***Contest at the end of review***
If I had to pick two of my favorite genres they would be fantasy and mystery. This book is the delightful integration of both. The story follow several characters, but primarily Llandry and Eva. Llandry is a jewelry maker by trade and stumbles upon a new stone which she calls istore (if I remember correctly it means star, but I could be wrong). This new gem makes Llandry’s jewelry highly sought after, especially after Eva is seen wearing a ring made with the gem. Eva is a woman of high society, she is in a high position as well as having the title of Lady. However Llandry’s new found success end rather abruptly when people who have bought istore turn up murdered.
As the book continues it is revealed there is much more at work here than just simple greed for a new found popular gem. It’s at this point the book starts adding in the mystery element. While this book is certainly a mystery, English approaches it with a fantasy flare.
English’s characters are very well written and easy to identify with. Not only that but the two women are strikingly different from each other, while each playing a vital and important role within the story. As the story began I thought I would not like Llandry, she seemed a little to fragile for my liking, but English proved me wrong. Llandry is just young and trying to find a way to come into her own. She also feels responsible for the events that happened to her customers, and is willing to do whatever she can to help and find a way to end the madness going on.
Another thing that made this book endearing to me was the use of animals throughout it. I myself am I pet lover (as I write this review I have three dogs fast asleep in my lap), and Llandry’s protective nature towards Sigwide her pet. There are often times when she puts herself in danger to make sure he is okay, and he is just as fierce of a protector for her and she is for him. Another thing I enjoyed about the animal element is that there are various types of animals throughout the book, all with various skills, and they fit in so seamlessly into the society English created. They felt like they belong in the story as much as any other living creature did.
Another intriguing elements of the story was the istore, I will of course not give away what they find out about the mysterious gem, but I will say that it had almost an addictive like property for those who came in contact with it. Even after it is revealed that people who owe in are in danger, some are still obsessed with acquiring their stone or keeping what they own safe. This reaction makes the istore mystery that much more interesting as the story goes on.
All in all I would recommend this book to anyone. While some fantasy books can be overly complicated and harder to really delve into, this book is great for a new fantasy reader because English did such a good job of making the characters relatable. This book is also a great read for those who already like the fantasy genre because the plot is compelling. And for those who like a good mystery, this book will certainly be a good read for those as well. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.
I will be choosing a couple of random comments to receive a special SIGNED postcard from Rachel Vincent’s second book in the Unbound series, Shadow Bound! Be sure to leave your e-mail address with the comments!