I really have to say, this is truly a case where you should not judge a book by its cover. Despite the cheesy, fluffy looking cover and title, this is a good read. The author has created a very reasonable fantasy setting that isn't the same old "elves hate dwarves" type environment. The elven heroine is remarkably "human" -- plucky, intelligent, capable of getting herself out of (well, and into) trouble without fainting into the arms of a male or drawing on some snooty obscure elven heritage in the process. This is not a romance novel of any sort; while it is not Lord of the Rings, it is certainly an enjoyable fantasy novel with a very strong female protagonist. My only negative is that the ending wrapped up a little more quickly than I would have liked, but certainly left the option open for future adventures with our heroine. Highly recommended.
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.
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 is the beginning of a wonderful swords/sorcerers series. I picked it up at a train station bookstore when I was stranded on a business trip and desperate for any escapist reading. It turned out to be a pretty good read. Enough that I went looking for the next installment. Then it kept getting better with books 2 and 3, which flesh out the main characters nicely while featuring even more fast-paced catastrophe and intrigue. The heroine is a magnet for magical troubles who somehow manages to stay just one step away from disaster. The story is packed full of all the classic fantasy characters: mages and elves, goblins and demons, pirates, knights and bards. With lots of nifty bladed weapons thrown in. Yet it's got a sort of modern, ironic tone. Raine would actually be a great character no matter what kind of costume drama or urban fantasy you dropped her into. Kickass but still sweet and funny. She comes from a long line of dashing pirates and charming conmen, but she knows the real thieves are often politicians and bureaucrats. Despite her magical abilities and demon-bashing skills, you could easily imagine meeting up with her for a beer at the corner pub.
I really enjoyed this book. It is the first in a series about Raine Benares. She is an elf who has moderate magical powers and has been working as a seeker. This is only the second book of this genre and at first I did not think that I would like it. This story is fun, exciting, and not too over the top.
The only thing I did not like about the story is the ending. I thought it ended to soon and it left me wanting more.
The was a very enjoyable read. I liked the world and the cast of characters. Raine is a good heroine who is resourceful and smart. I liked her sense of humor too. Will definitely continue on to book 2!
(Ignore the cover- it is a bit cheesy)