There Be Monsters Here. . .
It's not as great as you'd think, living in a tourist town that's known as "the most magical place in America." Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power.
I try to keep out of it. I've got my mom's bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick.
But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend's pawn shop, and I have to make a call--get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn't. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I'm stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I'm going to end up just like her. . .
Jennifer Estep writes really enjoyable Urban Fantasy books. I am a huge fan of her Elemental Assassin series, so I really wanted to try her new young adult series. I was not disappointed, it was action packed and the universe featured a lot of supernatural creatures that are not common in the current books I am reading. The monsters included were pixies, trolls, a lochness monster that was kind of like an overgrown octopus and non-mortals who posed various talents of magick.
The heroine, 17 year old orphan Lila Merriweather was a young hustler just like Genevieve Blanco in Elemental Assassin. Lila possessed rare combinations of magick that allowed her to be an excellent thief. Her public talent was Sight, where she could look into a person’s eyes and see inside their soul. Her secret talent allowed her to temporary “steal” the magick of another, or like they called it “Transference”.
Lila had a friend/mentor/contact named Mo who helped her get high risk jobs where he paid her a percentage for completion of said task. Lila was fearless and she just wanted to be left alone most of the time. She was still trying to avenge her mother’s murder so she was unconcerned with the town politics. In her town of Cloudburst Falls, legacy magick families were the leaders of the community and there was constant struggle for power and control. It was important to ally with a powerful magick family for protection. Lila did her best to stay out until one day she unintentionally inserted herself in a mob war when she saved a Bruiser (second in command/heir) from an attacked by a rival family.
At this point Lila lost her anonymity and had to choose sides in the war. How will this affect her end game of avenging her mother’s murder?
Lila was a smart mouth girl, very similar to Gin, but she lacked the support system that Gin had. Lila only had Mo, and as much as they got along, Lila wasn’t Mo’s top priority. So Lila was truly alone but she made the best of what she had. An excellent swordsman, I found this heroine to be likeable as well as smart.
The writing made the story easily to follow and interesting as the mystery of the murder of Lila’s mother as well as why the Bruiser was being hunted was revealed. This series is definitely one I will follow as book 1 laid a solid foundation for the Black Blade series. I highly recommend this series to YA lovers who want an urban fantasy unlike those out right now.
*Special Thanks to Kensington Books Via Netgalley for the reading copy.