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Luck in the Shadows, book 1 in the Nightrunner Series by Lynn Flewelling

Review by Alleandra

The World:
A good part of the book, takes place in the City of Rhiminee, where the Queen and her court reside. However, the characters all travel throughout neighboring areas as well.

Rhiminee is also where the major school of magic resides, and it is called Oreska House. The city prides itself on its sophistication, culture and society. In fact, it is also somewhat decadent as well.

The plot involves much of the city intrigue, of which there is plenty.

The Plot:
This involves a nice mixture of magic and political skullduggery. The magic is somewhat different then magic presented in other books…there is a new spin on familiar elements that is fun to read.

The political elements are interesting as well, although not enthralling. The Queen is of a mixed heritage, part human, part Aurenfaie. Aurenfaie are a race of beings that appear quite strong in magical arts. They also have much greater life spans then humans.

An old enemy, the Plenimaran’s are looking to make trouble again, and it seems that a war is not in the too distant future.

There is also a fanatical faction called the Lerans, that oppose the Queen’s right to rule, since she is not a ‘pureblood’ human.

And seemingly taking advantage of this strife, is a pair of evil villains, one of whom is a necromancer. What their end goal is, is not yet clear, but it certainly seems evil.

The Characters:
The 2 main characters are Seregil, a part Aurenfaie noble who has failed somewhat at magic (he cannot control it) and now aids his Queen as being part of an elite group of spies. He meets up with young Alec of Kerry in prison…they had both been captured by an evil overlord. Seregil helps Alec escape, and then decides to use him as his apprentice. There is something about Alec that is hinted at, but not revealed, although it is quite obvious what that secret is.

The other characters include Micum, a fellow member of the elite group, Nysander, Seregil’s former wizard master and surrogate father, and Thero, Nysander’s current apprentice. Others include Micum’s wife and 3 daughters, the Queen and her daughters.

This is a first novel, and it shows. The characters are likable, but seem to lack depth. Parts of the plot flow nicely, while other parts seem forced. The magic is somewhat different though, and is pretty interesting. One hopes that the sequel develops the characters some more. Their relationships are similar to many in the fantasy genre, and one hopes for more. Note: there is an element of homosexuality that is hinted at, which to me was more annoying then anything else. Make the character one way or another, but decide it already.

Still, in all, I ended up buying the sequel, which I hope is better. Ms. Flewelling has a deal of promise.

The Grade:
I give this book 2.75 amulets.

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