Today, I welcome a guest reviewer, author Marie Andreas, who writes fantasy-romance-science fiction and combinations thereof from her home in San Diego. You can read about Marie and her writing at http://www.marieandreas.com. Now...here we go!
Thanks for having me here Suzanne! I’ve been invited to review a very fun new book by that mistress of snarky mayhem herself, Lisa Shearin. The book, Con & Conjure, is the fifth Raine Benares series. Here’s the back of the book teaser for you:
THE OFFICIAL BLURB: My name is Raine Benares. I’m a seeker who finds lost things and missing people. My relatives, on the other hand, steal things. They’re the most notorious criminal family in the seven kingdoms. Sometimes I wonder if they have the right idea, especially since what I’ve found lately is likely to get me killed. And the Saghred, a soul-stealing stone that has given me unlimited power, is to blame for every last bit of it.
Ever since the Saghred bonded to me, the goblin king and the elven power brokers have wanted to possess its magic themselves. But to get it, they’ll have to get me, and their pockets are deep enough to make that happen. With the help of my highly qualified family, I’ve rigged the perfect con—one that will financially ruin the elves who are spoiling for war. My family’s run elaborate scams before, but none involving this much money, government officials this highly ranked, or a war this close to starting. In our way is a goblin thief who’s after the Saghred, and my ex-fiancé an elven assassin who may be after me. I broke up with him. Let’s just say it could have gone better.
If either the goblins or the elves get their hands on the Saghred, they have every intention of using it. Which means total annihilation will be inevitable…
MARIE'S THOUGHTS: Now a few things about this series. Ms Shearin gives you enough information that even if you haven’t read the previous four Raine books- you’ll still enjoy this one. BUT- I strongly encourage you to go out and buy, rent, or borrow the other four. You will still enjoy this one- even if you’re currently asking “Raine who?” I’ve no doubt about that. But the fun of visiting established characters that you’ve already been on a few adventures with just increases the enjoyment all the more. Since that disclaimer is out of the way- on to my review.
This book opens just three months after the first book, when Raine and the rock from hell (the Saghred) bonded. And it opens with a bang. Literally. All of the books in this series are fun, fast paced, and often explosive and this one is no different. To be honest, I almost would have liked a bit of a slowdown and catch my breath after the initial event- just to get reintroduced (or introduced) a wee bit slower to the characters. Sometimes fast action books benefit by a few slower moments- just to let the reader take a breath and get more immersed in the world. But it was definitely not enough to hinder my enjoyment. I think of these books as Urban Fantasy set in a fantasy world (the sensibility is urban, the world is not ;)).
Raine finds herself trapped between the good goblins (some of which may still want to kill her), the bad goblins (all of the pretty much want to enslave her or kill her), and the bad elves (who want to chain her to a wall and feed her souls so they can destroy the goblins). Unlike the previous books, Raine’s love life isn’t being split, but she might be if one of the above groups catch her.
Raine is a tough, feisty, smart ass chick with a heart- one for whom her love for her friends and family is often her only weakness. The supporting characters are as much fun as Raine, and are all strong, unique folks that are great to spend time with. We get to see some characters from previous books like her cousin Phaelan (yum- this “sea-faring businessman” aka sexy as hell pirate -needs his own book ), the sexy goblin dark mage Tam, and Raine’s love Mychael and we also get to see a few new folks like her other cousin Mago and her ex-lover/assassin Rache.
There is action, adventure, love, pirates, con men, and political intrigue- what more can you want? Plus Lisa Shearin does a great job of bringing these characters to life and pulling the reader along. It’s a fun fast read that will keep you entertained and at times giggling outloud.
I don’t want to say too much about the story, but it did have the feeling of building to something bigger. The next book in the series will be the last of the one with the Saghred and let me tell you after finishing Con & Conjure all I could think of was “how long until the next one?”
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