Newly-wed Aren has been hiding her magic all her life, but now, with magic unexpectedly unleashed on the land, she is forced to reveal it to save her village: a revelation that might very well kill her. And she finds herself making a bargain she never expected, with the magical Hob of the mountain.
A fairly standard tale of wakening magic, enlivened and enriched by some good worldbuilding, some difficult decisions, and some interesting characters.
Mercedes Thompson is a car mechanic (yes, she's heard the jokes about her name before). She's also shapeshifter raised by werewolves who repairs vampires' cars. So when a newly formed werewolf boy comes to her in trouble, she takes him in, and lands herself in a whole heap of trouble, with the weres, the vampires, and the humans.
Another one of those interesting edge-of-weird heroines. Here Mercy is tough because she knows that backing down from weres is a sign of weakness, but she also knows when to let things slide, as standing up to weres can be a sign of imminent death. It's an interesting world, with some creatures like vampires "outed", whilst others like the weres are still in hiding. And Mercy's special ability is interesting too, as it lets here get into and out of situations, but doesn't make her all-powerful.
Slightly bad sign, however, is at the end there's a question which one of two weres she's interested in. Despite that, I'm off to read the next in the series...
Mercedes Thompson, car mechanic and part-time coyote, gets a call from Stefan the vampire, who she considers to be a friend, calling in a debt. He wants her to accompany him, in her coyote form, to a meeting with an out-of-town vampire, to act as a witness if things go wrong. Things go wrong. Very wrong. Soon there's a demon on the loose, destroying vampires and werewolves alike. Despite the fact that he's well out of Mercy's league, she's the only one able to fight him at all, in between running her business and dodging journalists. And why are the vampires so scared of her kind?
A good blood-soaked romp, as Mercy is put through the grinder again.
Her mate Adam’s ex-wife is in trouble, on the run from her new boyfriend. Adam won’t turn her away, but Mercy can’t shake the feeling that something isn’t right.
Soon, Mercy learns that Adam’s former partner has the farthest thing from good intentions. She wants Adam back and will anything to get him, including turning Adam’s pack against Mercy.
Meanwhile, there’s an even more dangerous threat circling. The boyfriend is more than a bad man – in fact, he may not be human at all. As the bodies pile up, Mercy finds herself facing a creature with the power to tear her world apart.
Seraph is a young Traveller, one of a diminishing group of wandering mages who protect the land from old magic. But the non-magical people have forgotten the danger, and fear the Travellers. Tier is an ex-soldier returning home from the wars who rescues Seraph from a lynch mob. For a while they are safe. But then Tier's own impossible magic awakes, and he is lost. Seraph must use her long-suppressed magic to find him, and save the land from a resurgence of the old terror.
This is an interestingly different fantasy, with the families of Tier and Seraph playing a significant role in the events. Some of the plot is driven by large coincidences, but on the whole, this is an engaging and exciting adventure. It has a conclusion, but also a whopping loose end, ready for the sequel.
Seraph and her family travel home after having defeated the Secret Path. But the Shadowed escaped, and is causing more havoc. They must journey to the place of the original Stalker to save themselves, and the Empire.
A good sequel. The original was a fairly standard fantasy quest, but this, still with a quest theme, adds some depth and variety, as we have to figure out along with the protagonists what happened all those years ago to the original Travellers. Some of those coincidences I complained about in the earlier book here turn out not to have been coincidences after all (though sometimes with a faint whiff of ret-conning). It's fairly obvious who the Big Bad is, but it's an interesting journey getting to the conclusion.
Aralorn, bastard daughter of a noble father and shapeshifter mother, is unsuited to life as a Lady, so runs away to become a Sianim mercenary. her shapeshifter abilities make her the perfect spy. her latest assignment is to investigate a rumoured assassination attempt on the much-loved ae'Magi. But what she discovers in his keep suggests a much deeper evil than any suspect. She and her companion Wolf, who is also not what he seems, must battle a dark, and unsuspected evil.
This is a lightly revised edition of the 1993 original, which was Briggs' first book. It has some rough edges, but in all, it's a fine page turner. Aralorn is an interesting character, and it's good to see a mercenary soldier who's just a bit useless with a sword (even if she is a dab hand with a quarterstaff). Wolf's identity is relatively obvious, but he's sufficiently complex to be interesting.
Aralorn's noble father, the Lyon of Lambshold, has died, so she and Wolf travel to the home she left ten years earlier, to pay their respects. But when she arrives, Aralorn is stunned to discover that her father is not dead, but rather deep under the influence of a black magic spell, a trap to snare Aralorn. She and Wolf must use all their magic and cunning to discover the sorcerer, without falling under the spell themselves, before the Lyon dies in truth.
This is a good sequel to Masques, delving deeper into Aralorn's shapeshifting magic, her fighting ability, and her relationship with both sides of her family, and with Wolf. There is a strong conclusion, but clearly with a thread left open for further stories in this land.