say this book is an electrifying read is a terrible pun, but true. In Gilman’s world, magic is described as Current, and magic users literally use electricity for magical power. A thunderstorm gives mages quite a head rush. In this version of the universe, humans share the earth with the fatae (elves, pixies, etc), demons (which really aren’t), and angels (which aren’t what they seem either). These various groups belong to the Cosa Nostradamus, a community that most humans don’t even realize exists.
Wren Valere is a lonejack, a magic user who doesn’t belong to the Council of mages. The Council basically controls all the mages strong enough to apply for membership and decides what they will do with their lives. Since Wren has problems with authority figures, and hates playing political games, she never joined the council. Although lonejacks are frowned upon, and must be careful about the type of jobs they do, the Council rarely interferes with them. Wren is a Retriever, and does just what the description implies – she retrieves lost, stolen, or otherwise misplaced items, no questions asked. Her partner of ten years, Sergei Didier, handles the business side of things, and very nicely too They make a nice wage together, and Sergei’s art gallery on the side keeps him busy when the retrieval end is slow.
A fairly routine retrieval job suddenly runs into an avalanche of problems, however. A corporate multimillionaire’s special protection has been stolen from his building. The protection spell built into the building has been lifted from its cornerstone, and the owner wants it back, immediately. It’s a very intricate removal, and as Wren and Sergei investigate further, they realize something very ugly occurred in the original protection spell. To make matters worse, the original spell appears to have been orchestrated by their own client, a much nastier person than they first realized.
When they reluctantly approach the Council, they are given very little and cryptic information about the original spell, and Wren’s life is threatened as she attempts to discover what happened. To protect her, Sergei must ask for favors from people in his own past, who have their own strings attached.
The plot here is quite intricate, and the author deftly explains all the various supernatural elements and characters while threading together a hint of romance and a nice mystery. Sergei and Wren are a great team, with the easy familiarity of those who have worked together many years, but with the awkward trepidation of knowing that something has fundamentally changed in their safe relationship.
Wren is a shoot-straight-from-the-hip gal. She’s fun and very savvy about her magical talents. She makes a great foil to Sergei’s more business-like demeanor. As the danger increases, they both realize they have developed feelings for each other and their cool demeanors strip away, Sergei’s in particular. Their relationship shows a lot of promise; I hope it continues to develop in future books.
There are some fabulous secondary characters, especially Wren’s demon friend, P.B. He’s white and furry with lots and lots of teeth. Wren routinely has contact with the fatae, which is unusual for a human. Watching Sergei work through his own issues involving the fatae, and the magical world in general, lends strength to his already fascinating character.
The author does a great job of keeping the reader involved in this fast- paced, non-stop adventure. The retrieval job is wrapped up at the end, but there is definitely more I want to experience with Wren, Sergei and P.B. I highly recommend
|Review Date:||September 27, 2004|