Sunday, August 19, 2012

Review of "ALL SPELL BREAKS LOOSE" by Lisa Shearin

You can't beat a bad goblin.

Lisa Shearin is my only auto-buy author at the moment. That's the trouble with a good series. One gets hooked. I don't plan to start another series, because it could end up a six-year commitment to purchase six or seven books. That's too long on tenterhooks.

Moreover, I feel faintly ridiculous when I find myself chanting myself to sleep, as if by repeating "Tamnais Nathrath" to myself I could summon him to my side!

Back cover blurb: "My name is Raine Benares--and it sucks to be me right now. I'm a seeker who managed to "find" the Saghred, a soul-stealing stone that gave me unlimited power I never asked for or wanted. Now I've managed to lose the rock--and the magic it gave me--to a power-hungry goblin dark mage whose main goals are my death and world domination."

Great hook! ln my opinion, Lisa Shearin is better even than J K Rowling in succinctly communicating what happened in the previous episode. Of course, Lisa's elven-and-goblin world has a smaller cast of characters, and the villain (and his henchfolk) isn't quite as complicated.

ALL SPELL BREAKS LOOSE is the much anticipated conclusion to the series which features one elven heroine and two male heroes; one a powerful elf, the other a powerful goblin. They are the core team and their continuing goal is to find/destroy one evil, indestructible magical rock. One would not think that, after six volumes, it would be possible to up the ante.

Along the way, Raine has battled black magic goblins (and briefly, magically, married one); thwarted evil goblin royalty; fought demons and their demon queen; eluded amorphous, Dementor-type dark amoeba-things that engulf people; bearded bad elven mages; scooped up escaped, wicked souls, killed and resurrected a love interest.... and more. Along the journey, of course, Raine acquired the tools with which to accomplish the impossible.

ALL SPELL BREAKS LOOSE reprises most of the former dangerous beings, leaves behind some old friends because all the action is through a looking glass, courtesy of a mirror mage, in Regor. There is at least one new peril, and the grandfather of all distractions saves the day... or perhaps it was the night.

There were a couple of minor problems that I had. One dead body didn't behave the way I thought it ought to do. I never got used to elves and goblins thinking of themselves as men and women.  One or two of the chapter propellers (aka grabbers) struck me as a tad forced. As I said, minor problems. Also, for every niggle, there was a dirty giggle. I laughed out loud at least twice.

The ending was perfect, at least lengthwise. Having waited five years for the grand conclusion, I appreciated the chance to luxuriate, and revel in the happiness of all the beloved, virtuous characters. I like fast openings and long endings.

Last word: well worth $7.99. Or $8.99 in Loonies. Buy it, or borrow it legally from a bricks and mortar library. Lisa deserves her royalties!

All the best,
Rowena Cherry

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