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OK, first of all, technically these books are Adult fiction. The main character is about 30 (although honestly she seems younger than that – maybe early twenties) and there is some innuendo though it’s not too bad. But there is one thing that will make teens uncomfortable with the first book in this series. That happens to be the honorary teen character. Piaras is cute, interesting, and a great character. But he’s also eighteen. And after a while, Raine’s attempts at protecting him and calling him things like ‘sweetie’ will start to grate with real teens. I mean, how many eighteen year old lads do you know that wouldn’t protest at repeatedly being treated like a kid and called ‘sweetie?’ I don’t know any.
I only mention this because I want you guys to be forewarned. It will probably annoy you. But the thing is that this is only a small grievance and you mustn’t stop reading because of it. Because these books are just so good.
Raine is snarky, sassy, street-smart and downright funny. Other characters are well written, her cheeky pirate cousin Phaelan springs to mind, as do her two rival love interests. Yes that’s right, a love triangle is involved. And while it’s not the main focus of the story it does serve to make Raine’s problems that bit more complicated than they already are. These books have a little bit of most genres in them. Officially they are urban fantasy, but they take place in an invented world. There are also large elements of crime, action, thriller, and comedy to them. Not to mention the romantic subplot.
Magic Lost, Trouble Found
Raine Benares is an elf, a seeker and from the most notorious family of pirates around. Her magical abilities shoot from mediocre to amazing when a friend steals a magic amulet from a sorcerer and the amulet bonds itself to her. Unfortunately, a lot of other people want this amulet and since Raine can’t take it off, they’re searching for her. These people are strong, powerful, and in the Guardian Mychael’s case, pretty good-looking. Raine has to use new allies and old contacts to find out what exactly has attached itself to her and how she can lose it, thereby losing the unwanted attention of most of the most notorious villains around.
There is a whole lot of plot packed in to this book. You have to keep track of loads of characters and motives and the action is really fast-paced. Despite this, it’s light, it’s fun and it’s funny. Raine’s humour shines through. I’ve read bad reviews of this series, but I’ve also found big fans. I guess it’s like the covers – you either love them or you hate them. Personally I love them both.
Armed and Magical
Raine and most of the cast of Magic Lost, Trouble Found head to the Isle of Mid, Mychael’s domain and home of the biggest University for sorcerers. If anyone knows a way to separate Raine from the Saghred, they’ll be somewhere on Mid. However, a small island with the strongest magical talents may not be the safest place for Raine, especially as some of them would like to have her newfound powers themselves. On top of that, students are going missing, Tam and the head of the council hates her and she’s just discovered that the old master of the Saghred who disappeared hundreds of years ago may not be as dead as everyone thinks he is.
The problem of Piaras being treated like a child, as I mentioned above, is much less evident in Armed and Magical. Partly because there’s a whole university full of similar aged students and partly because of the introduction of a great new character – Talon the cool goblin student. I loved this second book. Occasionally I had to stop and try to remember what was going on, but mostly I was just enjoying it. There are some funny scenes in this one too – Mychael walking in on Raine in the bath springs to mind – ladies, this guy is so sweet! The romantic elements develop, we learn more about the characters’ pasts (and they all have secrets), there are missing students to be found, idiot bureaucrat council members to be defied and a new, stronger villain. A great second book.
The Trouble with Demons is out on 28th April 2009:
My name is Raine Benares. I'm a seeker. People hire me when they need something found. I'm not usually the one being sought. But that all changed when I found the Saghred, a soul-stealing stone of unlimited power -- and the bane of my existence. Now mages and madmen have me in their sights, not to mention demons...
An opened Hellgate leads to a demon infestation on the Isle of Mid, and while there's never an ideal time to face down demon hordes, it's hard to imagine a worse one. Already fighting the influence of the Saghred, Raine discovers she is also magically bonded to a dark mage and a white knight, two dangerous and powerful men on opposing sides -- and Raine's stuck in the middle.
But with demons pouring through the Hellgate, Raine can't afford to be distracted. Turns out, the demons want the key to unlock the Saghred. As a seeker, Raine should be able to find it first. As the axis of light and dark powers, she's a magical cataclysm waiting to happen...
I can't wait!