Back when I first started this blog, I covered Lisa Shearin's debut, MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND. In fact, her novel was the book that inspired me to finally get off my duff and start this blog, which had been a seed germinating in my mind for months. Since I had hardly any visitors back then, I thought I'd kick off Lisa Shearin week here at Fantasy Debut with some excerpts from my as-I-read-it review of MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND. Here's the first one.
I found that it took a few pages for the story to suck me in, but it did. Raine--the half-elven main character--is loyal and protective over her friends. She is concerned for society as a whole when she learns that a group of baddies wants this amulet. I detect a strong Janet Evanovich influence. I would be very surprised if the author had not read the Stephanie Plum series. However, Raine is no Stephanie Plum--she can handle some tough situations.
One thing that I absolutely got a kick out of was the sexy goblins. Who knew goblins could be sexy? Shearin's goblins are tall, thin and elf-like, except for the gray skin and the fangs. They apparently have this dangerous appeal, and so there are lots of half-goblins running around. In fact, I think it might have been fun to make Raine half-goblin, rather than half-elf.
It amuses me to read this again. Half-goblin indeed! I did turn out to be right about Lisa reading Stephanie Plum. Here's an excerpt from the next post.
I picked this book up for odd ten and twenty minute intervals throughout the day. New characters are popping up like daisies. There is this mysterious Guardian character who seems to be some sort of elven hottie who also happens to command a platoon of other Guardians. There his Raine's uncle and his student, who is a sort of kid-brother type to Raine.
She's also in touch with this elven intelligence network, which I find intriguing.
At this point in my blogging, Lisa Shearin popped in to leave some comments. I don't know why this was so unexpected--I should have realized that authors Google their own works. I guess I didn't expect this blog to appear anywhere on the first page of the Google search results. She was my very first commentator on this blog, which is fitting, in my opinion. It was also a huge thrill!
I went back and counted--I put up eleven posts on MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND! This blog had absolutely no content other than Lisa's novel. Nowadays, I feel like I'm losing my blogging audience if I put up more than three posts on my reading progress for any one novel.
Here are some highlights from the remaining posts:
I actually did read most of it again, between books, for the last three months. I still have about an eighth of an inch to go, but I felt I had read enough to be able to read Armed and Magical. Some of those promised nuances did came out during the rereading, especially early in the story when Mychael, the Guardian, was casting a spell on her. I'm a great fan of rereading novels, but I haven't had the opportunity to do much rereading since starting this blog!* * *
Chapter Five was meaty with information. I finally know how old Raine is. I hate it when authors refuse to give an exact age for their character. Raine discovers several nasty things about the amulet, which by now she is quite stuck with. And the hottie elf Guardian tried to cast a spell on her.
Oh, and did I mention that she kicked him in the nether regions when they first encountered each other? There's nothing like first impressions!* * *
I had a laugh-out-loud moment when a police-officer type called for a "containment box" to hold a suspicious magic item. How many D&D gamer types would have loved to had containment boxes when transporting dangerous artifacts? I know that Frodo would have loved to have one. Temptations from the One Ring? No problem! I've got this handy little box here in my Bag of Holding!* * *
The title of this book so fits. Trouble Finder would be an apt nickname for Raine. She's just taken a decadent bath and she went out looking for trouble . . . and naturally, she found even more trouble than she expected.* * *
Long ago, I read that a good story plunges the hero against "almost insuperable odds". Shearin has mastered this advice. Her story may be light, but what Raine faces is not. It was a good dash of sobriety, yet still she maintains her lighthearted tone.
It reminded me of the First Crusade. During the First Crusade, the crusaders found this spear that grew to be a legend. It was said to be the spear that had pierced the side of Christ. The legend grew and the crusaders went absolutely bananas over it. Why? Study your history, because I don't want to give too much of the plot away. (I'll give you a hint. The spear was found in Antioch.)* * *
The book ended in a satisfying smart way. It was the kind of ending that I like. No magical brawls, which I find tedious. Just one character outsmarting another. It was not a cliffhanger, but it definitely points the reader squarely toward book two.
I can see myself rereading this book, because I think this is the sort of book that will present "nuances" to the reader upon rereading. And of course, I'll want to read it again when book 2 comes out.* * *
Feel like reading all eleven posts? Here's a handy link. It brings up a bunch of other stuff too, so just scroll down.