Saturday, June 2, 2012

Magic Lost, Trouble Found by Lisa Shearin - review

Magic Lost, Trouble Found
Lisa Shearin

cover - I like this cover.  A strawberry blonde, confident looking young woman standing there with a sword, the exotic lavenderish sky in the background.  {Is "lavenderish" a real word?  well - to me it is.} That is exactly what the main character is like - strawberry blonde, confident and able to take care of herself in a fight.

Magic Lost, Trouble Found is one of those "sleeper" books for me.  You've heard the term in relation to movies - a movie that doesn't seem like it's going to be a big hit, yet ends up to be one of the best movies you've ever seen for whatever reason.  When I first started this book, I couldn't quite get into it.  I think I ended up putting it aside for at least three years - possible more....yes, in fact I started it in 2007 and finally finished in in February of 2012.  That's quite a wait.  The first time I didn't get past the first chapter, and to be fair, I had brought it with me when my daughter, granddaugher {then 7 months old} and I flew to Los Angeles to visit my brother.  We were pretty busy, and I ended not reading much until we came home, and I became engrossed in other books.  I kept seeing it on the shelf and thinking I should read it...time passes....then I joined that challenge and decided to grab it off that shelf and see if I couldn't finish it.  Once I got into it, I found it was pretty interesting.  

Raine is a fae, living in a city and world populated with faes, goblins and other folk.  There are wizards, thieves, etc.  It's set in a time with no cars or motorized items - think of Willow or Lord of the Rings.  Raine has a small talent - she can find things with a small bit of magic.  She comes from a line of magic users and has been living with her cousins - a large family of happy, busy pirates and thieves.  She has a friend, Quentin, who frequently gets into situations because of his tendency to try to make money by stealing.  She also has friends in the local version of a police precinct.

Her friend Quentin has taken a job, and she's decided to watch over him, to make sure that nothing goes wrong.  Only the job he took was to steal from a notoriously dangerous wizard and of course, something does go wrong.  Goblins - two factions of goblins interrupt and a battle follows.  To keep the item safe, she puts it around her neck while getting Quenting out of danger - and gets stuck with an evil amulet that kind of likes having Raine wear it.  Turns out this amulet is pretty important, and is wanted by quite a few people - one to hide it away and keep it safe and others to use for your typical nefarious purposes.

Goblins in this particular world are not your typical goblins - these guys are human shaped, with silvery gray skin; they like to stay in darker places and can be quite mesmerizing.  They are pretty blood thirsty though.  Turns out Raine has had a long will they or won't they relationship with a certain goblin who happens to be related to the royal goblin family - this matters later in the book.  And now, there are some pretty evil goblins after her and the amulet.  Her cousin, Phaelen {a dashingly roguish pirate} helps her - he's a fun guy to read about.  They have a fun relationship with interesting dialogue - and he's taught her all he knows about picking locks, etc.

Raine needs to find a way to get the amulet off her, into safe hands  before it takes her over.  She's finding new abilities the longer she connected to it.  People, good and bad, are after her, she's not sure who she can trust {besides her family} and she ends up inadvertantly getting her aunt and cousin involved, as well as her wizard tutor, and her cousin Phaelen.  The entire book is fun to read - good dialogue, interesting interactions between characters, adventure, a few good fights and a couple of heart thumping moments between her and a certain detective.  Wizards, magic, Goblins, Fae, spellsingers, roguish pirate captain cousin....Lots of great stuff in this novel.  A good read, and the first in a series.  The narration is first person, with very little in the way of infodumping - there are parts where Raine explains a goblin way of life, for instance, but these are kept short and sweet, and do the job - it explains so that you know a bit more about the story, the person or  the talent.  Shearin does a good job with this.

I'm happy I read this book.  I promptly went out and bought the second in the series and in true contradictory fashion, I haven't read it yet.  Which is silly, because I know I have a good story with great narration and lightly snarky dialogue to go with it.  {I love a lightly snarky dialogue - there's nothing so off putting as over-snark, where the author is so out of control with having her character be a smartass that the person comes across as a super sarcastic asshole} I plan to read Armed & Magical soon, and if it's as good as the first, then I have the rest of the series to look forward to - which is always good thing.

There are currently six books in the series - the next up is Armed & Magical, and the latest novel All Spell Breaks Loose is available now.


  1. Hi Mardel! Thank you so much for the great review! I did the same thing (started reading a book, put it down, and picked it up a year later) with David Eddings Belgariad series. It turned out to be one of my all-time favorites. ; ) I hope you enjoy the rest of the Raine Benares series.

    Thank you again & take care!

    1. You're welcome. I also tried an Eddings book...except I don't think I ever finished, gave it away.... I did enjoy your's immensely though :)