Sunday, February 24, 2013

Trickster: By Jeff Somers



Magic uses blood—a lot of it. The more that’s used, the more powerful the effect, so mages find “volunteers” to fuel their spells. Lem, however, is different. Long ago he set up a rule that lets him sleep at night: never use anyone’s blood but your own. He’s grifting through life as a Trickster, performing only small Glamours like turning one-dollar bills into twenties. He and his sidekick, Mags, aren’t doing well, but they’re getting by.

That is, until they find young Claire Mannice— bound and gagged, imprisoned in a car’s trunk, and covered with invisible rune tattoos. Lem turns to his estranged mentor for help, but what they’ve uncovered is more terrifying than anybody could have imagined. Mika Renar, the most dangerous Archmage in the world, is preparing to use an ocean of blood to cast her dreams into reality— and Lem just got in her way.


Trickster is dark, brutal, gritty, and not for everyone. That said, if you’re willing or able to look past or enjoy these qualities then I say give it a shot.

At first Trickster was to much for me. The system of magic is a neat combination of language puzzles that are fueled by blood. It doesn’t matter who’s blood, it seems to comes a lot from junkies, prostitutes, and people who will to bleed themselves for others for a life of riches. The aspect that makes the protagonist, Lem, different from everyone else is that he’s a gifted crafter of the language, but he refuses to bleed anyone else but himself. This tends to leave him with a lifestyle of poverty, low blood levels, and pretty much mass unhappiness as he grists other people to barely make ends meet. Further, there is a hierarchy in the magic system and it comes as a surprise to no one, that Lem is at the bottom, since he wont bleed himself to get to larger more complex magics. But when one of the highest practicers in the world decides she wants to live forever, and is willing to kill everyone in the world to get the blood necessary to do it... well even a lower than low level trickster like Lem can't stand for that, and throw in a pretty girl, and you can just guess what happens. That said, Somer's does pack quite a few surprises into the mix, especially towards the end, so if you're up for a bit of spilled blood then give this a shot.

As for the story, it took me a bit of time to warm up to the gritty nature of the book itself. That said, once the action started kicking up, I couldn’t put it down. Somers’ shows some real promise in the action scenes and in the story after Hiram’s stand, it was at this point that the story and Lem felt like things could finally progress past the duck and cover stage of the book.

All in all, while some of the characters were a bit rough and the story a bit gritty and disturbing, I liked Trickster. About half way through the book there were action scenes galore, because of the events of Trickster Somers has set in motion some potential storylines that could be very interesting in future books. I feel like Lem evolved a bit as a character throughout the book, making him more enjoyable to read, and all in all there’s a lot of potential for future books in the series. So look for me when the next book comes out, because I’ll certainly be giving it a read.


Publisher: Pocket Books

Published: February 26, 2013

Price: $7.99

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