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Tales of Einarinn books 1-4 by Juliet E. McKenna

Review by Caleyna

Books thus far:
The Thief's Gamble
The Swordsman's Oath
The Gambler's Fortune
The Warrior's Bond

Supposedly this will be a five book series, but there is not a title available for the fourth book yet.

The World
Einarinn is a pretty typical medival fantasy world. There are cutpurses and gamblers. Swordsmen and mages. Really nothing too original here.

The Characters
We have Livak, master thief with Forest blood in her veins as evidenced by her red hair. She meets up with a mage, Shiv, and his helpers while she is running a scam. The problem is, they are running a scam too and she is sucked into it. Eventually she meets Ryshad, an honorable sworn man, and he is sucked into the plot too. There are any number of other charcters--Casuel, the token annoying wizard; Allin, the girl we all feel sorry for but who has more spunk than she is given credit for; Temar, the boy of the lost colony; 'Grad and 'Gren, Livak's blond mountain boy friends who help her out. . . the list goes on and on. Actually there is a pretty nice balance of characters. Each book introduces some new people while bumping off some old ones.

The Plot
A deep, dark evil has invaded the mainland. They are magical and malicious. It is in everyone's best interest to fight them. Fighting the evil ones make some strange alliances, as we learn from Livak and Ryshad. The part I find most interesting is that books 1 & 3 focus on Livak and tell part of the story from her POV, while parts 2 & 4 focus on Ryshad and tell the story from his POV. In fact, we never even see Ryshad in book 3 and never see Livak in book 4.

I'd say the most intersting book is number 2. McKenna develops an intersting society that Ryshad must deal with, along with the evil force that he and the rest are fighting. Good stuff.

The Grade
This isn't a bad series, really, but it isn't a great series either. I find McKenna to be pretty cliched and unorginal. She has some glimmers of orginality, but in the end the story is not much different than most sword and sorcery books. Likable enough characters, a plot that holds interest even though it seems the good guys can fight off 30 men at a time and come out with nothing more than a scratch, decent enough concept. I'll give the average series an average grade. 3 amulets. If you've nothing better to read, the books won't hurt you, but I wouldn't run out and buy them either. Get them from the library.

I know a few other people have read the series. I'd be really interested in hearing their opinions.


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