Raine Benares Series by Lisa Shearin (Books 1 – 3)
|Book Name:||Raine Benares Series (Books 1 - 3)|
|Formatt:||Paperback / Audio Book / eBook|
|Release Date:||May 29, 2007|
Editor’s Note: This review contains spoilers. Read with caution if you have not yet read the books.
Magic Lost, Trouble Found (Book 1 of Raine Benares Series)
Synopsis: Raine Benares is a seeker of average ability until she comes into possession of an amulet that amplifies her powers – and her enemies.
Review: Raine is on the lookout while her friend breaks into a home. When she sees there are goblins stalking the home, she steps in to save her friend. While doing so she inadvertently secures the amulet her friend wanted, keeping it safe around her neck. Uh-oh. Like Frodo and the ring – she and the amulet (known as the saghred) are linked. An upside is that her seeking powers are developing greatly and she also acquires other talents. Unfortunately, she is now fighting goblins and sorcerers and some elvish factions. And the Saghred. The saghred is an ancient power equally fed and starved by goblins and elves. A power struggle ensues and Raine finds herself fighting some goblins and working with others and partnering elves. The romantic triangle includes the goblin, Tam, and the elf, Mychael.
Now that Raine wears the saghred – she not only has possession of it, the stone also has possession of her. It also steals souls. It seems too that the elves know more about Raine’s history than she does. Raine was raised by her uncle, a pirate and so not only is she a seeker but she knows a trick or two about bending rules, which creates a knowledgeable and sassy character but one who knows her limitations and does not pretend to be something she isn’t.
Pros: Good pace, interesting characters, wry sense of humour, good fight scenes, told in the first person. Overall an easy and fun read and the story is set over 3 days.
Cons: None, really.
Rating: 8 out of 10.
Armed & Magical (Book 2 of Raine Benares Series)
Synopsis: A week after putting on the amulet, Raine is sent to the Isle of Mid and resides within the conclave of a magical college in the hope that the mages can help her unlock the secrets of the saghred and free her from its strengthening tie. But not all mages want to help her, goblins still hunt her, elves and mages and sorcerers don’t all trust her. In the midst of this, the student spellsingers are disappearing and Raine is charged with ‘seeking’ them.
Review: We now know that Raine’s father is a 900-year-old elf mage who was able to prolong his life through his tie to the Saghred, which now houses his soul. Raine is able to go into the saghred and speak to her father and begin to uncover the truth and history, so as to find a way to sever the link. Mychael continues to help Raine and Tam is also in Raine’s corner. We also get to know more of Piaris – a talented spellsinger and someone Raine is highly protective of. Awww – Raine has a genuine sweet side. By the end of this book, it is just over a week that we have met Raine and Piaris and Mychael and Tam – both books one and two span only a week. This should give you – the new reader – an idea that the pace is quick but does not detract from plot holes or gaps.
Pros: Again, a easy read fast paced novel with a good dose of wry humour and sexy characters to gush over (go Tam!).
Cons: What I liked about Raine in the first book was that, to me, she did not know about everything. However in this novel, she becomes more of the ‘luckiest and most knowledgeable herione’ that I – as a paranormal/urban fantasy reader – do not overly enjoy. For me, things fell into place, she was ‘lucky’ and new ideas just ‘worked’. I don’t think this series is meant to be a thought provoking, complicated character building novel but at the same time, I wanted a little more suspense and more ‘uh –oh, no no don’t do that!’ type.
The Trouble with Demons (Book 3 of Raine Benares Series)
Synopsis: For seeker Raine Benares, a demon infestation on the Isle of Mid couldn’t come at a worse time. Already fighting the influence of the Saghred, a soul-stealing stone, Raine discovers she is also magically bonded to a dark mage and a white knight, two dangerous and powerful men on opposing sides. Turns out, the demons want the key to unlock the Saghred. As a seeker, Raine should be able to find it first. As the axis of light and dark powers, she’s a magical cataclysm waiting to happen.
Review: I laughed a little more during this novel, at least at the beginning. I felt like Shearin wanted to have a little more fun in this novel. Again, we are in early days of having met Raine and company. These three books don’t quite span a month of her life. Like the first two, this continues to be a page turner and whilst there are no major chapter cliff hangers, I was eager to keep reading and actually finished the book in a day (it was a weekend – I was allowed. It might have even been cold and snowy).
Anyway, in Raine’s world a hellgate has opened and now Raine and her quartet of merry men (Tam, Mychael, Piaris, Phelean) in their own way, help her close the hellgate – along with some new characters. Of course, Mychael and Tam still don’t trust/like each other, Piaris and his spellsinging is growing in both maturity and power, Phelean continues to show his cheeky side and of course, there is more of Talon – Tam’s good looking half goblin son.
So back to the little love triangle – it now seems that the way forward is for Tam, Mychael and Raine to reluctantly ‘bond’ with the Saghred and now they are able to know each other more and the bonus being they discover new powers, the ‘BUT’ is that the love triangle becomes more complicated. Thank the gods there is no orgy love mash like in the Anita Blake series. Unfortunately for Tam, the darker powers of the Saghred call to his goblin side. What will this mean for Tam and ultimately for Raine? Okay so this novel perhaps sounds ‘darker’ and a little more complicated than the first two, but I assure you it is not. It continues to be an easy and fun book to read and this series is fast becoming my top shelf faves.
Pros: Easy and fun to read. (I know I repeat myself but it is!) If you like Kate Daniels, Rachel Morgan, Dante Valentine, Kitty etc., then I am sure you will love this series (an added bonus – no raging vampires or shirtless werewolves, just good old-fashioned elves and goblins).
Cons: uhm, uhm, uhm none really.
Rating: 8 out of 10.
Overall Thoughts on Books 1-3
I am addicted to this series. Personally, I give it a 10 out of 10 but trying to being constructive here so I give the series to date, an 8 out of 10. In reality, a perfect 10/10 score would see more back-story and depth to the characters but really, is this what the series is aiming for? Hmm, I think no.
In summary, this series is fast paced, likeable, funny, a bit romantic, has a tough fighting side ala Buffy and a wry tone mixed in. I love it.