My name is Raine Benares. I’m a seeker. I find lost things and missing people — usually alive. Finding the specters of six evil mages who escaped the Saghred, a soul-eating stone of unlimited power, was easy. Stopping them before they unleash Hell on earth just may be the death of me.
Being bonded to the Saghred wasn’t my idea — neither is hunting down its escapees. Especially not when one of them is also hunting me. He’s regenerating his body by taking the lives of powerful victims, along with their memories, knowledge, and most important of all, their magic. The dark mage wants control of the Saghred, and if he gets it, he’ll become an evil demigod whom no one can stop. The only thing in his way is me.
One of us doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance.
As most of you will be aware, I am a huge Lisa Shearin fan, so it will be no surprise to hear that I was just so chuffed and excited when I received a review copy of Bewitched & Betrayed from Lisa's publisher - especially since they never used to send review copies abroad. I dived right in, ready to be swept away by the danger Raine would find herself in this time, and I wasn't disappointed! Bewitched & Betrayed might just be the best in the series so far!
Raine is in a whole lot of trouble with the escaped spectres, especially as Sarad Nukpana is also free and after four things; a body, power, the saghred, and Raine's soul. If that wasn't bad enough, Carnedes and Balmorlan are up to no good and plan to get Raine, and anyone who stands with her, safely out of the way so they can use the Saghred themselves.
This book is just so exciting! Like in all the books in the series, Raine gets barely a moments rest as she races against time to save herself, the people she loves, and keep everyone away from the Saghred, but everyone's upped their A-game, and it gets more difficult for Raine to fight them and the power of the Saghred. I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat throughout. The action is amazing, but there is a whole lot of fear and anguish besides. If you've read the rest of the series, you would have come to love these fantastic characters, and you will be fearing for every single one of them. You can't help but get really emotionally involved in this book. No-one is safe.
The love triangle that is Raine, Mychael and Tam comes to an end in this book. I'm a regular reader of Lisa Shearin's blog, so I knew something important was going to happen that would effect the love triangle, though I won't say what, because you may end up like me. Until I got to that point, I was impatiently willing myself to read faster to get to it, to find out who Raine chooses, and it probably wasn't the best way to read. There is the possibility that I may not have noticed certain details because of it. Was I disappointed once I found out? Well, I wouldn't have been disappointed whoever Raine chose, I love both Mychael and Tam. My only problem is what happened when the other found out. I won't spoil it, but I didn't like it, and I can't explain why, sorry! I personally don't see what's wrong with bigamy!
As much as I loved this book, there were a few tiny things that bugged me. There are a number of things that are repeated in each book for new readers. I understand it's to help bring new readers up to date, but reading, for example, that goblins' fangs are "not for decortive use only" in each book is slightly grating. I also found that Raine's thought processes were a little repetitive too, and her snark in some situations, although a coping mechanism, was just inappropriate - some things just can't be made funny. Everyone has flaws though, and these are only tiny issues. They won't stop me from picking up the next book - where it looks like things will become a lot more political! Oh, I can't wait! Can't beat some good fantasy politics!
I can't finish this review without mentioning the fantastic cover. The books themselves are brilliant, but the covers are a beautiful bonus. And this one is just as pretty, if darker! I absolutely love it! Aleta Rafton, the cover illustrator, creates such brilliant art, having a such a cover in my hands is a treat on it's own. They need to be on walls in frames!
Over all, an amazingly exciting fourth installment that really tugs at the heart strings. I seriously cannot wait to see what Lisa brings us in the fifth book, Con & Conjure (the one I named!), when it comes out in March 2011!
From Ink and Paper
- Fantasy review blog