power) who could be good. And they were friends with each other for once. The romance was very light and flirty in this book, so I don't know if anything serious is going to happen. Anyway, we'll see. I just hope the love triangle doesn't go on too long, that can be annoying in a series.
This book most reminds me of Ann Logston's Shadow series (well the heroine in there is a cheeky elven thief), but that series seems more straight fantasy than this one. This one had a fast pace, action, adventure, an interesting world, likeable characters, and I enjoyed reading it. I plan to read the second book, Armed and Magical very soon.
- Calico_reaction's review
- Shaunie's Happy Place
- The Book Smugglers Interview with Lisa Shearin