When college student Jayne Heller's uncle is murdered, she goes to Denver to settle his estate and mourn the loss of the only member of her family who has always been on her side.
She discovered that her uncle has left her quite a legacy: a string of properties across the world, several very full bank accounts, and an extremely unconventional business. It turns out Uncle Eric has been secretly fighting to rid the world of supernatural 'riders' - demons, vampires, werewolves and all sorts of other nasty parasites - since before Jayne was born.
Now it's up to her to avenge her uncle's death and continue his work - if she can survive her first week on the job.
A rollercoaster of a week turns into a future packed with peril, for the heroine of this tale. Talk about walking into the mirror maze, wake up as a normal, regular college student, and by the end of the day you're a female hybrid of Richard Branson and Van Helsing... How would you cope?!
I admit to not being quite as impressed with this story as I was hoping to be. Not to say it's a dud, by any means, but I felt there was a LOT more potential in it, and the story contained a bevvy of strange and esoteric magics that didn't really make a lot of sense. I understand elemental magic, sympathetic magic, directed energy magic, and even parasitic magic... but this... this had elements of all of it jumbled together in a strange fashion that almost reminded me of Asian cuisine - where the full power comes from balanced opposing forces, rather than being reinforced by complementary ones. An intriguing take on magic that I will have to see more of before I can make up my mind as to whether it's my kind of thing or not.
As with most accomplished authors these days, the characters are well balanced, have a solid depth that doesn't give away everything at once - allowing the story to slowly reveal new facets and hint at future revelations - and a great interplay that weaves everyone into the tapestry of the plot to a degree that suits their role. So saying, I really felt some characters showed a little more than was necessary at this stage of the overarching plot, while others remained a little too shadowy for comfort. Though this may have been the intention, it left me feeling a little disjointed from some of the players who, I think, have a bigger role to play in future instalments.
Overall, this - for me - was like visiting a country you have seen in a hundred documentaries, thinking you have it sussed and know what to expect, and suddenly finding that though the big picture is pretty much right, all the little details don't match up to what you had in your head. It's a story that you will either dwell on and learn to love, or it's going to get under your mental skin and irritate you until you gladly hand the book off to the nearest charity booksale. For me... it warrants further study and reading of Book 2 before I decide which side of the line I will call it. For now, I advise cautious optimism.
Random listing from 'Books'...
Two young companions, Totho and Salma, arrive at Tark to spy on the menacing Wasp army, but are there mistakenly apprehended as enemy agents. By the time they are freed, the city is already under siege. Over in the imperial capital the young emperor, Alvdan, is becoming captivated by a remarkable slave, the vampiric Uctebri, who claims he knows of magic that can grant eternal life. In Collegium, meanwhile, Stenwold is still trying to persuade ... more...
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