Raine Benares belongs to a family that is considered thieves and pirates. They are all human with little to no magical powers. Raine, though, is a seeker. That is she has the power to locate missing things and people. Her life changed when she found the Saghred, a soul-seeking stone of unlimited power. She is now attached to it which greatly concerns her as the magic the Saghred uses is black and the power it shares with its bond servant can drive them insane! She’s come to the Isle of Mid where the best mages in 7 kingdoms come to study in hopes that they can find a way to release her from the Saghred. So far, there is no progress and the stone seems to be able to break any confinement spells put on it. As if this isn’t a big enough problem, someone has opened a Hellgate and the Queen of the Demons wants the key to unlock the Saghred to release her husband’s soul. She knows Raine can find it but can she keep it away from the Queen?
Helping her are two men she is strongly attracted to and they to her. Tamnais Nathrach, Tam, is a Goblin dark mage and the former chief shaman for the royal house of Mal’Salin. Tam is fighting against using his dark forces as he begins a new life away from the Goblin court. Still, his magic is as strong as it is dark and Tam has a history with Raine prior to her coming to the Isle of Mid. Paladin Mychael Eiliesor is the commander of the Conclave Guardians. His magic is pure white and he has committed his life to protecting the school for mages, the professors and the Seat of Twelve. His feelings towards Raine though are anything but pure.
As Raine fights the demons coming through the newly opened Hellgate, she is mentally joined by Tam which shocks her but she is appreciative until she learns that they have a bond that makes them, in many Goblin eyes, married. As this bond has just started and there is great danger to Tam and Raine for it to develop, Mychael steps in and puts not only his career but his life on the line to help them by joining this bond. As long as they can keep it a secret, they will all live but can they when this fight against the demons may demand that they be together in the same room?
This book has the action starting as soon as you start the story and it keeps going right to the end. It’s pure fantasy and adventure with a touch of romance that has you on the edge of your seat until the last page. At no point does this story slow down and the characters are so vivid that you can picture them in your mind.
The characters are as varied as you could ever get in a fantasy novel. Raine is human as are Raine’s family who come to help her. As the arch mage says, it’s a sight to see pirate ships in the harbor. And Raine’s family is indeed pirates who simply set up a land based operation while they give Raine all the support they can. Tam is a Goblin and not the only one running around. Working as part of his security force are members of the Goblin mafia which does turn some heads. Mychael is an elf complete with pointed ears. Most Guardians are elves so you see plenty of them in this book. And you can’t forget the demons that they are all fighting. They also come in various shapes, sizes and colors making a rainbow of terror.
As our heroes search the town for the Hellgate, it comes alive as Ms Shearin describes not only the buildings but the smells and sights along the way. You learn there is a maze of tunnels under the streets with damp mold and that there is a candle maker that uses not only wax but tallow giving the downtown area a distinct unpleasant aroma. Students gather in the Quad and you can see them. This world is well developed and Ms Shearin shares it extremely well.
All of the main characters become people you know. You feel their fear and understand their motives. They become as real as your closest friends. The secondary characters while not as well rounded are written so while you may not know everything about them, you know enough that they feel real and not flat. All of the characters are interesting from the naked Demon Queen to the Guardians guarding Raine. All have a purpose and it comes across with clarity and detail.
This is the third book in this series. While it can be read and enjoyed without reading the previous two, I would strongly suggest that you start with book one. Several events that happened in previous books are mentioned in this book and while it doesn’t distract or loose the reader, it does peak curiosity and you would enjoy the book more knowing these alluded to events. This book does pick up where the last one ended and leaves the reader ready for the next episode in this thrilling story.
My name is Raine Benares. I'm a seeker. People hire me when they need something found. I'm not usually the one being sought. But that all changed when I found the Saghred, a soul-stealing stone of unlimited power -- and the bane of my existence. Now mages and madmen have me in their sights, not to mention demons...
An opened Hellgate leads to a demon infestation on the Isle of Mid, and while there's never an ideal time to face down demon hordes, it's hard to imagine a worse one. Already fighting the influence of the Saghred, Raine discovers she is also magically bonded to a dark mage and a white knight, two dangerous and powerful men on opposing sides -- and Raine's stuck in the middle.
But with demons pouring through the Hellgate, Raine can't afford to be distracted. 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...