If Felicia likes it, it has to be good… Magic Lost, Trouble Found by Lisa Shearin

I picked up this book, despite its super-cheesy cover, because Felicia Day loves this author.  And as a total Felicia Day wanna-be I figured it was worth the few bucks it cost me.

Which is not to say I have entirely the same reading taste as Felicia Day — she reads a whole lot more urban fantasy than I do — but her opinion kinda means something.  You can find her book reviews here.  And see here for her hilarious take on Scottish romance novels (thankfully she liked Outlander or I might have to call it quits).

The other reason I picked it up is that the reviews for this series go way up after the first book, so it’s fair to see this as a starter.  Shearin clearly gets better as she goes.  The problem with that is I really don’t want another long series to read; I’m not finishing most of the ones I’ve already started.

(I’m thinking we need a “Finish the Series Challenge” so I can knock a few series out before I start any more new ones.  Anyone?)

So, hmmm.  This is a pretty cheesy-sounding book with a laugh-out-loud cover, and really the urban fantasy genre seems really tired to me.  I actually tried starting this book three times and it didn’t take until I got stuck on a plane last week for four hours with nothing better to do (this was my “read when they make me turn off the Kindle” book).

The story?  It’s about an elf named Raine Benares who comes from a no-good family in the city of Mermeia.  Raine is a seeker, someone who finds people or things that generally should be left unfound. She’s got fairly middle-of-the-road powers until she helps a friend out and ends up with a magical amulet around her neck which gives her superpowers but can’t be taken off without killing her.  And unfortunately, there are a number of factions, including the goblin king, his evil torture-master, and his disgruntled brother, who want to do exactly that.

This book has all the tropes of the urban fantasy genre: the brave and sassy heroine; the heretofore unknown parent with serious magical power; the sexy non-human love interest (in this book there’s a goblin and an elf); the magical artifact that has to be contained before it’s used for evil and destroys the whole world; and the fight scenes where the heroine faces overwhelmingly bad odds but somehow magically knows what to do.

I’d say if you like the genre, this is a good book to pick up.  It took some getting into, but once I did the story was fun, it moves at a good pace and the characters are likeable although not terribly deep. It never takes itself seriously and never gets too violent, which I appreciated.

On the other hand, I didn’t see much that was original here. Shearin has built a fairly complex world, but once you get past the weird vocabulary (what’s a primaru?) it reads pretty much like the other books of the genre, only perhaps a little more irreverent.

Still, Book One is clearly set-up for the rest of the series, so I may have to pick up Book Two.  The cool thing is, by the time you get to Book 4, the heroine starts looking a lot tougher — and a lot more like Felicia Day.


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