Overview from www.bn.com: Dev is a smuggler with the perfect cover. He’s in high demand as a guide for the caravans that carry legitimate goods from the city of Ninavel into the country of Alathia. The route through the Whitefire Mountains is treacherous, and Dev is one of the few climbers who knows how to cross them safely. With his skill and connections, it’s easy enough to slip contraband charms from Ninavel – where any magic is fair game, no matter how dark – into Alathia, where most magic is outlawed.
But smuggling a few charms is one thing; smuggling a person through the warded Alathian border is near suicidal. Having made a promise to a dying friend, Dev is forced to take on a singularly dangerous cargo: Kiran. A young apprentice on the run from one of the most powerful mages in Ninavel, Kiran is desperate enough to pay a fortune to sneak into a country where discovery means certain execution – and he’ll do whatever it takes to prevent Dev from finding out the terrible truth behind his getaway.
Yet the young mage is not the only one harboring a deadly secret. Caught up in a web of subterfuge and dark magic, Dev and Kiran must find a way to trust each other – or face not only their own destruction, but that of the entire city of Ninavel.
Reviewing this book caused me a great deal of difficulty. On the one hand, it is a great story. The characters are believable, or at least as believable as characters in a Fantasy novel can be, and the plot moves quickly. I can’t say that I was bored while reading this ever. It moves fast and keeps you on your toes.
It also adheres to the requirements of the genre by featuring plenty of magic and magical beings. Even when some of the central characters are forced to suppress their magic, it always lies there waiting to be grabbed up from underneath the surface.
The first main character, Dev, has recently been put in a bad situation involving poor judgment with a woman. She takes his money and runs leaving him in a desperate situation as he has a promise to fulfill to a friend who died. Furthermore to fulfill that promise he needs to earn his money back again.
He is so desperate that he will do almost anything. Enter Kiran. All that Dev knows about Kiran is that he wants to go to Kost and to do so he needs to do it in secret. Because of Dev’s experience in smuggling and his need for money he is the perfect candidate. All he has to do it get Kiran safely through the super strict Alathian border without raising any alarms but what Dev doesn’t know will eventually come back to bite him in the butt and maybe even cause him a painful death at the hands of a blood mage. The description in the book of what a blood mage does is enough to make your blood curl.
“A blood mage… Everyone knows mages have to raise power for their spells somehow, but most of them find ways that don’t turn grown men pale. Blood mages, on the other hand…they’re rare as mist in the desert, but the word is their magic’s as powerful as it comes fueled with pain and death. And the bloodier, nastier, and more lingering the death, the better.” p. 11
So what is the problem? Well for me the cursing was a bit much. I mean they use the f bomb a lot. And that is a word that I find particularly disturbing. For some people this isn’t a problem and if you’re one of those people and you like a good Fantasy Adventure story then you’ll probably be fine with it. For me it is a different story.
I almost stopped reading it several times because of this problem. The only thing that kept me going was that by the time I thought that perhaps it was time to stop, I was hooked by the story. I mean it is a great story as I said earlier and I began to care about the characters. I wanted to know what happened to them. I wanted them to make it across that border.
Although I am recommending it, it is with some hesitation. I wish there was a version of it without the swearing but there isn’t. However, if you think you can tolerate it, by all means pick it up. The story itself definitely does not disappoint.
Contains:a lot of swearing, some sexuality, and some violence.