|Submitted by Tia Nevitt |
(Jul 10, 2007)
Lisa Shearin has the potential to become the Janet Evanovich of fantasy.
She writes with a fun, unpretentious style, and she has mastered writing with humor. In many ways, this is better than Evanovich's Stepanie Plum series. Raine, Shearin's heroine is competent, whereas Stephanie bumbles her way through her adventures, surviving by luck and instinct rather than skill. Raine is the type of girl who rescues dudes in distress. She comes up with daring plans. She kicks butt, but she's all girl.
The book opens with a character that is discarded after the first chapter or so. I kept expecting to run into him again, but I didn't. He is referred to both as Raine's sometime employee and as her partner. He basically kicked the story off and went off into obscurity, leaving Raine with a magical amulet that promptly bonds itself to her. The rest of the book, which takes place over about three days, is all about Raine trying to get rid of the amulet, or at least figure out why it picked her to bond with.
Shearin takes some familiar fantasy concepts and puts her own unique twist upon some of them. Elves are fairly standard, but goblins are attractive and have a dangerous appeal.
There is a strong mystery influence in this novel as well. It is billed as a "fantasy detective series", but it really does not follow the detective formula. However, it does follow a familiar mystery device where more than one male protagonist may possibly be the eventual romantic interest. In this case, there are three guys, an elven paladin, a goblin gambler and a goblin prince. You can see Raine leaning in toward one of the guys by the end of the book, but nothing is certain.
The book ended in a satisfying, smart way. It was the kind of ending that I like. No magical brawls, which I find tedious. Just one character outsmarting another. It was not a cliffhanger, but it points the reader squarely toward book two.
If you want a fun, quick read, try this fun debut by Lisa Shearin.