Armed and Magical

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Armed and Magical

Raine Benares, #2

Raine Benares grew up as a seeker in a family of questionable morals. That is her family had no problem finding new homes for other people's possessions. Her cousin is a pirate. A seeker is one who can find things, people or items. It's not a great, impressive skill but its Raine's skill and she's happy with it. Things have changed though since she became bonded with a stone called the Saghred. Her powers have increased and she has ones she never has had before. While this sounds great, Raine would like to sever her bond with the Saghred as soon as possible.

The Saghred while a stone has powers of its own. It is drawn to black magic and increases its bond servant's skills and powers. It's able to keep its power up by ingesting magic users' souls. These souls live on in the stone giving it their wisdom and power. One of the latest souls it has taken is Raine's father who was its bond servant for over 900 years. Most people who are bonded with the stone go insane and power hungry so Raine is trying not to draw on it at all.

In her quest to be severed from the stone, Raine has her cousin take her to the Isle of Mid where the most prestigious sorcery school is located. She believes that the arch mage will be able to figure out how to separate her from the stone. In the meantime, the stone is secured is a high containment room while Raine is kept several floors away. She isn't exactly a prisoner but not exactly a guest either. People are afraid of her due to the power she now has access to. Several high level mages think she should be in containment too.

While Raine doesn't want to be connected with the stone, several other people want it. The goblins are after it as they believe it historically belongs to them. The elves are after it and some unknown group is also after it. The thought is if they kill Raine, they can bond with the stone as it can only bond with one person at a time.

Add to this, the best student spell-singers are disappearing. Raine can seek them and knows that they are alive but can't figure out where they are being held. She can only give impressions to those who can look for them but isn't sure if that will be enough.

This is an excellent book that I just couldn't put down. There were no places where the story slowed down or dragged. The action continued for the beginning when Raine learns she can hold up a stage while not touching it to the end when she finds out that her uncle is coming to visit.

The character interactions were terrific. Raine has two love interests, neither of whom takes her to bed but both truly care about her and her them. Even the interactions between the bad guys were good. They seem to be killing each other off but there seems to be a reason. Even the love between Raine and her family was expressed that you knew she would do anything for them and they for her.

The characters themselves were extremely well developed. You could almost visualize all of them and knew how they would react. Tam is trying to stay away from black magic but is drawn to Raine. He was drawn to her before the stone but is the stone making it more. Neither wants to find out but it's so hard. However, Tam is loyal to his friends and family and when he's suppose to do something bad to Raine, his loyalties are strained. But when his son is kidnapped, Tam becomes an outraged father who will do anything to get his son back safely. Can Tam work with Raine and not use her?

Those working with Raine to find the missing spell-singers must stay within their legal boundaries. Luckily Raine, her cousin and their allies don't. They have to figure out how to do what they need to, not get killed and not get arrested. Oh, and not get smashed from dropping buildings.

Only downside with this book is there was a previous book and this is the second in the series. Many relationships developed in Magic Lost, Trouble Found which is the first book. Also, many things that happened in this first book are referred to in the second. While you don't really have to read the first book to enjoy the second, I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had read it. In fact, I will be looking for the first book to read but will be looking forward to reading more books and following Raine's adventures.

Book Blurb for Armed and Magical

New from "a definite star on the rise." (Linnea Sinclair) Raine Benares is a sorceress linked to the Saghred, an ancient soul-stealing stone of unfathomable power. Only the Isle of Mid, home to the most prestigious sorcery college, can free her from the power of the stone.

Night Owl Reviews Jun, 2008 5.00