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The Hob's Bargain by Patricia Briggs

Review by Jojo

The Hob's Bargain, the third book by Patricia Briggs, drew my attention with the title and roped me in with the promise of elemental beings... I absolutely love that sort of 'folk' fantasy.

The story starts off sad enough when a small mountain village is set upon by raiders and, before the first chapter is out, Aren, our main character, is rendered family-less by the raiders. Her world is one where mageborn males are enlisted into being bloodmages or are killed, and females are killed outright. The land's magic has been bound and forced to serve the bloodmages, and one day, when the binding is severed, all the wilding creatures and powers of the land are set free... and they are not happy with the humans.

Cast out of her village, shunned by most, only Aren, with her random visions and unexplored, unlearned abilities, can find aid that her people desperately need. Hope lay in the arms of the last of the Hob, a sharp-toothed, red-eyed creature of the mountain, the last of his kind. Striking up an odd friendship with this creature, Aren enlists his help against the wildings of the earth and the raiders alike. With Aren as a mediator the Hob is introduced to the villagers and an alliance is born...

But it's an alliance with a price, and one that Aren must pay...

I absolutely adored this book. It was wonderful. With hands on elementals and naturey creatures and spirit/soul based magic, it was definitely right up my alley. Combined with a human/nonhuman friendship/relationship... *nods* Patricia's writing was very well done, things were explained as they cropped up, and if the idea of humans bending the earth to their will is not completely original, it still strikes a cord with me. (Isn't that, after all, what we try to do now? *g*)

One thing that I really loved was that the wildings were not all nice and fluffy and good. They were, the Hob included, dangerous... even if they looked humaniod, they were most certainly not... Which is good, I think. I can only take so many nice, happy, peaceful, do-good feyfolk. :o)

I strongly recommend this book. *nodnod* At under 300 pages it is not the most involved or time consuming book but neither is it, I think an incredibly light read. It's not Game of Thrones, but at the same time,it's not Ella Enchanted either. :o) Very, very well done. I'm eager to read more of her stuff. Unfortunately, it looks like her other two books are out of print.

Never fear. I'll find 'em! ;o)

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