Friday, April 15, 2011

The Trouble With Demons - Lisa Shearin


The Trouble With Demons
Lisa Shearin
Ace

Fantasy

Fair Warning: If you haven’t read the first two books in this series (MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND and ARMED & MAGICAL) you have missed a couple of really great books. Also, this review will contain unavoidable spoilers. So go read the first two books before proceeding here. Really. It’s worth it. I’ll wait.


It’s difficult to believe that, only two weeks ago, Raine Benares, an elf and seeker, found the Saghred. An incredible amount of action has taken place over those two weeks (detailed in the previous two volumes.) It should be noted, too, that, even though Raine’s profession is a seeker of objects, her finding of the Saghred was something of an accident. That accident was most likely helped along by the Saghred itself, since it’s an ancient stone of nearly limitless magical power. Now it holds Raine to it as a bond servant, meaning escape is impossible.

At the moment, Raine is still on the Isle of Mid, which contains the best college for sorcery in the seven kingdoms. Originally, she went there seeking help for her bound-to-a-magical-rock problem, but her problems have only escalated since then. It’s almost – almost – not surprising when, on a lovely sunny morning, Raine catches sight of a bunch of blue demons wandering the streets. To her shock, no one else can see them. Even worse, they’re in search-and-attack mode. It’s pretty clear that, although they’re looking for something, they don’t have any problems munching on college students while they search.

While fighting the demons, Raine gets an unexpected magical assist from Tam, a former dark mage. He’s also a goblin, which in this world, makes him visually an elf with grey skin and black hair, and quite attractive. Raine, whose magical abilities were pedestrian at best before the Saghred, can suddenly channel vast amounts of magic and can hear Tam speaking to her in her mind. Moments later, she has almost the same experience with paladin Mychael. This should not be happening at all, never mind with men who represent the white and black sides of magic. But, thanks to that annoying rock, Raine is now in some kind of three-way soul-twin relationship. It’s confusing and illegal and dangerous and still first thing in the morning. So, you know the rest of the day is going to be great.

Clearly (to the magic users) the demons are coming out of a Hellgate. The really bad news? Hellgates don’t just open on their own; someone very powerful has to create one and then keep it stable to allow the demons to move from their world to ours. As paladin of Mid, Mychael’s job is to keep everyone on the island safe. The action moves all over the city, above and below ground. The writing style is so fluid that I was honestly surprised to realize that the first two-thirds of the book covers a single day. There is so much action, magic, and character development that I was simply swept up in events.

This is the kind of story, the kind of writing, that makes you remember why you love reading fantasy. The characters are many and varied, and the author has managed to make each one of them individual and believable. The world they inhabit feels completely real. During scenes of peril, I honestly care what happens to each character. This story is complete in itself, but is clearly the start of something more. Events continue until the final pages, letting this grateful reader know that there’s more to come. I’m so glad.

Rating: 8
May 2009
ISBN# 978-0-441-01712-6 (paperback)

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