Monday, 28 May 2012

Magic Lost, Trouble Found Review

Magic Lost, Trouble Found (Raine Benarnes 1)
-         - Lisa Shearin
Publisher: Ace Books

My name is Raine Benares. I’m a seeker. The people who hire me are usually happy when I find things. But some things are better left unfound…
Raine is a sorceress of moderate powers, from an extended family of smugglers and thieves. With a mix of street smarts and magic spells, she can usually take care of herself. But when her friend Quentin, a not-quite-reformed thief, steals an amulet from the home of a powerful necromancer, Raine finds herself wrapped up in more trouble than she cares for. She likes attention as much as the next girl, but having an army of militant goblins hunting her down is not her idea of a good time. The amulet they’re after holds limitless power, derived from an ancient, soul-stealing stone. And when Raine takes possession of the item, it takes possession of her. Now her moderate powers are increasing beyond anything she could imagine—but is the resumé enhancement worth her soul?

At first glance this looks very much like a traditional fantasy – there are goblins, pirates, mages all in a city that is nothing like anything in the world today – oh, and the heroine is an elf. So far, so traditional. However, the story, the actions and heroine herself read much more Urban Fantasy. Raine is feisty and sarcastic – with a strong moral streak even if that means mending the law occasionally. She has some magical ability which is useful in getting out of jams and a wide variety of friends, family and admirers who are occasionally helpful and hindrance in her task. She is an easier character to root.

This does make it sound like its tailored made fantasy for me – but I admit I had a couple of issues with the story. There are a lot of characters – most with odd names – some friendly and some not - which make it a very crowded book. At times I felt like I was jumping into the middle of an on-going series as there was a lot of unspoken backstory between characters (I checked and this is the first in the series!). This was both good as it seemed like the characters had fully developed histories – but was overwhelming and difficult to keep track of all the relationships. There was also a lot of data dumping as you are brought up to speed on a brand new world, with politics, a magic system, history and city layout in a very short space of time. This meant that I wasn’t quite able to enjoy the story as I was trying to catch up to the plot.

After all that though, there is a decent plot with some disturbing bad guys, an intriguing magic system and some exciting action scenes. There are some intriguing questions left unanswered and I wouldn’t mind finding out the answers! I think this might be a series that is worth further investigation and I will look out for the next in the series, but on its own it’s a little like a mint choc chip ice cream without any choc chips – still tasty but could be better!

Recommended for fans of Maria V Snyder and Faith Hunter. 7 out of 10


  1. It just looks so cute and fun so for that I'd like to give it a go. Would it work for me? Eh, dunno, I do like my epic kind

  2. Thanks for helping me decide to read or not to read, Mel! :) I do like my chocolate chips on mint ice cream :)) Excellent review!

  3. it's been a while since I read it, but now I read you review I remember these problems lol. I remember why I haven't read the second yet. Well I need to, it was nice, but I think I'll be lost.

  4. I started it a while back but never really got in to it for pretty much the same reasons you mentioned Mel. I think with a huge TBR list I loose patience with books a bit quicker now as I'm always thinking of other more enjoyable (and less hard work) books I could be reading.

  5. Sometimes fantasy does that... too many names to remember, too many subplots. Still sounds like a decent read. Hm... may wait to read it though.