The book third in the series.

Publication year: 2009
Format: Audio
Running time: 13 hours
Publisher: Audible Inc.
Narrator: Eileen Stevens

Raine Benares was a Seeker with just minor magical abilities. Now she’s bonded to a very powerful, soul stealing magical artifact, the Saghred. The artifact boosts her powers but it also makes her a target; some powerful and evil people want it for themselves while the more scrupulous people want it and Raine locked up where they can’t do anything bad. Luckily, Raine has managed to convince the leader of the police force that she’s really a good gal. So, Paladin Mychael Ellisor, said chief, just appointed her some bodyguards and allows her to move otherwise freely on the Island of Mid.

Raine and her bodyguards are shopping when they see that a group of naked (but don’t worry, they don’t have any genitals) demons are attacking an elven mage. Before they can interfere, the mage is killed and the demons are wreaking havoc across the city. Worse, one of the demons shows respect to Raine whose reputation is pretty low already. It turns out that the Queen of Demons wants her hands on the Saghred and another magical item which can release the souls inside the rock. Raine is, of course, the main target and she’s also determined to protect all the other people on the island from demons.

The familiar cast from the previous books returns. Mychael is the white knight who would do anything to protect his island and do his job – except when it comes to Raine. He continues to put his job and even his life in danger in order to help Raine. We also don’t know much about him: his past, family, ex-girlfriends… I’m dying for Raine to meet one of his exes. Lets face it, if Mychael is really as handsome as Raine says, repeatedly, he most likely has at least a few exes.

Tam is Raine’s other romantic interest; a goblin dark mage who is attracted to both Raine and the Saghred. Still, he fights to be free of the magical rock’s corrupting influence and manages to turn up when least expected. Raine’s cousin Phaelan returns, too. He’s a wisecracking pirate captain and he’s also determined to protect Raine. The young spell singer Piaras is in trouble right from the start. He fights against demons with a power that he shouldn’t even have at his age. Raine is determined to protect him but Piaras wants to make his own choices; namely to become one of the Conclave Guardians who are the first line of defense against the worst threats to the island.

Except for the demons and their Queen, the villains are also familiar. The arrogant high elf who despises goblins and thinks that the Saghred has corrupted Raine, and is trying to arrest her. The Saghred’s former bond-servant Ruthra Merlin, who wants his power and rock back, thanks. Also, the souls jailed inside the rock can visit Raine in her dreams making them nightmares.

I really enjoy the cast. Most of them are funny and entertaining. This time we even got another capable adult woman into the cast, so Raine’s not the only one anymore. Soren Niabi (spelling?) is the new head of demonology. She seems to be level-headed under stress and she even had a girl-talk with Raine near the end.

The trope of magical (monogamous, heterosexual pair)bond reared up it’s ugly head for a while but fortunately it was quickly twisted in a way that made me giggle out loud. I’m now hoping faintly that the romantic side plot might resolve itself into a consensual triad. After all, Tam and Mychael have developed respect for each other, and they even have to trust and rely on each other in this book, so it’s not that far fetched. Of course, this is a mainstream fantasy novel where the only choice for any character is the above mentioned heterosexual, monogamous pair bond so in the end I’m not really expecting things to go that way, but I can hope for a while.

The demon plot is fast paced with small breathers here and there. Unfortunately, the Saghred plot line doesn’t really go forward. There are a few minor developments during the story but otherwise the rock is pretty much the same. However, there were interesting twists at the end and I’m very curious to see where those are going.

Even though I’ve written a lot about the romance side plot, it is really a side plot. Most of the time the characters are running around fighting demons, trying to find out where the gate to Hell is, and who might be responsible for summoning the demons. Oh, and foiling the Queens plans.

This continues to be a really entertaining series.

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