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It is such a delight to be back in alternative Portland with the third book of the Ravensblood series. I find it compelling to get drawn into an urban fantasy set along streets I’ve walked down and places I’ve been. It’s that added layer of realism that lends such believability to a story of incantations, artifacts and magic.
The players are back: Raven, still working on his redemption by consulting for the Guardians, the police force combatting magical crime; his lover Cassandra, still cautious in light of his previous betrayal; the dark mage William, now wielding only a shadow of his former strength after the cataclysmic battle in the last book. But William has scoured the ancient archives and libraries and has discovered the whereabouts of long-forgotten artifacts of death magic which will restore his power and lay the city and the world at his feet.
As always in this series, the characterization is rich and textured, the emotional tone, complex and engaging, the action sequences, stunning and cinematic. I especially liked the ending, which is as wholly satisfying as the narrative that builds up to it. Ms. Reppert weaves her story like casting a spell, capturing the reader in her own brand of magic. And I will never be able to look at Vista House in the Columbia Gorge the same way again. For me, it will remain forever the setting for the climax of a novel which will haunt me for a long time to come.
Pamela Cowan writes a cracklin' good mystery. She is equally skilled at plot and character development as shown in FIRE AND LIES. The sister relation between two of the lead characters is a strong one, a very believable duet (speaking as a younger sister myself).
This care is true in her side characters as well. They are not stick figures, but thought out and given mannerisms that make them feel real.
I enjoy a look at cultures that are foreign to me, so Cowan's comfort in describing the lifestyle of Pacific NW tribal members in this book is both interesting and instructive.
This author is unafraid to look close at dead bodies, so her books are not for the squeamish among you. But you'd be missing a grand story if you let that bother you.
Oh, and by the way? A little heat in the romantic intrigue department is a good thing, too!